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It is often rather bittersweet when you move into a new home. You’re excited about the transition, but sad to leave so many memories behind. Downsizing can make things much more complicated, as it often means that you don’t have space for all your current belongings in a smaller location.
But downsizing is a chance to reset and start anew, as well. You will be able to fill your new place with the stuff you really enjoy if you get rid of the clutter, making it feel like home faster, and even bringing some of those great memories with you.
These tips can help you preserve memories when it’s time to move to a smaller home, while minimizing clutter in your new location.
Work with a Plan
Take a trip to your new location and calculate the real size of your new rooms and storage areas in size. This is going to be your answer to how much you can take. Underestimating is better than overestimating.
When you decide what to keep and what to get rid of, do it one room at a time. It’s a big job to move, and you don’t need to tackle all at once. Every day, plan to do a little bit, and leave extra time so that you are not rushed.
Next, settle on your furniture. You’ll get a better idea of how much room you have left to fill by moving from a big home to smaller one if you work this issue out first. Doing so will prevent discovering, for example, there’s no room for that big bookshelf when you move in and having to do far more rearranging than you planned!
Get Tough On Yourself When You Start Sorting
You find an old shirt at the back of your closet that you haven’t seen in five years. But it cost a lot, can tell by the tag! Shouldn’t you keep it?
Here’s the thing. Are you going to wear it? Really? It’s quick to persuade yourself that you might still wear that 10-year-old shirt some day with tags. But if you haven’t been using it for the past year, you probably never will. And that goes for pretty much everything you encounter as you begin to pack for your move.
Get rid of multiples too. Do you have several coffee pots, or a couple of china sets? You don’t need to keep both if you can only use one at a time.
Follow a strict yes / no policy when sorting, no “maybes” allowed. Create a pile of “yes” and a pile of “no” and force yourself to choose. If you’re not sure that the item merits a yes, then it’s a no. Piles of “maybe” just mean more work later for you.
Decide how the ‘no’ pile can be broken up. You may no longer want or need these things, but they are likely to be useful to someone else. Special objects can be passed on to family members or relatives. Things in good shape can also be sold at a yard sale or on sites like Craigslist. Or, you can opt to donate goods to organizations who will really appreciate them.
Preserve Your Memories
Digitize pictures to save room and share them with the family easily. Photograph albums take up a lot of space, and how often do you go through them in reality? Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all of your images in a rotating slideshow or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer.
Take pictures of things that bring up good memories, but there is no place for in your new home. Without actually holding on to the objects that will just become clutter, you can look back on the memories through those.
Another approach is to create a new ‘life’ for keepsakes. Things such as old movie stubs, letters and photos are great for scrapbooking if you love to craft, enabling you to make a very personal record of your experiences.
Or, using shadowboxes, render three-dimensional works of art. Gathering your memories in one place like this will make it easier to appreciate them than ever before, and save space at the same time!
Downsizing is emotional. You’re going to find things that you haven’t seen in years, and you’re going to have to choose what to do with them.
Give yourself some time to reflect, and then make a choice. Keep your constraints on space in mind but don’t get rid of what really matters to you just because you might have to work a little to fit it into your new place.
Take what is really important to you, as only you can know what you can not do without, and doing so may make your new house feel like a home a lot faster.