How To Downsize Your Things: Tips To Help You Declutter And Simplify Before Your Move.

April 8, 2022

The most common thing we hear from our clients is where do I start when downsizing and getting ready to move. We gathered some tips on downsizing, plus tips specifically for seniors looking to downsize to help make your move stress and worry-free.

Start As Soon As Possible and Pace Yourself Try and start at least 3 months before you plan to move.

Some people don’t have the luxury of time and just have to do what you can. Try these ideas:

  • One-A-Day Method: Let go of one item per day or let go of the number of items that corresponds with the date (i.e. giving away 12 items on the 12th of a given month).
  • Kon Mari Method: Take on clutter by category (clothes, paper/books, miscellaneous items and then sentimental items). If an item no longer “sparks joy” then it’s time to get rid of it. Another idea is if you haven’t used something in over a year, it’s time to donate, sell, or give away.
  • Four-Box Method: Restrict your options for what to do with a particular item by only giving yourself four options. Typically, these options are keep, donate or sell, trash/recycle, or pass it down. ***Try to avoid putting items in storage. This is additional time and cost that will be added if we need to move these items for you.
  • Closet-Hanger Method: Face all closet hanger hooks away from you. Once you wear an item, turn the hanger hook toward you. After 6 months, donate any clothes that are still facing away.

We Have Boxes!

If you are in need of boxes, let us know and we will drop them off for you. After your move and when you are unpacked and done with the boxes, give us a call and we will come by and pick them up.

Measure Out Your New Space

Know the size of the space you’re aiming to fit into. Ideally, you’ll know the square footage and shape of each room. This will help you figure out which large furniture pieces you should get rid of before the move. If you don’t have the exact measurements of your new place, call the facility and ask. Know that your current furniture might not fit in your space. Rather than squeezing large furniture into a smaller space, measure to see what actually fits. Then, sell current pieces and look at purchasing items that do fit.

Focus On One Room At A Time

Plana schedule broken down by room or smaller projects within a room to make sure that you stay on track but don’t get overwhelmed. Some example tasks to take on one at a time could include:

  • Go through DVDs and video games
  • Address the dreaded “junk drawer” or clean out the medicine cabinet
  • Pick shoes to give away and to keep
  • Trim down clothing in your closet
  • Tackle your dresser drawers
  • Organize small kitchen items
  • Match up containers, pots and pans with their lids

Divvy And Offer Up Sentimental Items

There are bound to be some sentimental items that won’t fit into your new space. For sentimental furniture and decor pieces, try reaching out to your family and friends to give the items a good home, especially if it’s an item you’d like to keep in your family. Do this early and schedule pick-up times at least a week or two in advance of your move, depending on how often you use the item in your current space. You don’t want to pay to have something moved you plan on getting rid of. Oftentimes, we hear “I don’t have time so I’ll get rid of it after the move.” Plan ahead to make your move easier and less expensive.

Sell Or Donate Items Sell online:

For those items you don’t plan on bringing into your new space, try selling them to pay for moving costs or new decor items. There are plenty of online marketplaces that make selling online easy, like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo and more. Make sure you exercise the proper safety and anti-fraud precautions when using these apps to sell or buy items. Donation: If there’s no interest in certain items as you get closer to your moving day, consider donating them to a good cause. Some nonprofits and charities that accept and will pick-up home items and clothing in the Fox Valley include:

  • Goodwill Industries
  • Salvation Army-Fox Cities
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Bethesda Thrift Shop
  • Fair Market Thrift Store
  • St. Vincent dePaul

Bring In Help If Needed

Downsizing a large home can be a lot to handle. If you feel any steps of the downsizing and moving processes are above your ability or you don’t have the time, bring in some help. Enlist the help of family members or we also have names of people you can hire to help with decluttering and packing.

  • Organization Tip: Hire organizational help for your most difficult room and then see if you can apply what you learned to your other rooms by yourself.
  • Packing Tip: Don’t pack jewelry, money or other valuables. Keep those close by during your move, give them to family members for safekeeping, or temporarily place them in a vault or bank lockbox.

Organize What you Want to Move

Once you have decluttered and removed items from your home you no longer want, start to mark large furniture items with blue painter’s tape that you want the movers to move. This reduces the need for our movers to repetitively ask you, “Does this one go on the truck?” Clothes can stay in drawers since we will shrink wrap the drawers during the move. Hanging clothes can stay in your closet. We have wardrobe boxes that we will hang your clothes in the boxes and then hang them back up for you when we arrive at your new home. Other smaller items should be packed in boxes. Be sure to tape the boxes shut and label what room you want them to go (kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom. etc.).