Steps to make Downsizing Easy (ish)

Downsizing can be an emotional journey but approaching it with a view to the future can not only make the process one of renewal and excitement but can make the physical act of decluttering a lifetime’s worth of stuff a much easier undertaking.

The first step is to get in the right headspace for the task at hand. Clearing out will create more space and time for the things you love, room for a lighter existence and to welcome in new adventures.

In Sweden, they take it a step further and practice dostadning, this is basically slow and ongoing decluttering with the eventual goal of not burdening those left behind after you are gone with a “surplus of minutae”. While it sounds like a morbid take on clearing out the cupboards it is not seen that way at all in Sweden. When people start dostadning, the focus is on living a lighter and more enjoyable life and the gift that getting rid of your own stuff is to your family and friends.

It’s also not possible to begin any decluttering journey without at least hearing about Marie Kondo, the recent decluttering queen who encourages us all to part with anything that doesn’t “spark joy”. She advises that you thank each item you are getting rid of before finally letting go, as a way to honour how it has served you in the past, even though it isn’t serving you anymore.

Once you are mentally prepared to start going through your stuff, experts suggest some practical tips to make the task easier. Marie Kondo recommends clearing out one category at a time. She recommends working from the least emotional to the most emotional categories so you can work up your decluttering muscles,

beginning with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items and finally, sentimental items. 

Some questions to ask yourself as you assess each item are:

  • Does it spark joy?
  • Is it necessary or utilized regularly?
  • Do you own more than one?
  • Does it have a significant financial value?
  • Will it fit into a smaller home when I move?
  • Would a family member or friend appreciate the item or use it?

If you can talk a friend or family member into coming over to help, it can make the experience more enjoyable too. Sometimes having someone to share a memory sparked by an item is enough and may actually help you to hold on to the memory but let go of the item. 

Knowing that your stuff is going to a new home can also be enough reward to help you let go. The thought of something that still has plenty of life in it going to waste can make us hold onto things we no longer need. 

Joining the Garage Sale Trail on 21 & 22 November is the perfect way to take all the things you no longer need and turn them into some spare cash. It only takes 5 minutes to sign up online and your sale will appear on the national map. You’ll also get downloadable resources like posters and checklists to make your sale more successful and be part of a national movement that sees over 3 million kgs of items sold and saved from landfill.

So, whether downsizing is in your near future, or a little while away, it’s never too early to start thanking your things and then sending them off for a new life. It’s great for you, your friends and family, and the earth.

Join the Garage Sale Trail here.