Three Ways to Downsize Your Stuff
I would blame my latest project on pregnancy and this lovely thing they call “nesting,” but that would be placing blame falsely. Truth is my latest project started long before we moved to Michigan and I’m just finally making even more headway on it. I’d like to think that I’m taking advantage of the “nesting” phase of pregnancy to make changes that I first thought about sometime in 2016.
If you have followed the blog for any length of time, you’ll know that this past summer we moved from California to Michigan because my husband got reassigned to a new military base. (If you haven’t followed the blog for long, then consider yourself caught up!) California was the first place we lived together after getting married. We essentially took two fully furnished apartments and combined them into an even smaller one bedroom apartment. I spent the first two years of our marriage going through things and getting rid of stuff – duplicates, things we never used, things we didn’t remember, etc.
I thought that I had done a great job of getting rid of stuff – until we moved to Michigan and bought a three bedroom house. As I watched them unload box after box of stuff, I came to realize that I hadn’t done a phenomenal job of downsizing our stuff – I’d simply done an amazing job of organizing and hiding our stuff. I found myself back at square one of feeling like we had too much stuff.
Instead of get upset about this realization, I set out to fix the problem. Since we moved in, it’s been a slow process of unpacking and getting settled. Part of that is my fault. Instead of simply shoving everything into the many nooks and crannies available, I have been carefully going through everything, downsizing, and organizing. It’s a slow process but I can definitely see some positive changes happening along the way.
With so many years of going through things and downsizing, I’ve developed a pretty good system and it revolves around three different ways of getting rid of stuff. To make this work, you’ll need a trash bag (possibly multiples – I’ll explain why below), an unwanted box, and another box or crate (this one doesn’t have to be unwanted necessarily). I’ve explained what you’ll do with each of these below. Let’s just say I even have an organized system for the things we no longer want.
The trash bag is going to be used for all the things you label as “trash.” These could include: piles of paper you no longer need, the random candy bar wrapper you find, broken items, and other odds and ends that simply shouldn’t be donated or sold. I mentioned that you might need more than one bag depending on how you handle trash. Keep in mind that trash can include trash, recycling, compost, and items to burn. Sort your trash in the manner that works best for your living situation.
This is where the unwanted box comes in. I recommend choosing an unwanted box because it’ll make donating things a lot easier if they’re in a box (or bag) that you can dump and leave. This box should be used for those items that you want to get rid of, but you don’t want to bother selling. This box is not for damaged items – those should probably go in the trash unless you know someone that will take them off your hands. Most donation centers don’t appreciate broken or damaged items. You can easily stop here and choose to donate all of your unwanted items. If you’re looking to make a little money off of your unwanted stuff, you’re going to want to move to the next section and have a third pile.
The last pile is for items that you think will sell online, yard sale pages, secondhand stores, or at a yard sale. This could include designer items or other things that are in great condition. Again, no one is going to want the broken or damaged items. Unfortunately, those just have to go. I would recommend putting a deadline on this pile so that it still makes it out of the house. I recommend telling yourself “I will sell this by XXX or it goes in the donate pile.” (We currently have a pile sitting in the breezeway and I really need to start putting stuff on the yard sale pages.) Remember, the goal is to get rid of the unwanted stuff.
Do you need a little extra accountability to downsize the stuff that you own? I might just have the solution for you! From January 15 – 21, I’m going to be hosting a Purge Party in Hodge Podge Moments: The Community. Each day, I’ll give the group a room to sort through and at the end of the day, we’ll check in with pictures of our piles. I’ll also have some fun discussion and activities along the way. I’d love to see you join us for this event! All you have to do is join the group and you’ll be set up to receive all of the challenges and information.
Before you go, I want you to take a moment and think about your home. Which room could use the most help when it comes to downsizing? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! And don’t forget to join us in the community for the upcoming Purge Party!