Downsizing Do’s and Don’ts

If you are preparing to downsize to a smaller home or just want to get organized, it’s a great time to take stock of all your stuff. If you’re moving, will you have space for everything in your new house? Do you still need it? Does it make you happy? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, it may be time to downsize and declutter. Organizing can be a chore, but it’s easier if you follow these downsizing tips.

Downsizing Tips: Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t Approach Downsize Organizing without a Plan

If you try and tackle downsizing and organizing without a plan in place, it’s easy to get off track and stray from your purpose. Getting sidetracked and taking a trip down memory lane will add hours to the project.

Do Organize Systematically

Whether you go room by room (as Marie Kondo suggests), or category by category, have a plan in mind before you dig in. When you finish one task, you’ll get a feeling of accomplishment and you can check it off the list before you dig into another part.

Don’t “Save it for Later”

When you don’t know where something should go, it’s easy to put it aside and tell yourself you will deal with it another time. But if you don’t address the things causing clutter, you end up making the problem worse.

Do Make Sure there is a Home for Everything

Try to touch something only once—decide what to do with it while you’re holding it. You’ve heard the term “everything has its place.” Having a designated space for everything is key for organization. It makes tidying up a lot easier and faster.

Don’t Rely on Outdated Organization Methods

Remember the days when you would receive a bill, send a check, and keep a paper receipt of the transaction? You probably had filing cabinets full of bank statements, receipts, and paper copies of your important documents. Most of your records are available in digital forms, so you don’t need to save all that paper in your home.

Do Streamline Your Financial Life

Reduce the paper coming into your home from the get-go. There is a good chance that your bank, credit card companies, utilities and other companies offer paperless statements and automatic billing options. If you are afraid you might lose track of spending, consider using an app to guide your budget.

Don’t Save Everything

Clutter builds up when you keep everything you have purchased or received as a gift. When something either sits unused in a cabinet or drawer, or serves no real purpose in your life, does it make sense to keep it? If you use something, it deserves a place in your home. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, it might be time for it to go.

Do Keep the Things You Enjoy

While organizing, don’t feel as though you need to throw everything out. If you enjoy something, whether it is a sweatshirt from your college days or your grandmother’s vintage apple peeler, keep it. Your home should reflect the things that make you happy. Do an honest assessment of what you need, and be honest about what you truly enjoy, and discard the rest.

When you’re organizing, work to find good homes for the things you are getting rid of. Consider donating the appropriate items to a local school or charity, selling what you don’t need, or (in the case of family heirlooms) passing them to the next generation.

Whether you are doing a large purge to downsize into a smaller home or simply cleaning out a spare closet, it’s important to update your Home Inventory, and talk to your Farm Bureau agent about protecting everything under your roof with homeowners insurance and other property protection.