Urge to Purge: Moving Into a Smaller Space

Posted on 09 August 2013

Downsizing isn’t a burden, it’s an opportunity. Think of it as “The Great Cleanse,” a chapter in your life that frees your personal space as well as your mind.  Organize your move and downsize by following rules for keeping you on track while purging.


The Basics


  • One Year Rule: If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s a goner
  • Broken? Bye bye
  • Not Yours — return it to owner
  • Just in case, sell it
  • Magazines. You have too many. Recycle them or use them as materials for new-home DIY decor.

Recycling & Greening


Why do you have two DVD players and an old Playstation 2 occupying wasted space?  The DVD player in the living room just collects dust.  Send these to Goodwill.  Return old cell phones in the junk drawer to an electronic recycling facility or cell phone store.  For every million cell phones recycled, 772 lbs. of silver, 75 lbs. of gold and 35 lbs. of copper can be recovered, explains the EPA.  It takes cell phones hundreds of years to break down in a landfill polluting the land with lead, arsenic and zinc.  Hopefully that stat will help you decide not to toss electronics willy nilly into the trash can.


Clutter Red Flags


Certain items in your home are prone to multiplying over the years.  Be on the lookout for and reduce the amount of these items:


  • Bed linens and towels; donate old linens and towels to animal shelters
  • Glasses and Tupperware (there are too many, I can see it in your smile)
  • Hair products and makeup; the shelf life is shorter than you think — typically 6 to 12 months max, unless it’s organic, then it’s less
  • Books you’ll never open again
  • Travel-size items
  • Vase collections
  • Hangers; uniform them, no wire hangers
  • Holiday decorations

Partner Together


While assessing the closet, have your spouse or best friend go through your closet with you.  Let them give a thumbs up or down on each item.  They bring perspective to decision making and keep you focused as you justify hanging onto items.  Return to this rule:  If you haven’t worn it in a year, ditch it.


Get Over It


De-cluttering can get emotional.  Guilt ensues while throwing away that ugly purse your aunt made — but in the end, you’re better off without the useless item.  Sift through sentimental items, such as holiday cards, your children’s drawings and old gifts that you never use or wear.  Think fondly of these items, gently place them into a box, and let go.  Ask your friend or spouse to take the box and rid your house of this memory clutter.


Schedule ahead for the big purge.  Label boxes with trash, keep, donate, sell, and maybe.  Don’t abuse the last box.  If you absolutely can’t part with certain items, ForRent.com recommends raising your bed to create under-bed storage space and compartmentalizing closets with cubbies and shelving for storing those must-have keepsakes.


Letting go is tough.  Eliminate emotion, rid your inventory of useless possessions, and never look back.  Out of sight, out of mind.  A freer mind, indeed.


(photo: flickr.com)

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