Three Simple Steps to Downsize & Minimize

Downsizing in preparation for a move is not an easy task. It can be challenging to let go of something you own, especially if you paid good money for it, inherited it from a loved one, or if it’s meaningful memorabilia.

The fact is that it takes time and money to pack and move personal belongings. If you haven’t been using it, should you spend hard-earned money to transport or store it?

Photo of Bella helping a client haul away years of clutter
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“Getting started early and chunking the process and down sizing into steps was very valuable. It was essential for us since we are working in demanding jobs and tried to minimize time off, but the extended process also served to help emotionally with letting go of things over time and seems much healthier and realistic.”

– D. and B. successfully downsized from a 3,500 sq. ft home and 20 years of accumulated stuff that completely filled it, and simplified into a 1,500 sq. ft high-rise condo with floor to ceiling windows and very little storage space.

Three Simple Steps to Downsize & Minimize:

1) Set a solid schedule of daily, weekly, or monthly purging sessions. 

We recommend starting the downsize process a few weeks to a few months before your moving date depending on the size of the home you’re moving out of/into, your availability, and physical abilities. Set a schedule and stick to it, working your way around the house one room at a time. Don’t stop once you get to the new place. Keep monthly or quarterly declutter appointments with yourself on the calendar. A little at a time goes a long way.

2) Let go of the easy stuff first.

Books you never read, clothing you haven’t worn in over two years, pieces of furniture you never liked or that aren’t absolutely necessary at the new place. Whatever you do, keep the time-consuming and emotionally draining stuff for last…paperwork, photos, memorabilia…put these things aside and get back to them later when you’ve dealt with easier things and created room to breathe.

3) Recruit a trusted friend.

If it is overwhelming to tackle a downsize project on your own, ask for help. Whether a trusted friend, neighbor, or an experienced professional organizer, it’s important that this person have a patient and non-judgmental personality. Downsizing is a team effort. Choose someone that will keep you motivated to stay on schedule and moving forward.

Take downsizing one step at a time for a healthier experience, and learn to become comfortable with the process of letting go; it truly has a lasting effect and higher rate of success in moving toward a simplified lifestyle.

Book Recommendation: The Stuff Cure – a proven method to unstuff your excess, organize what you keep, and regain control of your life.

Isabella’s favorite project for which Bella Organizing provided downsizing, packing, and move management services:

Berkeley Hills – Downsizing and packing author Alice Walker in preparation for the sale of her Berkeley home 

Isabella Guajardo has provided professional home organizing and residential move management services since 2007. She has worked with hundreds of individuals and families from all walks of life including single mothers, public school teachers, college professors, lawyers, doctors, Pulitzer Prize winners, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. The thing 90% of them had in common? They had too much stuff and needed to downsize. Bella Organizing helps them tackle and reach that goal.