It’s easy to see that, over time, stuff can accumulate in your crawlspace, attic, spare bedroom, closets, or other areas of your home. While you may be able to find a place for everything in your home now, what happens after your children have flown the coop and you no longer need that four-bedroom house?
It means it’s time to downsize your home — no easy task.
I’m a total packrat, so moving and downsizing has always been stressful for me. It’s tough to determine what stays and what goes when you have a memory attached to items or feel like you need to keep everything, in case you’ll need it at some point. Do you need to keep those birthday cards from when you turned 18? And, do you really need that 30-year-old badminton racket that hasn’t been used in 25 years? Here are a few tips that have helped me judge what to keep and what to purge.
Know what space you have to work with
Knowing how much space you’ll have in your new place will help you determine the extent you’ll need to downsize.
We’ll use clothing as an example. Chances are that plaid suit with the fat collar and wide tie aren’t coming back into style, so that’s an easy thing to get rid of, but items like an old leather jacket might still have some relevance today – making it a little tough to trash from your closet.
Knowing the amount of closet space you’ll have in your new Lower Mainland house or apartment can give you a much better idea of how to sort through your items.
The same can be said for other items hidden in the depths of your home. Maybe you no longer need that 10-foot Christmas tree, and you can replace it with a smaller one. It might not seem like it would save a lot of space, but every inch counts when it comes to playing Tetris in your crawlspace or attic.
You might also have to play Tetris in your living room. That couch and loveseat combo that worked well in your old living room might not fit in your new home.
Judge an item’s worth
Like with the leather jacket and plaid suit, you have to determine what you’re going to be using again.
With clothing, there’s an easy way to determine what you should keep and what you should toss. First, rotate the way you normally hang your clothes so that the hanger hook faces the opposite direction. Then, when you wear an item, flip that hanger back. This will show you what you are and aren’t wearing, thus tipping you off to what you should drop off at the thrift shop.
With seasonal items it can be trickier, but still very possible. With each box you sort through, think about how often you use each of those items. For example, that second string of lights that you only use every three years can probably go. Same goes for that box of ornaments that won’t fit on a smaller tree.
Force your kids to take their stuff
It’s natural for your kids to leave things in their childhood home as they begin to establish a Vancouver home of their own. Chances are they won’t have room for everything they own. My sister still has a horse saddle and other riding gear in my parents’ garage because she doesn’t have space.
It’s amazing how much room you can find just by getting rid of their stuff, especially if you’re still holding onto large furniture items from their rooms.
Consider other storage options
Your house might have less storage space, but that doesn’t mean the yard does. In that case, a shed can help free up garage space.
In the case of my parents’ house, tools, gardening provisions, and sports gear took up most of the garage, while much of it could have fit in a shed.
A storage unit — although they can be pricey — can be a viable temporary solution to hold some items you’re not entirely sure what to do with yet.
Be relentless — if you don’t need it, toss it
The toughest things to let go of are always the ones with some nostalgia or memory attached to them. But like with your clothes, you shouldn’t keep things you aren’t using.
I used to be an avid collector of shoes, but I quickly realized I was wearing only two or three pairs out of the 20 I owned. That space was wasted on shoes that were collecting dust.
My parents have been holding on to a record player since they first got married almost 40 years ago. It might come out every once in a while, but the majority of the time they’ve owned said record player, it’s been collecting dust along with the records that go with it.
Let me be clear though, I’m not encouraging them to dump this antique in the trash. It still has a lot of life left in it and would be really appreciated by whoever picks it up.
Encourage and promote recycling
Just because you’re done with an item, doesn’t mean someone else can’t find a good use for it. Local thrift shops are always looking for donations, and the proceeds go towards a good cause.
Depending on the item, you might be able to collect some cash through sites like Craigslist or Kijiji.
Repurposing like that is what we at 604-TRASH-IT pride ourselves on. We hate to see perfectly good items go to the landfill when we know there are other people who could appreciate them.
To date, we’ve helped steer over 2.6 million pounds of items away from the landfill —
and you can help that number grow. If you’ve sorted out what you want to purge and what you want to keep for your downsize, give us a call and we can pick up your unwanted items for an affordable price.
Looking to downsize your home? Contact 604-TRASH-IT today!