Downsizing to a smaller living space will often lower your monthly expenses.
A smaller house or apartment usually means you pay less in rent or mortgage. Heating and cooling the place requires less energy, so your utility bills go down. You can only shop to a limited extent as you have less storage space.
However, the downside to downsizing is that you have to get rid of your own belongings to accommodate the smaller space. For some people, dismantling their belongings can be incredibly stressful.
If you can’t imagine how to minimize the number of possessions you own, we have six tips to help you succeed.
1. Minimize bit by bit
When you have a ton of things to do it can be very overwhelming to lay out everything you own and try to save up over a weekend. Before you move, take your time and plan different days to walk through each room in the house.
Simplify the process by focusing on one category at a time. For example, in a bedroom, you might want to tackle clothes and shoes in one sitting and then jewelry and mementos another time.
Make sure you take stock of what you have and what you want to keep. As you think about your new area and see if everything fits, it helps to write everything down on a list.
2. Get rid of unnecessary clutter
Your first round of eliminations should be a breeze. Get rid of all the trash.
Throw (or recycle) anything that is broken, falls apart, no longer works, or doesn’t fit – anything you wanted to throw away but never achieved.
Get rid of the kitchen gadgets you never use and the jewelry you never liked. If you’ve been holding onto something that hasn’t been touched in years, moving to a smaller house is the perfect time to part with it.
When laying out and taking inventory of your belongings, keep in mind when you have multiple items. You don’t have to move three waffle irons and four can openers to your new spot.
3. Remove the single-purpose gearbox
As you shrink, the available space is more valuable than ever. Don’t waste it on devices and equipment that serve a single narrow purpose.
If possible, choose multifunctional household items. Hold the knife and drop the apple core and asparagus peeler. From now on, instead of holding a special sandwich press, make grilled cheese in an ordinary pan. And do you really need a DVD player when you can watch DVDs on your laptop?
4. Only keep what you really use
Find out what you and your family use regularly and find a new home for what you don’t need.
If you have a family of three, you don’t need dishes, glasses or cutlery for 20 people. If you only use your formal dining room or living room a few times a year, this is extra furniture that you don’t need in your smaller space.
Think about what makes sense for your new space. When you downsize to a condo, you don’t need a lawn mower or other outdoor gear.
Consider minimizing your closets by converting to a Capsule wardrobe – a limited collection of clothes, shoes and accessories.
5. Digitize what you can
So many of us have been guilty of hoarding piles, piles, or boxes of papers, photos, and trinkets over the years. However, you can keep these important medical documents or sentimental childhood memories without keeping the originals.
Scan old documents and photos and save them on your computer or use your cloud storage. Snap photos of items like old trophies or holiday souvenirs so you have a digital version of them too.
6. Keep track of what’s really important
What you hold on to during the reduction process should only be things that are useful to you or that – according to Marie Kondo – trigger joy.
Think of it this way: if you had to evacuate your house in an emergency and could only take a few things with you, what would it be? Which of your things are most important to you?
Downsizing won’t be a completely lousy process knowing you will walk away with what matters most to you.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com