The Ultimate Declutter and Downsize

Zahna Klaver By Zahna Klaver, 30th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Housekeeping>Decluttering

There is such a thing as the Ultimate Declutter and Downsize.

The Ultimate Declutter

Picture this... you have 4 suitcases and you must get everything for you and your spouse into those 4 suitcases, plus your purse and one carry on bag. I mean everything. Not like everything for 2 weeks, but everything. That's just what we did.

A little over a year ago we downsized from 3,400 square feet of fabulous living space to 4 suitcases, and the dog, on an airplane to South America.

We have a bit more stuff now, but I believe I can speak with authority about the decluttering and downsizing process.

Have a Goal

We were moving in 4 suitcases because that was the luggage allowance. Period. Every additional suitcase would be $250 so to bring more than 4 meant it had to be worth more than $250 and I just couldn't find anything.

We had a firm departure date (nothing like selling the house and having to be out by noon) so the goal was set. 4 suitcases and March 1.

A more typical goal for decluttering of course would be to clean out a cabinet before the weekend or a bedroom before guests arrive.

Know the Limits

Some people can simply buy and keep everything they ever wanted. Or so I think that must be true. I think pretty much everyone has some limits. The question is... have we ever actually decided what those limits are?

When moving in 4 suitcases the physical limits were clear. Weight restrictions and size restrictions meant some things were just not going to be considered. Mostly downsizing does not need to be that extreme, but if there is a 1,000 square foot house to fill it does mean less room than a 2,000 square foot house. As basic as that sounds it needs to be considered.

Decide Your Criteria

How sentimental does something have to be before you just take a picture of it and then donate it? How close to fitting do your clothes have to be before you consider getting rid of them? Are there really some colours you should not wear (ever... says the red head) but you keep the pink sweatshirt anyway?

Decide before you start going through things what the criteria are... write them down... and follow them. Trust yourself. Outside of the emotion of touching the items you did know exactly what you wanted to do.

For the suitcase dilemma it was pretty clear that not much that was purely sentimental would make it in. Digitizing makes memories possible to save without taking up space.

The Very Best Way to Declutter

The very best way to declutter is to never clutter in the first place. Or at least when the clutter is gone to not reclutter.

Remember... the best way to not have to fret about parting with something is to never own it in the first place. A great money saving plan, too!


Clutter, Declutter, Decluttering, Downsizing, Move, Moving, Organization, Stuff

Meet the author

author avatar Zahna Klaver
An early retirement in South America leaves me time to finally write about the subjects I have studied throughout my life. Health, nutrition, business, homesteading and cooking are my passions!

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
1st May 2015 (#)

I would have a hard time parting with some things.

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