The Quest to Simplify: First 5 Steps to Tackle Downsizing

Almost seven years ago, when we moved into our 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home, we marveled at all of the space we would have to fill.  And fill it we did.

Now we’ve decided that we have way too much stuff.  It is time to downsize and simplify our lives.

The thought of someday moving out of this home is completely overwhelming.  We’d love to spend some time traveling, and we cannot bring all these items with us.


So here are my 5 Steps to Begin Tackling the Downsize:

1. Gather several large boxes and label them: GARAGE SALE, EBAY, DONATE, STORAGE.

2. Buy or Gather Vacuum Seal Storage Bags, Cardboard Boxes for garage sale items, and Plastic, seal-able containers for items to keep/store.

3. Get a container that you can move from room to room and fill it with tape, markers, garage sale labels, a notepad, packing paper, and a camera that you can grab when you have a few moments to go through items.

4. Schedule one room or project area at a time, and designate a time on your calendar to work on it!  (My personal goal is one project a week, but do what is realistic for you.)

5.  As you go through items, immediately price garage sale items, wrap items to keep and store, take pictures of items to sell on Ebay, and make a list of item description to be donated as you place them in bags.  Arrange for donation pick up or drop it off as you complete each room or project and put away all boxes before moving onto the next project.

For example, my first project was to tackle the boxes and boxes of baby clothes that had been tossed into containers as my boys outgrew them…sometimes by size, sometimes not.  I took all 10 boxes out, sorted the clothes by size, and proceeded from there.  The clothes I decided to keep and store, I put in vacuum seal bags and labeled appropriately.  The items in perfect condition went in the EBAY pile.  The ones that weren’t in the greatest shape were for garage sale.  Anything else went to donations.   As I went through the baby clothes, I took pictures of those to be listed on EBAY, wrote down types and numbers of items for donation, and stuck garage sale price tags on instantly.

I felt more organized by taking care of these tasks as I went along.  The thought of pricing 100 garage sale boxes three months down the line did not sound fun.

Then once the 1st project was completed, I arranged for donation of those items to be picked up, or loaded the car and drove to Goodwill.  EBAY items got stacked in my office to list when I had the time, and Garage sale boxes got sealed and stacked in the garage, clearly labeled and not to be seen again until garage sale weekend.

I’ve got a long way to go, but in the last month, easily 15 bags have been donated, a couple hundred dollars have been earned on EBAY, and 10 boxes are priced and ready for a spring garage sale.

What are some ways you’ve successfully cleared out clutter?