We’re so immersed in a culture that values the accumulation of stuff, we can become surrounded by it without even realising. Downsizing can be a huge challenge, and you need to be ruthless. Here are six ways you can downsize for cleaner living.
1) Use It Or Lose It
Even though you live surrounded by objects, you’d be surprised by how often things are, or aren’t getting used. Chances are the majority of things you own are used on rare occasions, or never at all. For example, you’re probably cooking most of your meals with one or two preferred pans - the big old wok you use once a month can go. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t use something more than 80% of the time, then you can do without it.
The positive aspect of decluttering in this way is that you end up surrounded by items you really value. And slowly, you can begin to upgrade them. Rather than having ten cheap pans and only using one of them, you can invest in one or two pans that are high quality and will last for years like some beautiful Le Creuset ironware.
2) Say No To Storage
When you’re downsizing it can be tempting to rent some off-site storage. This saves you from making the really tough choices about what to discard or even making any choices at all. This is a recipe for disaster, however, as you’ll be paying through the nose to store things you never use.
On the plus side, by saying no to storage you let go of the psychological baggage that comes with a crammed container somewhere gathering dust. When you have a lot of items in storage, a small part of you knows you’ll have to deal with it some day. Say no to storage and free yourself from the baggage.
3) Decoration vs Clutter
When you’re thinking about downsizing, it can sometimes feel people are forcing you to go down a minimalist utilitarian path that rejects any object that doesn’t come with clear functionality. But you can declutter and still hold on to some cherished items if you learn to differentiate between decoration and clutter.
“By decluttering your decorations, you will be better able to appreciate the items you retain,” says Mitchell King, a blogger at State Of Writing and Paper Fellows. “For example, the aesthetic qualities of small sculptures will stand out better when they’re not surrounded by other objects.”
4) Downsize Your Life, Upgrade Your Savings
When you’re thinking about downsizing, think of it as an opportunity not just for decluttering your life but also for turning some of those little-used items into hard cash. Although some things are destined for the trash or as donations to the thrift store, you might be surprised by what people are willing to buy second hand.
Books, records, furniture and kitchenware as well as any original artworks are all likely to hold significant resale value. Even fine-quality prints by artists such as Pollock and Picasso can be worth a pretty penny.
5) Keep Multifunctional Furniture
When you’re moving into a smaller home and space is at a premium, multifunctional furniture comes into its own. If you’re trying to decide between keeping the giant corner couch or the sofa that pulls out into a futon, prioritising multifunctionality gives you criteria for selection.
Another thing to hang onto is additional storage space. Storage is a premium when you’re downsizing, so tables and beds with hidden storage space are probably worth hanging onto.
6) Hang On To Things You Really Love
“Downsizing doesn’t have to be totally heartless - identifying items that are genuinely meaningful and making space for them is an important part of the process,” says Sandra Brindle, a writer at Essayroo and OX Essays. “Where or not something ‘sparks joy’ is up to you, so practice the art of self-reflection to find out if you have a genuine connection to an object or just some lesser form of nostalgia.”
Downsizing can be a positive step forward and a way to live a cleaner life, free of stress and clutter. Learn to let go.
About the author
Katherine Rundell is a lifehack writer at Ukwritings.com and Academized.com. She studied interior design at Stockholm School of Art where she developed a penchant for minimalism. She is also a proofreader at Best essay writing service.