Guest Post by Corey Doane, Outreach Specialist at siegemedia.

Home is where the heart is. It’s important to have a space that makes you feel calm and relaxed. As we grow in age, we’ve likely accumulated things that we have trouble getting rid of. This extra clutter can make the home feel more overwhelming, rather than comforting.

Downsizing your home is a great way to get your space in shape. The reasons people downsize vary by situation — some want to save money, while others want to get rid of empty space. Not to mention, downsizing can help you save lots of money to retire early. Whether you’re moving to a smaller house or making the move to a senior living facility, the following guide gives tips for you to effectively declutter and downsize your home. 

Take Your Time and Start Early

Downsizing is quite a lengthy process. Rushing it will only make you feel stressed and anxious when dealing with all your extra space. If you are planning to move, begin the process at least 3 months in advance. Starting early will let you pace yourself and ensure that you have plenty of time for the entire project. 

When it comes time to declutter, you’ll also want to start as early as possible. If you have trouble getting rid of things when decluttering, try different organization methods, like the one-a-day method. 

With the one-a-day method, there are two approaches you can take. Either give away one item per day or give away the number of items that correspond with the date on the calendar. For example, if it were the 18th of the month, you would need to get rid of 18 things that day. 

Another alternative is the KonMari method. This method consists of you working through the clutter in categories. Your categories can include things like clothes, furniture, and books. As you go through your categories, ditch any item that no longer makes you feel happy or excited. You’ll be surprised how many items you have that you haven’t touched in years. 

Plan for Your New Home

When moving, make sure to take into account the dimensions of your new space. You most likely won’t be able to take all the items from your old home with you to your new home. Keep this in mind, as you may need to buy more suitable furniture. The last thing you need is to squeeze all your big furniture into a smaller space. This will take away from all the hard work you’ve put in.

Understand Your Goals and Hopes

Amidst all the technicalities, remember to consider your lifestyle. Ask yourself why you’re downsizing and what you hope to gain. This is your opportunity to start fresh, so make sure you take advantage! Not to mention, a fresh new look can also get you very excited when decluttering and downsizing. 

You may want to save more money for other goals and opportunities in life. When we ask people why they downsize, we usually get a surface level answer like saving money. Think deeper to understand what you’re hoping to get out of this. The more specific you are with your goals, the more motivated you will feel to get things done promptly.

Sell and Donate Things You No Longer Need

You’re going to have a big pile of things you no longer need or want once you start to declutter. It’s a waste to throw these things away, especially if they are still in good working condition. Consider selling some of your old items on online marketplaces instead. The money you make can go towards the bill of moving in and decorating your new home. Some examples of platforms you can use to sell your items include:

If you don’t want to go through the extra step of selling your items, donating may be a better route for you. Selling your items can take a little time, which understandably you may not have when moving. Donating your items can also present you with a tax reduction. Some organizations that will happily take your donations include:

Go Paperless

If you’re old fashioned, you likely have stacks of papers taking over your storage areas. Nowadays, everything is online and comes in a digital format. Cut the build-up and start digitizing your paper records. Start by shredding any document that you have online access to already. 

As for the rest of your files, consider scanning them onto a hard drive or your computer. When scanning over important personal documents, make sure to have a second copy on another hard drive. These personal documents are also something you’ll want to keep physical copies of as well. While it’s great to have your documents digitized, not all the paper copies need to be thrown away.

Decluttering and downsizing are both never easy. It’s going to take some hard work and effort for the next couple of months. If you start to feel defeated, remember your goals and motivations in the first place. Once you’re in your new home, you’ll feel much better as you’re able to relax. To learn more about decluttering your space before and after you move, check out this infographic from Rocket Mortgage for more tips on downsizing your home