Did you know that the average American household has around 300,000 items in it? This mind-boggling stat points to a common fact: Many of us simply have too much stuff!
Maybe you’re getting ready for a move. Or perhaps you’re exploring minimalism. Or maybe, you just have too much clutter and you’re looking to tidy up!
Whatever your reasoning, this guide will explore how to declutter your home and downsize your possessions. We’ll focus on local tips for our Seattle-area readers, but many of these principals are relevant for just about anyone.
First, some definitions. To declutter is mostly just to get rid of some of your possessions, with the goal of tidying up and reducing clutter.
To downsize usually refers to actually moving to a smaller space. That could be from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 1 bedroom or a studio, for instance. Or it could be moving out of a standalone home into a smaller space.
The process of decluttering vs downsizing will look a little different, depending on your goals. But whatever your plans are, the simpler task of decluttering is a good starting point.
Decluttering involves tidying up, getting rid of items you don’t need or use frequently, and simplifying your space. If this is your goal, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind.
Decluttering your entire house can feel intimidating. To get started, focus your energy on a single room in your home, or even a single closet.
This can help manage the overwhelm, and also helps with practicality. If you’re hesitant to get started, try setting a timer for 30-60 minutes, and committing that time to a focused decluttering session.
As you declutter, you’ll probably wind up with a big pile of stuff that you don’t want or need. But what should you do with all of that stuff?
Well, it’s wise to separate things into three piles:
Sell: Figure out what might be worth some money, and worth your time to sell. Selling valuables in Seattle doesn’t need to be complicated!
Donate: Figure out what has value/shouldn’t be tossed out, but isn’t worthwhile to sell. Examples include clothing, furniture, and miscellaneous items.
Dispose/recycle: Whatever items that aren’t worth much and won’t be accepted by charities should be discarded appropriately. Again, Seattle.gov has a good guide on how and where to properly dispose of items.
Once you’ve made some progress towards decluttering, take a moment to reflect and appreciate your newly decluttered space. You can think about what you might like to do with the extra space in your home, or even what you might spend the extra money you’ve earned on.
If you’re goal is to actually downsize and move into a smaller home, the process might look a bit different. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Before committing to downsizing, think about your needs when it comes to housing. How much of your current space do you actually utilize on a regular basis? What are your plans for the next few years, and how might that influence your housing needs?
If you’re able to, it might be helpful to find short-term rentals in similar sized homes. For instance, you might book a weekend at a small Airbnb to feel how it is to live in a smaller space. This strategy can also be helpful for exploring different neighborhoods of Seattle!
Moving can be stressful. If you can manage to declutter and reduce the amount of items you own long before your actual move, you can potentially reduce that stress.
Most people choose to downsize their home in order to save money. It can be motivating to think about how you might spend (or save) the money you will be saving. Maybe you want to start investing, or wish to pay down debt. Or maybe you just want a bigger budget for dining out and entertainment. In any case, focusing on the benefits of moving to a smaller space — rather than what you’ll be loosing — can be motivating.
Decluttering, downsizing, and moving can be stressful — but it doesn’t have to be! If you approach the process intentionally, you can reduce the stress of it all.
If you come across valuable items while sorting your stuff, consider selling your items to Bellevue Rare Coins. We pay top dollar for gold, silver, jewelry, coins, collections, and much more — all in a friendly, no-pressure environment. We have stores in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Issaquah and Tacoma.