I am with Mrs and Mrs C in their new apartment, and we are smiling and laughing (you can see it in my eyes as today I have my floral face covering on). We met over a year ago at the start of their move process in their four bedroomed home and we have shared the ups and downs of this significant chapter in their lives. The furniture has been placed by removals just where we have planned it, and I have just put away the last glass in the kitchen cupboards. It is time for that post move cup of tea.
Every time I move someone, and we have moved many people, I always have that vision of them in their new home when we start the consultation. I remain hopeful and positive and stay focused on the reasons they have stated early on are motivating their move. The rest, I always say, is simple logistics such as measuring, auditing, and room planning. But that is not entirely true, a large part of any move project is ensuring that letting furniture and belongings go is a therapeutic process and given the opportunity to be a rite of passage.
Mrs C said to me early on that Mr C will not let go of any of his books. I was able to approach the subject on a second visit and suggest we look at the ones in the attic as they will need to find a bookshelf somewhere in the new home if they are to stay. He accepts and we spend 2 hours going through all his books with tales of where they came from, the stories that have attached to them 6 boxes of books come with me to donate to charity. There is no reason why the process should be forced and painful, and it cheered me that he could give the books the right send off.
So, how does one start the downsizing process at home? Here are my top three tips:
Find the easy wins first.
Go room by room making a list broadly of what is clear to stay, what is clear to go, and what needs thought or sifting. Studies show that about 30% of us have enough unused and unwanted items in our homes to fill an entire room. Start with areas where there is little dispute. It prompts you to be in the frame of mind then for decluttering and creates much needed space for sorting.
Allocate a day a week to the project.
If you have a sort of checklist of cupboards to go through, then you can do a hour or two each week of focused sorting and you hopefully will not then become overwhelmed. It is not a one-off task and you may need to revisit some spaces. The decision making, the physicality of the task, and then packing up items to give to family, donate or recycle all takes time and so pacing yourself is important, as well as documenting your progress so you can see what you are achieving.
Keep your eye on the prize.
Moving can be stressful, but any change can be uncomfortable at first. Keep in mind the reasons for the move, the benefits and the way life will be easier, simpler, and sustainable. It will keep you going when the move has its pressure points. By staying focused on that future point, it also makes letting items go a little easier as we can see what is important to the next chapter.