Hey Red! How do I stay organized while downsizing?

My clients (family/friends/strangers) ask for advice and recommendations all the time. The way I’ve seen it, if one has a question, I’m sure many do. Here’s where I’ll share these tips and answers with you!

Hey Red! How do I stay organized while downsizing?

The remnants from a major downsizing and cross-country move.

How do you organize the clutter when you're downsizing? We just sold "the" house of 12 years where I have closets filled with letter jackets, trophies, etc., and going to something more fitting for two people. I want my dishes for holidays, but I don't need old prom dresses...ha! All those HGTV shows are always about people who are getting bigger houses, never downsizing.


Well first, know that it's going to get messier before it gets better. That's just how the process works. Because of the downsizing (or in any clutter situation in general) things need to be broken down so they can be rebuilt better and clutter free. The good news is that it WILL get better.

As with any move, it's easiest to get rid of things either just before or while you're packing. Don't let this get overwhelming and just start tossing things into boxes.This often happens to people so resist the urge! You'll have to face the decision sometime. Rip off the Band-Aid and do it now. It'll make the move and setting up in the new home much easier. There's no need to bring what isn't serving us into the fresh start, right?

If you have time to weed before the move then fabulous.Go through each room, touch each item and determine if it stays or goes. If it stays, leave it where it is. If it goes then set it in a pile for trash or donations. At the end of the room or day, make a quick run to drop off the donations. People often like to wait until their completely finished but I feel it is SIGNIFICANTLY more beneficial to make a run at the end of each day or when each room is complete. This creates space and gives you more visual motivation. Even if you know a pile is leaving, it's still visually adding to the chaos. Get it out of the house!

If there isn't time to pre-purge before packing then purge while you pack. Before you put each item in the box to go to the new house, determine if you even need it any more. If you do not need, use or love the item, it doesn't get to go! As before we want to send anything not being kept to the trash or donations immediately. We certainly don't want the unwanted things to get confused with the things that stay.

As you unpack in your fresh, downsized home you will want to do a second sweep of what stays and goes. You may find that some things don't fit in the new place, from a size standpoint as well as usefulness. It's important to get fully unpacked and fully settled in to the new home. For many of my clients their clutter problems started when they didn't fully unpack and move in to the new home. A few for as long as 6 years! Settling in can be as daunting as the weeding and packing. Don't let it overwhelm you. Take some time every single day to unpack boxes and get settled in - creating systems that will work in the new home. Continue to do this until every. single. box. is unpacked and every. single. item. has a place where it lives within your home.

All of my clients are ultimately much happier with less space and "stuff." I'm sure you will be too. Best of luck!

Do you have a burning question? Perhaps just a simmering one? Send it to heyred@melindamassie.com.