Downsizing your Grey Bruce home

Downsizing a home can mean:

  1. Moving to a home with less square footage;
  2. Reduction of the contents of a space or home; or
  3. Both.

In our work, we often deal with both 1 & 2 in tandem. Downsizing, or reducing our contents is a dreaded term to many, generally because it hasn’t been an ongoing part of living in the space for a long time. Downsizing doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Ideally, micro-downsizing can happen in a home throughout the year.

We routinely do other things for our home’s upkeep like change the furnace filter, wash the windows or even clean the toilet. We know these things need to be done on some sort of routine basis, whether it’s weekly, quarterly or annually. It’s unlikely that we’d hear someone say “I haven’t changed the furnace filter since I moved in 30 years ago!”

When it comes to downsizing, it’s not as obvious to consider it a routine task. “I never throw anything out” and “I thought I might need it someday” are common expressions we hear. If someone hasn’t thrown anything out in a couple of decades, I assure you there’s an excess of stuff around. Adding stuff constantly without subtracting will lead to too much.

Often, House ‘n Order is called in to downsize clients who have a pending move to a smaller space. This makes downsizing an event, rather than a process. We can spend weeks or more with clients guiding them through the decisions of what to keep and what to redirect elsewhere. This process can be very difficult, depending on the client and their rationale for downsizing.

Making downsizing a routine process can help eliminate a huge future event that’s difficult and costly.

To make things easy on yourself, take one cupboard or one drawer in your home. Let’s say the kitchen. Do you have 48 coffee mugs and there’s just two of you in the house? We’d suggest to you that’s a few dozen too many! How do you downsize this one thing?

Take all the coffee mugs out and put them on a counter or table. Pick your favourite dozen to keep. While they’re out of the cabinet give it a wipe down. Now put your favourite mugs back. Wrap up the rest and put them in your car to donate to your favourite thrift shop.

The most important part of that advice was put them in your car! If you leave them in your house, they’re still in your space. Get them out and make sure they make it to the thrift shop. Make a special trip if you need to.

Biting off a small job like the coffee mugs can give you a quick-win and show you how rewarding it is to tackle something that’s manageable and doable. Don’t overdo it! Another time tackle that drawer with all the kitchen utensils in it that won’t open if the potato masher is sitting a certain way.

Again, the process is to take all the things that are in that same category out, display them in one place, then determine what you really need in your life. Remember, we need less than we think we do. For those things that we don’t need, remove them right away and get them to their new home, whether it’s a thrift store, a friend or a community group. Take pride in knowing that someone else will be thankful for what you no longer need.