Smart Organizational Tips for Downsizing to an Apartment
Downsizing to a smaller apartment can be overwhelming. But, if you plan ahead and take it one step at a time, you’ll find the entire experience not only enjoyable, but also cathartic as you begin the organizational process to simplify your life.
Renting a smaller apartment comes with plenty of benefits, from lower utility bills and rent to less space to clean and keep organized. A smaller space can even be a simpler way of living, while also allowing you more time and money for yourself.
But, before you get started, check out the tips below that will relieve some of the stress associated with downsizing and keep you on track for a smooth transition.
Preparing Your Belongings
Start preparing for your move in advance, perhaps even months ahead of time. If you know you want to downsize, begin working on the following now. Doing so will help you tremendously when the time comes to start packing.
Keep Track of How Often You Use Things
You probably notice these things every day, but don’t give them much thought. When you’re deciding what to wear, what plate to eat on, what glasses to drink from, and other small decisions like these, you always lean toward certain things. So, start keeping track of the items you use every day and those that you only use once a week, once a month or not at all. Then, track these habits on a piece of paper to visualize the usefulness of your items. This will make it easier to discard some of them when it’s time to pack for a new place.
Sometimes, you keep things just because. Although it’s important to have personal trinkets and items you treasure — even if they’re not particularly useful — be careful about becoming an emotional hoarder. That means being unable to get rid of things with which you are emotionally connected. In time, they’ll pile up and you’ll have boxes upon boxes of memories that you just can’t give up. If you have a hard time letting go, ask for help from professionals and check out our guides for coping with hoarding.
So, while it might be tough, try to find the purpose in all of your things. Does that picture make you feel something or is it filled with emotion? If so, then it’s probably something you want to keep. On the other hand, if it’s just something you’ve had forever that doesn’t really speak to you, then it’s probably time to let go.
Discard Unused Items Regularly
Sometimes, we buy stuff we think we’ll use, but then we never do. These items often include kitchen tools that are too complicated or a hassle, or spur-of-the-moment purchases for that new hobby that we never actually begin. If it’s something you’re keeping just in case you’ll want to pick it up some day, you should probably discard it.
Preparing for the New Apartment
Now that you have a basis for your organization, you can start to prepare for your move.
Once you’ve decided on the apartment you want to rent, go for a visit before you begin packing. Check everything out, measure the space and write down the dimensions of all of your rooms. As you wander around the apartment, visualize your things in each room and how you will interact with them. You might even want to write down the main items you want in each room. At the very least, have a mental image before you start bringing in boxes. That way, you’ll know what to put where and unpacking will be much easier.
Pack by Room, not Item Type
Group your items by room, not by type. For instance, if you’ve visualized a small library in your living room, but you also have some books you like to keep close to your bed, then don’t be afraid to separate those. The same goes for everything else — from pillows to artwork.
Note that you don’t have to keep the design from your previous home. This is crucial if you downsize. With fewer rooms in your new apartment, an exact transition might be difficult. So, when you pack, think of the new apartment, not of the old one. Having the list from the previous section will make the transition simpler. Additionally, remember to label your boxes and drop them off in the appropriate room.
Finally, know that there’s no such thing as the perfect recipe for downsizing. It all depends on your lifestyle and choices. Although guidance is sometimes necessary and welcome, no one can tell you exactly what to throw away, what to donate or what to sell, because you’re the only one who knows that. Try to detach for a bit and imagine your life with or without certain things. Then, see how that affects the way you live every day. It’s a process you have to be ready for, so make sure to prepare mentally, as well.
Downsizing is not a burden. It’s a purge and a path to liberation. Embrace this change and remember that it’s not permanent. The choice will always be yours.
About the author: Mihaela Buzec is a passionate reader and writer with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.
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