Do you have too many things or too much space? If you do, then you may want to consider becoming a minimalist. It’s a big step but one that can bring a great deal of harmony and peace to your life.
The key to a successful switch to minimalism is understanding how to downsize your home. Downsizing doesn’t need to mean that you get rid of everything you love, but it does mean being willing to let go of the things you don’t need.
At Gilmore Services, we specialize in moving people and families into new homes. Since a lot of our clients are talking about downsizing these days, we put together this guide to help you get through the first, crucial steps to embracing minimalism.
When is it Time to Downsize?
It can be tricky to know when it’s time to downsize your home, but here are a few indicators that you might be ready to become a minimalist.
- You have more space than you need. This reason is a common one for parents with grown children who have moved out of the family home. You might have needed four bedrooms when your kids were young, but if you don’t need them now, you might want to downsize.
- You have less income than you used to have. Whether you’ve experienced a change in employment, or you’re retired and living on a reduced income, it’s important to recognize when your housing expenses are too high for your income. (As a rule, your housing should cost no more than one-third of your gross income.)
- You feel overwhelmed by your belongings and you’re ready to pare down. You don’t need to have experienced a major life change such as your kids moving out or retirement to downsize. Sometimes, people downsize their homes because they want a simple life.
Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, you can move on to the next step.
Get into the Right Mindset
Downsizing can be an emotional experience for some people. Taking some time to get yourself into the right mindset for minimalism can help.
It may help to reframe the decision to be less about what you’re losing and more about what you’ll gain by downsizing. For example, you might find it less time-consuming and stressful to clean and maintain a small living space than a large one.
Having fewer things might also help you focus on the things that are most important in your life, such as your family, friends, and hobbies.
Decide What You Need
Once the decision to downsize is in place, it’s time to think about what you need and what you don’t. There are many ways to approach getting rid of your belongings. Some of our clients use a purely utilitarian approach: if it’s not something they need, they either sell it, donate it, or recycle it.
That said, we recognize that sentimentality plays a role when you’re deciding what to keep. If you truly love something and you can make room for it in your new, minimalistic life, then you should keep it. We know some people who have had a lot of luck using Marie Kondo’s system that says you should only keep things that spark joy in you.
Finally, you should also think about where you’ll be living after you downsize. If you’re relocating from a cold climate to sunny Florida, for example, you can probably donate most of your winter clothing before you move.
If you’re planning to downsize your home, the first steps we’ve outlined here will help you get started and embrace a joyful and positive minimalistic mindset.
Need assistance with your downsizing project? Click here to learn how Gilmore Services can help!