By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

This blog is intended to set you up for success and lay a foundation with strategies for a successful decluttering and downsizing journey.

If you are decluttering and downsizing, chances are you’re overwhelmed at the thought of the enormity of the job ahead of you.

I know I was! I remember sitting on the floor of my big family room, looking up and crying!

Where do I even begin?

How can I possibly downsize and declutter this monstrosity?

And then I began to think of all the big design projects I have successfully completed over many years and realized that…

Decluttering and downsizing are really just project management.

Maybe on steroids, but if you shift your mindset from:

  • It’s overwhelming and impossible to it’s just managing a big project…

It begins to seem so much easier and possible.

Check out Rita’s Top Storage and Home Organization Items

Step 1: Shift your mindset to succeed at downsizing and decluttering

Just for a moment, think of 2 or 3 big projects you’ve taken on in your lifetime and succeeded at, whether it be personal or professional. Perhaps it was…

  • A big fitness goal i.e., running a half marathon or doing Iron Man
  • A big weight loss goal i.e., lose 50 pounds
  • A stretch career goal i.e., start your own business or write a book

Each one of these goals involved project management. Even if you tell yourself you’re not good at managing large projects, likely you have succeeded at a number of big goals in your lifetime.

If you are just starting your downsizing and decluttering journey or if you’ve been at it for a while and need motivation, start thinking of downsizing and decluttering as just like any other big project you’ve taken on and succeeded at.

You’ll be amazed and how much easier and manageable it will be!

Step 2: Start with the end in mind and then work backwards

Envision what kind of life you want once you have decluttered and downsized.

For me it was clear:

  • I wanted a simpler life with less clutter less stuff, less stress
  • I also wanted a more carefree lifestyle with more mobility flexibility and less responsibility.

All of my stuff was physically and mentally weighing me down, preventing me from having the life I was longing for.

·       When you are clear about your why… Why you want to downsize and declutter?

·       What you want your future life to look like…

The downsizing and decluttering process gets easier because it’s just a process to get you to your goal.

Check out my Downsizing and Decluttering Workbook, CLICK HERE.

Step 3: Develop strategies to manage the process of downsizing and decluttering

Remember it’s just a process.

Remember it’s just project management.

When you’ve successfully managed a large project before, a weight loss or half marathon, you likely had a plan to make it happen daily, weekly, or monthly.

The plan probably included:

  • Milestones
  • Timelines
  • Measures for success

You probably even had a reward system set up to celebrate small and big wins.

Downsizing and decluttering are exactly the same journey and methodology.

Take time to create a realistic plan, and develop a strategy that works for you and your lifestyle.

  • Write it down
  • Review it daily and weekly
  • Monitor or measure your progress each week

You will start to see results and get energized to get your project done.

Step number 4: Choose the right team

I don’t recommend trying to downsize and declutter on your own. Rather, I recommend building a team, paid or voluntary to not only lighten the load, but also to keep you motivated and on task.

When I started my downsizing and decluttering journey, I honestly thought that I could do it myself. Fast forward: one month after many tears and lots of negative self-talk, I picked up the phone and called my sisters. They immediately said, of course, we will be there next weekend!

I realize not everyone has family that can help or is willing to help and that’s OK. Instead, reach out to friends or colleagues to see if they will assist you if even for a small part of your downsizing and decluttering journey.

And of course, volunteer to reciprocate.

If you don’t have anyone to volunteer there are companies both large and small that assist you with downsizing and decluttering.

As a matter of fact, decluttering is one of the new services we started providing once I became known as the “Downsizing Designer”.  My team helps you do the heavy lifting by delivering your donated items to donation sites or trash. It’s amazing how appreciative people are when they save time and energy.

When choosing your team:

Be sure to share your vision goals and timeline with them.

Ideally, your team is made up of a combination of organizers, do-ers, and heavy lifters.

The goal is to have team members with different skill sets to help you accomplish your overall objectives.

Step 5: Declutter first, THEN DOWNSIZE

What’s the point of taking stuff with you to your new downsized home that you don’t want, need or use or if it won’t fit or look good in your new space?

Too often this happens and then you have to double downsize or remove extra things that don’t work in your smaller space.

Hot tip #1: Declutter the large items first

The furniture you don’t want, used, or it won’t fit.

As soon as you start to declutter the large pieces, your home already feels lighter. It also shows big progress and that’s highly motivating.

Hot tip #2: Start decluttering in areas where decision-making is easier for you

Start where there’s no emotion attached to the things.

Where you can quickly identify items, you want to keep, dispose of, or donate.

These are 2 of my favorite decluttering hacks or shortcuts.

Hopefully, these 5 steps will help you ensure the success of your decluttering and downsizing journey!

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