More and more stories are popping up of people moving from big houses to smaller, more modestly sized homes. Our family downsized almost 2 years ago now and have never looked back. Since then, we have continued to downsize and declutter our belongings. If you are someone who has been dreaming of a downsized life but the idea of a big move is overwhelming, I’ve got some solutions for you! It’s actually very easy to plan a big downsize without moving. Check out the personal tips and tricks that I have used, plus some ideas from other simple living influencers.
*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Why a downsize test run?
A lot of us go through those phases in life where we are so sure we know what we want. Like that time I was convinced that living in an RV was totally for me. (I’m still not totally unconvinced if I’m being honest.) That is until I realized I was hiding out in my room and/or bathroom at least 50% of the day just to have some time and space to myself.
Was I really convinced that life would somehow be so much grander when forced to live in a home on wheels with my kids? Maybe not.
That might be the case for some of us when it comes to downsizing. When we lived in our “Big House” we had already known what it was like to live in a smaller space and we did it well. On top of all of that, we never really knew how to fill all of the space in the Big House. That’s how we knew downsizing would actually be a great idea for us.
However, to save yourself the trial and error, downsizing without moving can be a good way to test out what it’s like to live with less stuff and/or less space to see if it’s something that feels functional and manageable for you and your family.
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Ditch the storage space
One of those “mom moments” hit me about a month ago. I got sick of the messes that consumed my kid’s rooms…again. Looking into their rooms and seeing a huge disaster is one of the biggest stressors for me.
There have been so many different techniques I have tried to help improve matters and continuously they have failed.
Finally, I realized if I gave them fewer places to let clutter gather it would be easier to keep their rooms free from mess and open up their bedroom space a little as well. I started to create a space that consists of only their bed and dresser.
My son’s room had a small 4 shelf unit that used to hold his clothes when he was younger. Now, that he has a dresser, these shelves just proved to be one more place for him to stash his stuff.
After clearing some furniture from my kids’ rooms, they have had no choice but to store their knick-knacks and treasures in designated places and now they have more room to jump around and play.
I think there is a major obsession with owning cute bins and baskets. People think they are organized when they own a variety of items that are designed to store stuff.
In reality, having multiple bins, baskets and storage containers is just one more way to encourage clutter.
Sell what you can
Personally, I used to hate selling things online.
Trying to arrange times to meet people and haggling over prices is not my favorite thing to do.
Where can I sell electronics?
My biggest recommendation for getting more for your money when it comes to selling electronics is Mercari.
I was able to use the Mercari app over Christmas to make a few hundred dollars selling out old electronics that we were no longer using.
What about Facebook Marketplace?
For other items, Facebook Marketplace has been my favorite go-to for selling old items like furniture or kid toys.
Personally, I love making a little extra cash from old things I no longer use so I can save for items more suited to our downsized way of living.
Should I donate clothes to Goodwill?
If you are going to just drop clothes off at Goodwill, I highly suggest stopping by a consignment shop beforehand to see if you can make some extra cash.
Places like Platos Closet are known for giving you cash on the spot if you don’t want to wait around.
You can also look into online selling sources like Poshmark.
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Clearing paper clutter
A wildly popular new way to modernize your paperwork and minimize your clutter is by going fully digital with your papers!
I purchased an eBook called The Paperless Home a few years ago. This book and course completely show you how to effectively clear your paper clutter and still keep it all in one safe place!
Not only that, by keeping your files all digital, you can access them from anywhere!
Is going paperless difficult?
Going paperless definitely takes time and dedication, but it can wind up downsizing so much from your mind and home!
Personally, I hate when papers pile up on the counters. I also despise digging through our filing cabinet and searching for a single piece of paper.
Investing in The Paperless Home was one of the best decisions I ever made. Because let’s face it, our world is headed in a digital direction. I definitely don’t want to be left in the dust!
Live from a suitcase
I recently read the book, Present Over Perfect and in it, author Shauna Niequist talks about taking a vacation to the cabin.
At the cabin, she had an epiphany. There were so many things she had at home that were not important and were completely unnecessary.
After living out of a suitcase for a few weeks, she was more easily able to get rid of stuff at her house that she used to deem important.
How much stuff do you really use?
Take a moment to think about how much stuff you actually use in a day. Better yet, think about all the things around you right now that you never use.
When you are really feeling a strong desire to downsize and aren’t sure where to start, try starting with a capsule wardrobe.
This is when you put half of your wardrobe away for 3 months.
You could also attempt the 3/33 Challenge where you only have a closet that consists of 33 items for 3 months.
These challenges are great and can really make you aware of certain items that don’t hold as much value as you once thought they did.
Make rooms off-limits
In one of my first minimalism inspired books I ever read, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap). Author Tammy Strobel and her husband started to realize they had more stuff and more space than they needed in their life.
When the idea of downsizing first occurred to them, the first thing they did was start shutting doors in their apartment.
If they were going to live the tiny house dream, they wanted to make sure it was something they could realistically do.
Practicing tiny living
By shutting doors and living in less space of their apartment, they were better able to see how living in a smaller space really wasn’t so tough.
If you are hoping to downsize, it’s good to consider the space you’ll be losing.
When we made our downsize we knew we were losing about 2,000 finished square feet and about 1,200 feet total.
This would seem scary but our family of 5 already seemed too small for the house we had moved into. All I could see was wasted space so it was very easy to imagine ourselves with less.
Donate and ditch
Sometimes, you’ve put all the thought into this whole downsizing thing and you are just ready to ditch it all.
Sell what you can, donate what you can, and then be okay with throwing some things away.
This was the hardest step for me.
Not donating, but ditching.
Throwing away things is painful for me because it feels wasteful. It feels like throwing money in the trash (which it is). All I can imagine is me adding more of my useless junk into a landfill somewhere.
The biggest lesson to learn from throwing away your once prized possessions is to remember not to bring them in in the first place!
Move for the weekend
So many people are starting to hop on board with Airbnb hosting and are seeing major benefits.
Some families use it to help pay off debt, travel more, or even use it as a good way to help transition to a new housing situation.
How can Airbnb help you prep for downsizing?
If you have thought about smaller living, Airbnb might be able to give you some great insight.
You could earn money while hosting your house and maybe the time away will help you realize just how much you don’t require all the space. Click here to save $40 on your first Airbnb.
Major things to consider
There are so major things to think about and consider when you begin planning to downsize:
- Do you have a downpayment?
- Do you need to pay off debt first?
- Will you be gaining any equity by selling?
- What square footage are you comfortable with?
- What specifications do you have for a new home?
- What do you just not have room for anymore? (usually large pieces of furniture)
- Are you struggling with your credit? Get a FREE Credit Consultation!
If you are planning to downsize, make sure you are smart about it.
Two major things you need to plan a downsize
- A trustworthy real estate agent
- To gain equity in the home you are selling
Need more inspo.?
If you love the idea of simplifying your life inside and out, you’ll love my Soulful Minimalism Newsletter where you get access to bonus podcast episodes, weekly downloads, and declutter prompts that align with your life and schedule.
If you are determined to simplify your home and life, this is most definitely a tool you’ll want to have in your back pocket!