Top 3 Downsizing tips

Spring is here so that means summer is just around the corner. That hit Tim and I pretty hard and I wouldn’t be lying if I said, panic set in. We looked around and realized that we still have a great deal to do in order to be ready to RV full time. So for the past two weeks, we have really focused on downsizing. Each of us approaches the process very differently. Today, I am going to share some tips based on my process.

Tip #1: Create piles

  • Pile 1 - things to give away to family and friends

    • This is stuff that you feel others in the family or your friends can use or may want to keep for sentimental purposes.

    • Don’t be surprised if nobody is interested in the sentimental items that you treasure. What you put in this pile may end up in another pile very soon.

    • Over the past 2 years, our daughters have pretty much taken what they want, so we don’t have too much in this pile.

  • Pile 2 - things to sell (optional)

    • We put quite a few items in this pile the first time we downsized.

    • After multiple yard sales when we moved back to Pittsburgh 2 years ago, we don’t want to spend the time on sales anymore. This pile is much smaller for us.

    • We do have a few larger items like collectible sports memorabilia that we may try to sell.

  • Pile 3 - things to donate

    • This is our biggest pile right now.

    • We are taking stuff to the thrift store weekly.

  • Pile 4 - things to pitch

    • This is the second largest pile for us; anything that has no value or we think nobody will want, we are throwing away.

    • This also includes shredding paperwork.

Tip #2: Focus on one type of item or room at a time

  • Do one room and hit all the closets, cupboards and drawers in that room.

  • I found that I sometimes moved to another room if I was focusing on a specific type of item, such as household decorations and knickknacks. It was easier to gather most of that up together and make decisions on them all at once.

  • Make a decision about each item and move it to your piles.

    • I use boxes and garbage bags to organize each of my piles.

  • If you are still using an item, it is ok to leave it in place.

    • I have done this process multiple times over the past 2 years and know what I use frequently. Eventually these will end up in a pile.

  • For me, focusing on one room at a time is less stressful. I clean it out into the boxes and bags, then dispose of them before I move on to the next room. This way they are out of the way and there is less clutter as you move on.

Tip #3: Decide what to take with you and what to store (optional)

  • As I go through each room, I leave the stuff in place that we use every day.

  • My next step will be to start packing some of that to take with us.

    • I started with a few boxes of items like sheets, towels, clothes, and tools.

  • We are not planning on a storage unit but many people decide to do that. We don’t want to keep that much stuff but are realizing that we have some things that we cannot get rid of yet.

    • This will be just a few boxes that will fit in a family member’s attic.

    • For the most part, we will keep a few clothes, especially some winter stuff, just in case we need it when we come to visit.

    • Pictures are in this category. We never made time to scan them for digital storage so that will probably happen later.

Keep in mind that you will probably repeat these three steps multiple times before downsizing is finished. It is definitely an iterative process. At least it has been for me. Tim’s approach is different and I can’t really tell how he organizes his stuff. He says it is top secret and he won’t share. It is definitely different from mine.