10 Ways to Downsize without losing your mind!
We've gone through three declutters. Not because we didn't get it right the first time but because life sometimes gets in the way of our best intentions. We are full-time RVers but needed to come off the road for a while due to my health so we hunkered down in an apartment. Now we will "declutter" again when we hit the road later this year. When it comes to decluttering, be sure to plan well in advance in order to give yourself breathing room. Take small steps. It will all come together. That old song really is true - One Day at a Time! 🙂
Here are some things we have done to help with our new minimalist lifestyle. While these suggestions come from our life as full-time RVers, most of them can be applied to downsizing in a permanent residence as well. Simply simplifying!
1. Digitize pictures you don't want to part with - same for photo albums and keepsake cards.
2. Only keep wrinkle-free, wash-and-wear clothes.
3. Don't keep "good china" for the kids - they don't want it.
4. Do bring 2-4 good books to read and your favorite board game for a rainy day.
5. Unless you're a very social person, organizing and working a yard sale can be daunting. If you can afford to full-time RV, you can likely afford to take it to the Thrift Store as a non-cash charitable donation for taxes. (I realize this isn't true for everyone, but for many people it works and it alleviates up so much hassle.) For the big $$ items that you want rid of, use a buy and sell, one or two items at a time so it doesn't get to be too much.
6. Planning ahead so you can take baby steps toward your end goal will help you to be stress-free when you hit the road. And when it comes to hitting the road, set a reasonable date in the future and stick to it!
7. Stuff can become overwhelming. Think of all that stuff as a way to bless someone else and let it go. It's stuff, not treasures. Only keep the treasures - and only keep a few!
8. Don't try to sort through every little thing. Hubby accidentally took a huge load of clothes to the thrift store when we were doing our first clear-out. These were beautiful, high-end dresses, suits, and even my wedding dress was in there! You know what? I do think about those things but I don't miss them! I had carted them around for years but didn't have the occasion to wear them anymore with our new lifestyle. I was only keeping them because they were "too nice to just give away"! Now when I think of them, I smile and think, "Somebody sure got some nice stuff!"
9. Don't keep anything, "just in case" or because it, "might come in handy." My mother always said (in a different context of course!), "When in doubt, leave it out!"
10. Finally, most important, leave behind what you've left behind. Don't obsess over what you should have brought or shouldn't have given away. Be creative with what you do have so you'll enjoy the trip, and your destination!
11. Did I mention, set a date, and stick with it! 😉