How To Downsize In 10 Easy Steps

Downsizing, just the word can sound scary. Going through each room and thinking to yourself how am I going to fit all of this into my new place? Where do I begin? It doesn’t take a mathematician to know you cannot fit the same amount of items from a large house into a much smaller space without getting rid of things you do not need or use. As an organizer, my job is to come in and make the process as stress-free and seamless as possible. These are a few of my tips to begin the downsizing process.

Start Early
When clients hire me to help them downsize the first thing I suggest is to start early. The immediate reaction I get is panic which is exactly what preparing early will avoid. If you wait until the last minute to begin it will cause stress, frustration and you will feel that nothing is getting accomplished. It’s never to early to get your move ready and organized.

Purge on the Front End 
I’m often asked when I help a client downsize should I purge now or wait until I move into my new home? Always in my opinion purge before you move! You don’t want to start in a new home with things you don’t need, use or love. Leave those items behind and start a new beginning by simplifying your new space.

Keep Lists
This one tip is a lifesaver. Keeping lists in a notebook or on your phone will enable you to check off what you have completed and also see what still needs to get done.

Hire A Professional
Sometimes when people are downsizing they are saying goodbye to a home filled with years of memories and it can be a difficult task. Hiring a professional will guide you through the process and help you decide what to keep and what to let go. A family member may be as emotional as you and it can become counterproductive if they pick up each item you have decided to get rid of and ask  the dreaded question “you’re not getting rid of that are you?” Hire professionals who will make the transition easier not more difficult.

Find An Appraiser
If you feel you have valuable art or antiques find an appraiser in your area to let you know the value of an item and if it’s worth keeping and moving.

Keep, Toss, Donate
Keep, toss and donate are three words that sound simple but can be very difficult. Start by designating an area in your home for all the items you want to keep. Toss the items you can’t donate and try to coordinate that task before garbage day. I recommend scheduling donation pickups at least once a week before you move. It will motivate you to start the process and remove items you no longer want so that you can focus on what you are taking with you. If you don’t need the appointments you can always cancel them. Use Post-it notes to label items that you are donating, moving or giving to friends and family that includes art, lamps, and furniture. It is so simple and definitely alleviates some of the stress especially weeks leading up to the move.

Take Photos
Now that we are in the digital world it is easy to sell items online. Take photos of items you want to sell and also the items you want to move. Compare the cost of shipping or moving an item to your new location vs. selling or donating. Now is the time to decide what you will do with the furniture items you no longer want to keep.

Downsize Your Books
Books take up a lot of space in a home but especially in a smaller home. Keep the ones you love and donate the rest to a library or homeless shelter.

Relax and Settle In
Once you have moved and unpacked relax and live in the space for a while. You may have more items to purge and I suggest getting into a normal routine so you know what organizing items you need to buy. Do you need more storage under the sink? Drawer organizers in the bathroom? Living in a space for a few weeks allows you the time to make lists and figure out what you need in order to call your new place home.

Don’t Forget About The Storage Unit
When you are downsizing the whole point is to purge the past and start a new future. If you are still holding onto storage units that you never go to and you have no idea what is in them you really haven’t completed the job. You will save money, feel less guilt and stress by finally letting go of the storage unit or units!

One thing I hear from many clients that have downsized is how freeing it was to purge their lives of all of the things they thought they would use, and never did, and stored for many years. Their life is much simpler. They have less maintenance, fewer taxes, less to insure and more leisure time to enjoy the things they like to do. I look at downsizing as the start of a new and exciting chapter in your life. 

How To Simplify and Love Your Home Again

 Many clients use my services not only to clear the clutter but to inspire them to fall in love with their home again. You may ask is that possible and the answer is YES! My goal is not only to purge and organize but to help make the necessary changes to create a new simplified and peaceful space. A refresh can make a big difference without spending a lot of money. Begin your transformation with these simple tips and life-changing results!

1. Make purging and simplifying your surroundings a priority. If you want a great end result a major purge will get you there.  Let go of items you no longer use, need, love or have room to store. Schedule a weekly donation pick up or drop off until your goal is accomplished. Excuses do not create change, it takes time and commitment.

2. Use the vertical space in your home to add storage in a closet, under a sink or on a shelf. Vertical space is often overlooked but can really add the extra storage you may need.

3. Use drawer organizers to help you stay organized and to ensure everything has a home. Purge, sort like items, measure the drawer and purchase an insert to fit the space.

4. Purge artificial plants that have become dust catchers and invest in real plants or treat yourself to fresh flowers. Speaking of dust catchers how many is too many candles? Candles can look and smell beautiful but too many can make a house feel cluttered.

5. Consider the garage part of your home and keep it purged and free of clutter. Remember a garage is not a storage unit it is an extension of your home.

6. A fresh coat of paint can make an area look brand new. Keep colors simple, soothing and cohesive. If you live in a small space it helps to choose one color throughout the home so it appears larger. Splashes of color can be in accessories or art but keep the rest simple.

7. Tackle sentimental clutter and free up storage for items you use, need and love. It can be a difficult task but the amount of space you will gain can make a big difference. If you feel overwhelmed in this area hire a professional it will be worth it!

8. Bookshelves with too much stuff can make an entire room feel cluttered. Simplify with a couple of photos, items you love, favorite books and let the rest go.

9. Replace broken items and make a list of what needs to be repaired. If you are not handy hire a service like Home Advisor or Tackl to complete the job.

10. Rework your space by moving items around and work with what you can’t change. Learning to love your home is about accepting what can and cannot change. Trust me I have learned that through multiple renovations.

12. Another simple change that can make a big difference is updating outdated light fixtures and hardware. Small improvements can really change the way you feel about your home. 

13. Hire a junk removal company to remove larger items that are taking up space but are never used. Ex: old furniture, broken TV’s, never used exercise equipment, tools and old appliances that don’t work. This will give you immediate results and will quickly start your journey to simplifying your space.

I say this all the time but it is never about having enough space it’s about too much stuff. Simplifying and organizing your home alleviates everyday frustrations, saves you time, money and makes your home a peaceful, calm, relaxing place you want to come home to at the end of the day.


10 Ways Your Closet is Sabotaging Your Self Esteem

Does how you feel about yourself keep you from clearing the clutter in your closet? As an organizer, I see many closets with clothing that has not been worn in years, undergarments that don’t fit properly, and clothes that are either too small or too big. How you see yourself has a lot to do with why you may be paralyzed to make any changes in your closet. These simple tips will get you motivated to begin transforming you and your closet.


 The size you wear in one brand can be totally different in another brand. Understanding this is huge because so many women think that if they are a size 10 in one brand they should be a 10 in all brands and there is nothing further from the truth. So be kind to yourself and don’t just buy one size across the board because you will end up with clothes that don’t fit and are never worn.


I can’t say this enough get fitted properly for new undergarments. It can really change the way your clothes fit and how you feel about yourself. Purge undergarments that are not flattering or have seen better days. Regardless if you are the only one to see your undergarments it will make you feel better about how you look and feel in clothes.


Don’t keep clothes that make you feel bad about yourself when you see them. I call those “used to” clothes because that is how clients describe them to me. Looking into your closet and seeing items that “used to” fit only reinforces negative thoughts and low self-esteem. Your wardrobe should be about who you are today not yesterday!


If you want to see real change when you are cleaning out your closet remove everything. It really is the only way to see what you own and what you want to keep. I like to use a garment rack to make the process a bit easier because it allows you to see what you own. Three simple rules to follow when deciding what to keep I like this and will wear itdoesn’t fit and I don’t like it, maybe but I need to try it on. It’s that easy don’t overthink it.


Make a list of items you need to replace as you let go of the old. It is the easiest way to keep track of what you need without overbuying. 


If you want a closet that is easy to work on a daily basis it helps to stick to neutrals. Black, white, cream and splashes of color in your accessories and shoes will make planning what you are wearing so simple. 


Now, let’s discuss patterns. They are great for some people but for others, it may be the reason you have items in your closet that are never worn. Stripes, florals and polka dots can be fun to wear but do you feel good when you wear them? If the answer is no, let them go. Simplicity is not boring just easy.


If you feel like you cannot tackle your closet without help you are not alone. A professional organizer can help you make decisions you are unable to make. They will give honest opinions by asking questions and motivate you to keep moving forward to attain your goal.


Age seems to always play a role when purging clothes in a closet. Although you may not wear mini skirts any more wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Buying “you should” clothes, also known as clothes people think you should wear for your age, can make you feel bad about yourself and take up valuable space in your closet.


Even in clothing, it can be hard to leave the past behind. Holding onto clothes that no longer reflect who you are and the stage of life you are in is keeping you and your closet living in the past. Embrace the body you have today and build your wardrobe with the items you love!

Cleaning out your closet can be a challenge when you begin the process. There may be some unexpected emotions that arise but once you purge the old you can move forward and enjoy the new you and who you are today. Try it, the results can be life-changing!

Photo: Julie Ryan Photography