The Downsizing Plan

The best way to achieve something difficult is to have a plan. Here’s mine.

I read somewhere that allowing yourself six months to go through all your possessions is a reasonable timeframe. I read somewhere else a long time ago that breaking tidying jobs into either areas (pick up everything off the living room floor) or categories (pick up all the dirty laundry and put it in the washing machine) helps to stay focussed. You also know when you have finished, so then you have the benefit of feeling smug and satisfied doing that last one bit of the task.

So what I did is write out six areas, one for each month. The task for January is to “clear the loft”. By “clear” I mean for all intents and purposes the space is to be empty.

Husband and I agreed there were a few things that could sensibly continue to live in the loft until we move, which is our artificial Christmas tree and the suitcases. Everything else has to leave the house entirely. It cannot shift just from the loft into our general possessions unless it is remarkably wonderful and will add value to the next chapter of our lives.

I was advised by our neighbours to aim for completely empty rooms. This means for each area of the house we tackle, the goal is for it to indeed be empty as long as it doesn’t impact our ability to still live an agreeable life.

Yesterday, we decided we’d break the ice on New Year’s Day by going up into the loft and taking just one thing that was obvious it needed to go. And we would continue to go up there every day and do at least one reasonable thing. Keep it achievable. Don’t discourage ourselves on Day One of the job. Husband composted three boxes full of old paperwork. I tried to process three boxes of DVDs and CDs. This possibly wasn’t smart as music and movies are two of the loves of my life. I wish I had picked a box of old bank statements as my job would have been a lot simpler. But oh well, grasp the nettle and all that.

7 thoughts on “The Downsizing Plan

  1. I chuckled reading this as I have the same problem, only in my case, it is just me, one person and it’s a small house, but I truly wonder how two other people (my parents) and a bird lived here at one time? How in the world do I live in this constant state of clutter? Oh, it bothers me lots … but acting on it. Pffft! I keep telling myself that when I retire, (hopefully soon … my boss is 75 and I’m 65), that I will tackle each room with great gusto as I’ll have more free time … now free time is a luxury to be savored. Sigh. Well, you’ve inspired me as decluttering was just one of my resolutions – unfortunately reading was another, so it will be hard to choose which resolution not to break. 🙂

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    1. Hi Linda! Reading is like my opium to be honest. I can ignore Armageddon if I’ve got something to read. I just decided every day I have to get rid (totally out of the house) of something every single day. So if it’s a pair of old shoes and that’s all I manage to toss, I still get a gold star ha ha. Another thing I do is I tackle a big mess from the left and work right. One thing at a time. If it’s a whole room, I start at the edge of the door frame, then move right. One thing after another. You can do it! It just takes a long time. Nice to see you again!

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      1. Well I’ll try anything and I sat and read Nicholas Sparks “The Return” last weekend, bound and determined that nothing would deter me from reading, so I put on blinders to the clutter. I like your system and a friend of mine who was retiring and moving across the country said he and his wife aimed to fill two large garbage bags per week apiece and made it a goal. Thank you – you inspired me!

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