The first time I "downsized" I went from living in a perfectly organized bedroom in my parents' house, to a decent sized three bedroom mobile home in Alaska. This doesn't exactly sound like downsizing, but it definitely was. In my parents' house, I had tons of stuff I wasn't using. I had wall to wall stuff. It LOOKED nice, and I knew where everything was, but there was a LOT of it. When we moved to Alaska, we took essentials. Knowing we would likely be back after the school year, we continued to only buy essentials during our time there. We are back in Ohio and living in a one bedroom apartment. It's cozy and we have what we need, but we still keep it pretty basic. Everything we own is something we actively use, or actually love. Below are some of my tips for "downsizing"... even if you're moving into a bigger home, or not moving at all.
1. Look through your kitchen items. Can you sell or donate things that are single purpose in exchange for keeping the items that you ALREADY own that are multi-purposeful? You probably don't need a rice cooker if your pressure cooker also cooks rice.
2. Stay in the kitchen for a minute. Do you have more dishes than you actually ever realistically use? Tupperware? Let some of it go. Seriously!
3. Be careful with stockpiling the pantry. If it's not necessary - rethink it. Stockpiling takes up a ton of space and honestly ends up leading to expired/wasted food pretty often.
4. Take things that are already opened and properly dispose of the packaging they came in. Your cleaning supplies, paper products, etc. all look better AND fit better after this is done. Bonus points if you're able to switch to more sustainable supplies that require less products and less waste in general!
5. Invest in some quality bamboo lazy Susan spinners for your kitchen cabinets. These are great for cleaning supplies under the sink, cooking oils, and spices.
6. Multipurpose furniture is where it's at! My TV stand is SUPER cute. It acts as decor, it holds our TV, and it has plenty of storage inside of it. All of our furniture serves the purpose of function and style. I'm not going to say everything has extra storage (we don't need that much storage), but because they're cute pieces, I feel the need for less decor in general.
7. Go through your paperwork. Are you holding on to things you don't need? I have a small file box with everything pertinent. It's great to digitize what you can and there are a lot of resources out there that can help with this.
8. Keep the clothes that make you feel good. If they don't make you feel good, or you just don't wear them, they don't deserve precious space in your closet.
9. Utilize the library. People hate this tip because people love their books. I love books too, and I think this tip is fantastic. Will you actually ever reread the books you're holding on to? Are you storing books that you've never read and don't have any desire to read? Let things go.
10. You can do the same thing with your movies. They can be donated or even sold to a local Exchange store. There are so many streaming services available nowadays that you probably don't need to store a huge movie collection within your home anymore.
11. Use what you have first. Don't ever go buy organizational supplies (bins & baskets) as your first step in finally getting organized. This almost always leads to more clutter, even if it's partially organized clutter. I have vowed to only keep what fits in my apartment and has it's own "home" within my home. If something doesn't fit or have a home, I have to rethink what I already own or how things are currently organized or being used.
12. Get used to the idea of multipurpose rooms. Can your guest room double as your office or craft space? Can your family room have a pullout couch? My TV stand doubles as storage space for my office supplies and my kitchen table currently doubles as my desk space when I need to work. When I don't, the laptop and other supplies go back in the TV cabinet. It's never an issue.
13. Ask your family and friends to start giving you the gift of experiences and time or even consumables like good chocolate or wine, rather than more stuff. Honestly... do the same for them! I don't think I know of anyone who needs more stuff.
14. Use the store to store stuff. Most of us live pretty close to a store that has most of the items we could ever want or need and we also have quick online access to Amazon, etc. We don't live in a time or place where we need to buy and/or keep a bunch of "just in case" items. What can you borrow? Can you buy that same item again fairly easily in the off chance that you absolutely need it and can't borrow it?
15. Be honest with yourself and question what you're used to. Who are you NOW? What are your interests NOW? Donate/sell what you can't or won't realistically use. You don't have to keep items just because you once loved them or because they cost a lot of money. You don't even have to keep something that was a gift. Find good places to sell or donate your old stuff so you can feel even better about letting things go.