How to Declutter to Downsize Collections

When it comes to declutter to downsize collections, I mean anything you have too much of. It doesn’t have to be a collection of Beanie Babies or the like. Merriam-Webster defines collections as something collected…especially an accumulation of objects gathered for study, comparison, or exhibition or as a hobby.

Probably if you are attempting to declutter to downsize collections, it also helps to know WHY you have accumulated these things. Is it for study, comparison, exhibition or is it just a hobby? It’s obviously the feelings you get from having them. Whether it’s feelings of joy, pride, happiness, success or the complete opposite feelings of the fear of not having them is for you to figure out.

First of all, I’m not here to criticize you for any feelings you have about any of your collections. What I do know is that if you are on this journey of declutter to downsize, you cannot take it all with you. As a result, at some point, you have to let it go.

Many of you know, I have downsized twice and currently live in 800 square feet. I also laugh and say I have 2,000 square feet of stuff. I like my stuff and continue to add to my current stuff. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t buy something for my house. Shopping and decorating my house is my favorite hobby. I don’t collect for any other reason. Decorating for the current season also plays a big part in that. I especially love repurposing, reusing and recycling old things. Above all else at my house, everything has a place and everything stays in its place. When you have too much stuff, it has to be organized. Then we can call it organized clutter.

Declutter to Downsize Collections

The first step when you declutter to downsize is always to focus on the task at hand. That’s where so many people get sidetracked. It’s easy to start one thing and then find yourself doing something else.

For example, if you are sorting through your coffee cups, you decide to have a cup. While making the coffee, the mail comes and you take time to go through that. Then your coffee is ready and you sit down and look at the new magazine you got in the mail. Then you turn on the television. Three hours later you’re still watching your favorite Netflix show and you completely forgot you were sorting your coffee cups.

Does that ever happen to you? Certainly, it quickly becomes one of those days that’s over and you wonder where the time went.

Stay on task by first identifying the collection, start small, have a goal of how many items you are going to keep, and then focus. Ask yourself…how much space does this collection take up? And…can you make a decision about it now?

For example, if you have a stamp or record album collection, that might be very different than 50 pairs of shoes, or 100 Storybook Dolls. If it requires research or takes too much time, skip it today or this week altogether. Set it aside for another day. The House Weight Loss Plan is all about making quick decisions and creating a get rid of pile. Surely it’s easier to try on 50 pairs of shoes versus listening to 50 albums.

Some collections take longer than others to make a decision about!

Here are 5 easy ways to get it done:

  1. Take a before picture – or take smaller group pictures of the collection depending on what it is so you at least have a visual memory of it
  2. Remove everything from its container (drawer, bin, shelf, closet, etc.)
  3. Do a clean sweep into 2 piles – keep and don’t keep – you may have to come back to this a few times if your keep pile is bigger than your don’t keep
  4. Focus on putting the keep pile back into the container (if you have time, organize it)
  5. Decide whether the don’t keep pile is trash, donate, sell or give away and sort it accordingly

The object of the declutter to downsize session is to get rid of things you know you no longer want or need. If you are following The House Weight Loss Plan, on Facebook, you are doing a little each week to pare down your belongings. At this point, you are just trying to get rid of stuff. As always, don’t get hung up on your stuff. If you can’t make a decision, keep it. This is not rocket science. Some days you will be more willing to get rid of stuff than other days. It’s just the way it is. And if you’re not in the mood, watch some Netflix and come back to this tomorrow.

Case Study

I have a friend who is selling her house in September to move to Texas. She told me last week, she donated 29 coats to Goodwill – which Goodwill I wanted to ask as my love of coats in me was coming out. That’s progress! But she’s on a mission because she is selling her house. She knows she is moving to a warmer climate but she also knows how much and what kind of space she will have in her new place.

We actually sat down together last week and looked at her new floor plan. She is making decisions about what furniture pieces she will keep and what she will get rid of. For example, she currently has a formal dining room with a long 7-foot dining room table. Her new house doesn’t have a formal dining room and has an eat-in kitchen instead. Needless to say, she won’t be taking that table with her to Texas.

She also donated at least 30 pairs of shoes the week before last. Somewhat due to Covid, her lifestyle has changed as it has for most of us. Shoes she was wearing a year ago, she no longer wears. As much as she’s a shoe girl and loves her shoes, she also knows it’s pointless to pay to move things she no longer needs. Her lifestyle in Texas is going to be much different than her life here.

Your Declutter to Downsize Collections Goal

I donate things every week – some weeks more than others. As I collect new things, I let go of other things. There is a box in the trunk of my car. When I make a decision about getting rid of something, I move it to that box. I don’t think twice about it. Then when I’m in the area of a donation site, I stop and empty the box. If it no longer serves you, get rid of it. I promise you won’t miss it. Life is stuff. And it’s all stuff.

By the end of each week, you should have accomplished something. Have a goal to drop your donation items over the weekend. Get things in the trash by the end of the week. Call your friends and have them stop by on a certain day to pick up things they have said they wanted.

In other words, finish up your week every week. Don’t let one project bleed over into next week. Baby steps with start and finish goals is the way to win the race when decluttering to downsize.

Need More Assistance?

There are many people I help every week on a more personal basis. Needless to say, they all waited too long to start their declutter to downsize journey and now have health issues that prevent them from doing things on their own.

These are people who have no family in town and don’t want to ask their friends to help them sort through their kitchen cabinets. It’s a slow process but when I haul off a car load of stuff every time, it’s a great feeling for them. Some of these people I’ve been helping for a long time. They all have a vision for a life different than how they are living now. And most of them want to move out of town to be closer to family to live out their next chapter. Every week they make bigger decisions about getting rid of their stuff. They are slowly reaching their goals of living life differently.

Are you still wondering why you should declutter to downsize your home? Or are you of the camp that the kids can do it once you’re moved into “the home”? Believe me, if you leave your downsizing to your kids, you’ll be lucky to make it to the home. John Dutton and Rip will have you going to the train station for sure if you have that attitude. (That’s from Yellowstone if you haven’t watched it!)

Seriously, it’s your stuff. Step up and take care of it while you still can. It’s up to you how you want to be remembered, don’t let your legacy be tainted forever because you didn’t take responsibility for your job. Your kids will never, ever forgive you.

If you or someone you know needs help getting started on a plan to declutter to downsize their home, there are many options to choose from. Please call or text me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here. We start wherever you are in your journey and that’s different for everyone.

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