Downsizing? How to Make it Work

There are a lot of reasons for downsizing your belongings, from moving into a smaller home or just wanting to reclaim space in your home. It takes time and hard work but you’ll feel much better once you’re finished.

Whatever your reason for getting rid of some of your belongings, there are a lot of benefits of downsizing: there’s less stuff to maintain, less stress, and more time for fun activities. Are you ready to free up some space in your home? Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Start small

Downsizing is a deceptively complex project. We often overestimate how much we can accomplish in a day. Instead of attempting to downsize your entire house, plan to focus on a single room at a time. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed and abandoning the project. You’ll be more likely to see the progress you’re making and be encouraged to continue.

Don’t get extra storage

Save yourself time and money by not renting a storage unit. What starts off as a temporary solution, off-site storage often turns into black holes of storage, steadily collecting more items you promptly forget about. Instead of shuffling your items out of sight and out of mind, tackle them head-on and use that rent money for something fun.

Use the one-year rule

When deciding what to keep or toss, ask yourself this question: “Have I used this in the last year?”  If the answer is no, chances are you won’t be using it in the future. This goes for everything: clothes, sports and fitness equipment, bags and baggage, unused furniture, electronics, kitchen gadgets, and more. Donate, give away, or sell any usable items.

Make definitive decisions

As you downsize, quickly decide what stays or goes. Using the five-second rule will keep you focused on your task and doesn’t give your brain time to rationalize keeping a questionable item. Your gut instinct is usually the right one. It may be helpful to skip the ‘maybe’ pile and force yourself to make a decision in the moment.

Digitize what you can

Paper clutter is the sneakiest enemy of downsizing. It quickly accumulates and soon takes over. Do what you can to reduce the amount of paper in your home: digitize photos and kids’ art pieces. Opt for paperless billing whenever possible. Only keep the most important items like passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc.

Let go of guilt

It’s natural to have some emotional ties to your belongings. Parting with these items can bring an overwhelming sense of guilt. Set aside items with strong sentimental value to review later. When you’re ready, review each piece and consider if this item is something you use or enjoy. If you’re only keeping it because you feel guilty otherwise, it’s better to get rid of it or else you may begin to resent it later. Only keep what truly brings you joy. Find new homes for pieces you can’t bear to toss or donate.

Keep reevaluating

Downsizing isn’t a one-time event. As you continue to downsize your items, you’ll begin to need less and less stuff. Every so often, reevaluate your belongings and see if you’re ready for another round of downsizing. Also, as you bring new items in, see if there’s something else you can remove.

It’s amazing how quickly items can accumulate in our homes over time. By strategically removing things you no longer use, you can reclaim your space and make your home feel even larger.

Bellaterra at North Forty

Our homes at Bellaterra at North Forty are perfect for those looking for homes with a smaller footprint. With 1 to 3 bedrooms and ranging between approximately 857 to 1,532 square feet, we offer Bay Area homebuyers a unique opportunity for streamlined living in Los Gatos.

SummerHill Homes remains committed to building distinction throughout the Bay Area. Our new homes are filled with modern finishes and features. We’re sure you’ll find the right home for your family. If you’re looking for a new home in the Bay Area, visit us online at to learn more about our new home communities.

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