February 21

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Learn how to downsize like a pro: 6 decluttering habits to borrow from professional organizers for an easier move

6 decluttering habits to steal from professional organizers who help movers downsize

When it comes to moving, one of the most daunting tasks is decluttering. We’ve all been there – surrounded by piles of stuff, not knowing where to start. However, there are experts out there who make this process much easier. Professional organizers, like the ones from Horderly, have developed certain habits that can greatly help people who are downsizing.

For example, one important habit is to start early. Professional organizers often advise their clients to begin decluttering well in advance of their move. This gives them time to go through all their possessions and decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. It also prevents the need to rush through the decluttering process, which can lead to mistakes and unnecessary waste.

Another habit that experts suggest is to label boxes and furniture. This makes it much easier when it comes time to unpack in the new home. By clearly labeling boxes with the contents inside, you’ll save yourself time and frustration later on. This is especially important when it comes to fragile items or things that are easily misplaced.

One tip that professional organizers often employ is the “one-year rule”. If you haven’t used an item in over a year, it’s time to let it go. This rule helps people to be more realistic about what they actually need and use in their daily lives. It can be difficult to part with sentimental items or things that we think we may need in the future, but following this rule can greatly reduce the amount of clutter in our homes.

Professional organizers also know the power of downsizing. They recognize that living in a smaller space can actually be a blessing rather than a hindrance. By downsizing, you’re forced to only keep the items that truly bring you joy and serve a purpose. This can lead to a more organized and simplified living environment.

In addition to these habits, professional organizers have a few special tricks up their sleeves. For example, they often use clear storage bins to help clients see what’s inside without having to open each one. They also encourage people to think about the purpose of each item before deciding to keep it. If it no longer serves a purpose or brings you joy, it’s time to let it go.

While moving and downsizing can be stressful, implementing these habits from professional organizers can make the process much smoother. So, if you’re about to embark on a move or just want to declutter your living space, be sure to steal some of these tips from the experts. With their help, you’ll be well on your way to a more organized and clutter-free life.

6 decluttering habits to help downsize your home

When it comes to moving, downsizing your home can be a daunting task. There are lots of things to consider, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of items you need to go through. Here are six decluttering habits to help make the process a little bit easier:

  1. Take it in bits: Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, break the task down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This way, you won’t feel as overwhelmed or discouraged.
  2. Label everything: When you’re going through your belongings, be sure to label each item according to its designated category. This will help you stay organized and ensure that everything has a proper place when it comes time to move.
  3. Seek professional help: If you’re finding it difficult to declutter on your own, consider enlisting the help of professional organizers or movers. They have experience and expertise in decluttering and downsizing and can provide invaluable guidance and support.
  4. Be ruthless: Don’t be afraid to let go of things that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy. It can be challenging to part with certain items, but downsizing requires making tough decisions. Remember, it’s about creating a more streamlined and simplified life.
  5. Don’t hold onto sentimental clutter: It’s natural to attach sentimental value to certain objects, but if they’re taking up valuable space in your current home, you may need to let them go. Take photos or find other ways to preserve the memories without cluttering your living space.
  6. Consider the size of your new space: When decluttering, keep in mind the size of your new home. If it’s significantly smaller than your current one, you’ll need to be even more mindful of what you choose to keep. Some furniture or large items may not fit, so be prepared to let go of anything that won’t work in your new space.

By implementing these decluttering habits, you can make the downsizing process more manageable and less overwhelming. Remember, it’s about creating a space that reflects your current needs and allows you to live a more organized and simplified life.

1 Start the process before moving

Moving to a new home can be an overwhelming task for anyone. It makes people realize the amount of stuff they have accumulated over the years and how much of it needs to be packed and transported to their new place. However, professional organizers who help movers downsize suggest that starting the decluttering process before the move can make a significant difference.

By starting the decluttering process before the move, you not only save time but also have a chance to go through your belongings more thoughtfully. This way, you can decide what items you want to keep, what you can sell or donate, and what you should throw away. It’s always a good idea to take some time to think about whether certain items are truly needed in your new home or if they will just take up space and collect dust.

One important rule when decluttering before moving is to label all the boxes. This will not only help you keep track of what’s inside but also save you from the hassle of opening random boxes to find something you need. Labeling the boxes with the room they should go to also makes the unpacking process much easier and faster.

Additionally, professional organizers like Horderly suggest creating a special “decluttering” box or bag. This is where you can put all the items that are in good condition but no longer needed. This way, you can donate or sell them later and ensure they don’t end up cluttering your new home.

When it comes to decluttering the not-so-obvious areas of your home, like entryways, experts recommend being ruthless. Entryways tend to accumulate a lot of clutter, such as shoes, coats, and mail. Make sure to take the time to declutter these areas and create a functional and organized space for your new home.

Another important aspect of decluttering before moving is dealing with food. It’s a well-known fact that moving perishable food items can be a waste, as they often don’t survive the journey or will go bad shortly after. So, when decluttering your pantry and refrigerator, make sure to dispose of any expired or nearing expiration food items and plan meals around what remains.

In conclusion, starting the decluttering process before moving can save you lots of time and make the entire moving experience smoother. By getting rid of unnecessary belongings, labeling boxes, and taking care of food, you can ensure a clutter-free and organized new home. Remember, the less you have to pack and unpack, the better!

2 Be ruthless when cutting belongings

When it comes to downsizing and decluttering, one of the most important habits you can steal from professional organizers is the ability to be ruthless when cutting belongings. In order to create a more organized and streamlined living space, it’s essential to let go of things that are no longer needed or used.

Sort through items regularly

A key habit that professional organizers recommend is regularly sorting through your belongings. Instead of waiting until you’re moving or downsizing, make it a habit to go through your items on a regular basis. This way, you can identify what you actually use and what can be let go.

Consider the current and future needs

When deciding what to keep and what to let go, it’s important to consider both your current and future needs. Ask yourself if certain items are still relevant to your current lifestyle, or if they will be needed in the future. By being mindful of your needs, you can avoid holding onto unnecessary belongings.

Follow the “one-year rule”

A commonly recommended rule by professional organizers is the “one-year rule.” If you haven’t used an item in over a year, it’s often a sign that it can be let go. This rule helps prevent clutter from accumulating and ensures that your space is filled with items that you truly use and enjoy.

Get rid of duplicates

It’s easy to accumulate duplicates of certain items over time, such as kitchen utensils or clothing. Professional organizers advise getting rid of duplicates and keeping only the best or most frequently used ones. This not only cuts down on clutter but also makes it easier to find and access the items you need.

Don’t hold onto “just in case” items

Many people have a tendency to hold onto items “just in case” they may need them in the future. However, professional organizers recommend being realistic about what you actually need and use. If an item hasn’t been used in a long time and you can easily replace it if needed, it’s best to let it go.

Seek professional advice and help

Seek professional advice and help

If you’re struggling with the decluttering process or finding it difficult to let go of belongings, seeking professional advice and help can be beneficial. Professional organizers like Jamie, the founder of Horderly, can offer guidance, tips, and customized strategies to help you make the best decisions for your space.

Remember the benefits of downsizing

When it comes to downsizing and decluttering, it’s important to keep in mind the benefits it can bring. By letting go of unnecessary belongings, you can create a more organized, spacious, and stress-free living environment. So, be ruthless when cutting belongings, and remember that less clutter means more peace of mind.

3 Sort large and small items separately

When decluttering and downsizing, it’s important to sort large and small items separately. This means separating furniture and other large items from smaller items.

By doing this, it will be much easier to move and declutter your space. Furniture and larger items usually require special handling and can take up a lot of space in moving trucks or storage units. By sorting them separately, you can easily identify what furniture you no longer need or want to keep.

Sorting small items separately also has its benefits. Smaller items like kitchenware, clothing, and personal belongings are usually easier to organize and pack. By sorting them separately, you can determine which items are necessary and which ones you can let go of.

Jamie Novak, the founder of Better Homes and Gardens’ “Get Organized” series, also suggests sorting small items separately for an additional reason. She advises to collect all the items you need for a specific purpose in one area. For example, if you’re sorting items from your kitchen, you should gather ovenware, food storage containers, and other similar items in one place. This makes it easier to see what you have and what you may be duplicates of.

Sorting large and small items separately not only helps in the decluttering process but also makes it easier for professional movers to assist you. Movers often have specific conditions or policies for certain items, and sorting your belongings in this way allows them to direct the storage or moving of these items accordingly.

It’s important to note that while sorting large and small items separately is generally a good habit, there may be some exceptions. For example, if you have small decorative pieces that go with your furniture, you may want to keep them with their corresponding items to ensure they don’t get lost or misplaced.

Overall, sorting large and small items separately is a helpful decluttering habit to adopt when downsizing or organizing your home. It makes the process smoother and more efficient, while also ensuring that your belongings are being stored or moved under the best conditions.

4 Use the sticker method to declutter a room quickly

If you’re in the process of downsizing or moving to a new home, decluttering is an essential task that can help make the transition easier. One of the best ways to efficiently declutter a room is by using the sticker method, a technique that many professional organizers use to help their clients downsize.

The sticker method involves labeling items in a room with different colored stickers, each color representing a specific action. For example, you can use green stickers to mark items that you want to keep, yellow stickers for items that you’re unsure about, and red stickers for items that you want to donate, sell, or get rid of.

This method is especially useful because it allows you to make quick decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. Instead of agonizing over each item, the sticker method helps you make decisions on the spot, making the decluttering process much faster.

Here are some tips on how to use the sticker method effectively:

  1. Start with a clear plan: Before you begin, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Decide on the number of items you want to keep, the space you have available, and any specific goals you have in mind.
  2. Pull everything out: To declutter a room efficiently, it’s important to see everything you have. Pull all the items out of closets, drawers, and cabinets, and place them in a central location.
  3. Sort items by category: Once everything is out in the open, sort the items into categories such as clothing, kitchenware, electronics, etc. This will help you see how much you have of each item and make it easier to decide what to keep.
  4. Label items with stickers: As you go through each category, label the items with the corresponding colored stickers. Be decisive and trust your instincts. Remember, the goal is to declutter and downsize.
  5. Make a decision for each item: For items that you’re unsure about, give yourself a time limit. If you haven’t used or needed the item in a certain amount of time, it’s likely that you can let it go.
  6. Consider storage options: If you’re downsizing and have certain items that you can’t part with but don’t have room for in your new home, consider renting a storage unit. This way, you can keep the items that are important to you without cluttering your new space.

Using the sticker method can make the task of decluttering a room much more manageable. It helps you make quick decisions and eliminates the need for overthinking. Ultimately, the goal is to create a more organized and stress-free living environment.

So, if you’re in the process of downsizing or moving, consider stealing this method from the experts. It’s a simple yet effective way to declutter your life and make the moving process much smoother.

5 Break down decluttering into categories

When it comes to decluttering, one of the most important strategies that professional organizers use is breaking down the task into categories. By sorting items into specific categories, you can make the decluttering process more manageable and efficient.

1. Start with a general sorting

1. Start with a general sorting

The first step in decluttering is to sort your belongings into broad categories. This can include items such as clothes, electronics, books, and kitchenware. By doing this initial sorting, you can get a sense of how much stuff you have and identify any duplicates or items that you no longer need.

2. Create more specific subcategories

Once you have sorted your belongings into general categories, it’s time to further break them down into subcategories. For example, within the clothes category, you can create subcategories for tops, bottoms, dresses, and accessories. This will help you to more easily identify items that you can declutter.

3. Consider your lifestyle

When organizing your belongings into categories, consider your lifestyle and what items you actually use or need. For example, if you rarely cook, you may decide to declutter many of your kitchenware items. By considering your lifestyle, you can prioritize what items are truly important to you and let go of the ones that you don’t use or need.

4. Think about storage conditions

Another factor to consider when categorizing your belongings is the storage conditions in your home. Certain items may require specific storage conditions, such as temperature-controlled environments or special containers. By taking these storage conditions into account, you can determine whether you have the necessary space and resources to properly store or declutter certain items.

5. Label boxes or containers

Once you have sorted your belongings into categories, it’s important to label your boxes or containers accordingly. This will make it easier for you to find specific items when you need them in the future. Additionally, labeling can also be helpful if you are working with professional movers, as they will know which boxes contain fragile items or need special handling.

By breaking down decluttering into categories, you can make the task of downsizing or moving much more manageable. It helps you to identify what items are truly important to you and what can be let go. So, before you start decluttering, consider using this strategy to make the process easier and more effective.

6 Don’t forget your paperwork

6 Don't forget your paperwork

When it comes to moving, one of the most important tasks is organizing and decluttering your paperwork. Professional organizers who help movers downsize understand the importance of this task and have shared their advice on how to tackle it efficiently.

1. Sort through your documents

The first step is to go through all your paperwork and identify what is needed and what can be discarded. Separate the necessary documents, such as identification papers, birth certificates, and passports, from the ones that are no longer relevant.

2. Create a filing system

Once you have sorted through your documents, it’s time to organize them in a way that makes them easy to find and access. Create a filing system based on categories, such as financial records, medical information, and legal documents, and label each folder accordingly.

3. Follow the “less is more” rule

When it comes to paperwork, it’s essential to follow the “less is more” rule. Keep only the documents that are absolutely necessary for your current and future needs. Discard outdated documents and old bills that are no longer applicable.

4. Consider going digital

Going digital can be a great way to declutter your paperwork and make it more accessible. Scan important documents and save them on a computer or an external hard drive. Make sure to back up your digital files to prevent any data loss.

5. Get expert help if needed

5. Get expert help if needed

If you find it difficult to declutter your paperwork or you have a significant amount of documents to go through, consider seeking help from a professional organizer or an expert in organizing and downsizing. They can provide guidance and support to ensure that the process is done effectively.

6. Stay organized after the move

Once you have decluttered and organized your paperwork, make a conscious effort to keep it that way. Create a system for managing incoming documents and regularly review and discard any unnecessary papers. This will help you maintain an organized and clutter-free life in your new space.

By following these decluttering habits, stealing the best practices from professional organizers, you can make your moving process smoother and your life more organized. Don’t forget the importance of decluttering your paperwork; it will save you time, space, and potential stress during and after the move.

How to get rid of items if you are a sentimentalist

Sentimentalists often find it difficult to let go of items due to the emotional attachments they have to them. Whether it’s a childhood toy, a gift from a loved one, or a memento from a special event, these items hold a lot of sentimental value. However, if you are a sentimentalist who is looking to declutter and downsize, there are still ways to let go of these items without feeling like you’re wasting or losing something important.

1. Steal ideas from professional organizers

Professional organizers who help movers downsize often have strategies for dealing with sentimental items. One of the best tips is to label your sentimental items. By labeling them, you can easily identify which items hold special meaning and are worth keeping.

2. Create a special storage space

If you have a hard time parting with sentimental items, consider creating a special storage space for them. This can be a designated box or a shelf where you keep these items. By keeping them separate from your everyday items, you can still hold onto them while reducing the clutter in your current living space.

3. Ask for help

If you’re having trouble deciding what to do with your sentimental items, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Reach out to a friend or family member who can provide an objective perspective. They can help you determine which items are truly important and which ones you can let go of.

4. Consider taking pictures

Taking pictures of sentimental items can help preserve the memories without having to keep the physical items. You can create a photo album or a digital collection that allows you to revisit these memories whenever you want. This way, you can still cherish the moments without the clutter.

5. Donate or pass on

5. Donate or pass on

If you have sentimental items that you no longer want to keep, consider donating them or passing them on to someone else who would appreciate them. Just because these items hold sentimental value to you doesn’t mean they won’t hold similar value to someone else. By giving them a new home, you can ensure that they continue to be cherished.

6. Start small

If the task of decluttering and downsizing seems overwhelming, start small. Begin with one area, like a drawer or an entryway, and slowly work your way through it. This will help you tackle the task in manageable chunks and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Remember, letting go of sentimental items doesn’t mean you’re losing the memories associated with them. It simply means you’re making space for new memories and experiences. By following these tips, you can declutter your space while still honoring the sentimental value of your belongings.

What should I declutter first when moving

One of the first things you need to consider when deciding what to declutter first when moving is the condition of your current home. For example, if you are moving to a smaller apartment or condo, you will likely need to declutter more than if you are moving to a larger home. Similarly, if you have been living in the same place for a long time and have accumulated lots of clutter, you may need to declutter more than someone who has recently moved and already downsized.

When it comes to deciding what to declutter first, there is no one-size-fits-all rule. However, there are experts who can provide tips and ideas to make the process easier. For example, professional organizers like Jamie Hord from Horderly suggest starting with small decluttering tasks, such as going through your clothing or kitchen items. This means that you can tackle these areas early on and work your way up to larger decluttering projects.

Jamie Hord also suggests considering how much you actually use certain items. If you haven’t used something in a while, it may be a good idea to donate or sell it. This is especially true for additional items like home décor or collectibles that may not have a practical use but take up valuable space when you move.

In addition to decluttering items, it’s also important to consider decluttering life habits. According to experts at Amazon, decluttering your schedule can help free up time and reduce stress when you move. This means being selective about the social engagements and commitments you take on during the moving process.

When decluttering, it’s important to keep in mind that certain items have expiration dates or limited lifespans. For example, experts suggest getting rid of make-up and toiletries that are past their prime or no longer needed. This is also true for food items in the pantry or freezer that won’t last much longer.

Experts also recommend taking into consideration the condition of your new home. If you are downsizing to a smaller space, it’s important to assess whether certain furniture or larger items will fit in your new place. If they won’t, it’s best to declutter them before you move.

When it comes to decluttering sentimental items, it can be more difficult. People often attach emotional value to certain items, making it harder to let go. Experts suggest taking a moment to consider why that item is important to you and whether it will still hold the same significance in your new home.

Horderly suggests following the “One in, One out” rule, which means that for every new item you bring into your home, you should remove an old one. This helps prevent clutter from accumulating again once you’ve downsized and moved.

In conclusion, when deciding what to declutter first when moving, it’s important to consider your current living conditions, how much decluttering you need to do, and to follow the advice of experts who suggest starting with small tasks and gradually working up to larger ones. Ultimately, the goal is to create a clutter-free and stress-free living environment in your new home.

What is the 2020 rule for decluttering

When it comes to decluttering, the 2020 rule is a popular method that many professional organizers recommend. The rule suggests that if you haven’t used an item in the past 20 months and you don’t anticipate using it in the next 20 months, then it’s time to let go of it.

This rule is helpful for people who tend to hold on to things and struggle with letting go. It provides a simple guideline to determine what items are truly necessary and what can be discarded or donated.

According to Jamie Novak, a professional organizer and founder of Bite-Size Living, the 2020 rule can be applied to every area of your home. Whether it’s your entryway, kitchen, or living room, go through your belongings and ask yourself if you’ve used them in the past 20 months or if you plan to use them in the next 20 months.

Following this rule can help prevent clutter from accumulating and make the downsizing or moving process much easier. It also encourages people to be more intentional with their belongings, keeping only what they truly need and use regularly.

There are a few additional tips to consider when using the 2020 rule for decluttering:

  1. Be honest with yourself: It’s important to be realistic and not hold on to items for sentimental reasons or “just in case” scenarios.
  2. Don’t waste items that are still in good condition: If you have items that are in good condition but you no longer use them, consider donating them to local charities or giving them to friends or family who may need them.
  3. Consider the purpose: When deciding whether to keep an item, think about its purpose in your life. If it doesn’t serve a specific purpose or bring you joy, it may be time to let go.
  4. Think about the space: Decluttering not only frees up physical space, but it also creates mental space. Removing unnecessary items can help create a more organized and peaceful living environment.

By following the 2020 rule, you can prioritize the items that are truly important to you and let go of the clutter, making your move or downsizing process much smoother and less overwhelming.


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