There are a lot of reasons you might feel like it’s time to downsize and move into a smaller home.

If you’re now an empty-nester, that’s one good reason. Even families who still have children at home often opt to downsize to save money on their mortgage and to have less upkeep and maintenance.

If you spend all of your free time maintaining a larger home than what you need, you have less time to enjoy your life.

When you downsize to a smaller home, you can declutter and enjoy lower utility bills.

Living in a smaller home requires you to think about your priorities and get rid of things that aren’t needed.

If you plan to downsize, decluttering and preparing can be intimidating, and the following are some tips to take some of the stress out of it.

Be Strategic

You’ll probably start thinking about the big items in your current home first, as you plan to downsize.

With furniture and large items, don’t waste your time trying to guess what will fit and what won’t.

Instead, create a floor chart of your new home, and then you can map out a grid of your furnishings to figure out what will fit and how it will fit.

There are apps that you can use that will make it incredibly easy to do this.

You’ll feel more confident in your decisions as far as what you keep and throw away if you measure first.

If there are rooms in your current home that you won’t have at all in your new home, get rid of everything from those if you can. For example, if you’re not going to have a guestroom, start eliminating the items in your current guestroom first.

Take Inventory

If you’re moving to a smaller home, you’re inevitably going to have to get rid of things. This is one of the benefits of downsizing—reducing clutter and simplifying your living space.

Start by taking inventory of what you have versus what you need.

You can begin weeding out the things you’re certain you want to get rid of, such as duplicate items.

tart Small

Create a downsizing plan, and start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the most challenging parts of your house first.

For example, begin with your laundry room or perhaps a small closet. Don’t start with your garage or your basement first—those can be the biggest projects to take on.

Start Clearing Things Out

Once you have a general idea of how much space you have in your new home and your possessions, begin the process of clearing things out.

Create four piles. There should be no maybe pile—don’t give yourself the option.

The first pile will be giveaways. These are the things you’re going to give to family and friends but don’t save too many items in these piles. You may be overestimating how useful or valuable loved ones might find many of the things you plan to give them.

The next pile will be donations. If something is in bad shape, don’t put it in the donate pile because it probably won’t be accepted.

Your third pile can be more valuable items that you plan to sell.

Finally, your fourth pile heads to the dump.

Find Help

You should look for someone to help you with the process who doesn’t have the emotional attachment to the things that you do. You have to take the emotionality out of downsizing, and a third-party can guide you in that direction.

If you’re struggling with getting rid of things, perhaps you should have someone help you. If so, resist the urge to micromanage what they give away or throw away.

Finally, try to make downsizing as fast a process as you can. You don’t want to give yourself too much time to think on things because you might come up with some reason for keeping items that you really shouldn’t.

Get it done and move the items out as soon as possible.

Downsizing can be very emotional for many reasons, but create a plan for yourself and stick to it. Change is hard for most people but can bring wonderful benefits at the same time so focus on that rather than focusing on the feeling of giving something up.

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