How to Evaluate Your Living Space Before You DownsizeAugust 09, 2021 - Updated March 28, 2023
There may come a time in your life when you wonder ‘what exactly do I value?’ Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Many people describe pondering that age-old question at some point. Interestingly, the answer can often be found within the walls of your home. It’s never too soon to learn what’s inside your home that’s important to you or to determine which of your things you place the most value in. Use these tips and tricks from Simple Life to get started.
- Start before you move
You’ve already made significant choices in your life – perhaps getting married, going to grad school, or having a child. These choices have likely had a big impact on your life, your space, and how you live day-to-day. After years of accumulating living habits, the way you organize your space can become automatic, with no thought given at all. Because of this sometimes it is best to take a giant step back and evaluate from zero. Meaning, you attempt to set aside your living habits and routines and look at your living space with fresh eyes. Guess what? There is no better time to do this than before a downsize. Knowing that you are recreating your life in a smaller space can be exciting motivation for evaluation from zero. It will be easier to do this before you move than after you’ve already settled in your new space.
2: Remove everything from one room
This is harder than it seems but totally worth it. Once you have emptied out one entire room in your house, you may realize the room has more space than you thought and that you’ve filled that space with stuff instead of with laughter and friends. Consider taking this time to try the “Trash, Treasure, or Transfer” exercise, in which you put every item into 1 of 3 piles. You either want to trash/recycle it, you treasure it, or you want to donate it/give it away. Don’t stop short. Go through the entire room and all its contents.
3: Only keep things that are useful or meaningful
This seems easy but can be a challenge if you own objects and things that hold sentimental value. You should feel good about keeping anything that is meaningful, but it can be difficult to determine if something is or isn’t. Sometimes an easy way to start is to rid yourself of duplicates. Do you need the big head caricature of yourself that you got at the state fair and the photo of your family from the state fair? Chances are you are indifferent to the caricature and really can’t figure out how much meaning it brings to your life, but the photo makes you smile and brings real joy to your day.
3: Leave no pile behind
Get every single item off the floor of your home and only allow furniture legs to stay. Chances are perpetual floor items are a good place to start with your trash or giveaway piles. It also makes it easier to see what your next steps will be. Old magazine issues, a pile of dog toys, unread mail, your Bette Midler CD collection, a sock that’s been missing its mate for years, most of these things can probably go.
4: A place for everything and everything in its place
Do you move items from room to room during the day? Try a room reset before the day is over. Getting specific about where things are located can help you evaluate if those things are making life more enjoyable.
If you begin to evaluate your living space before you downsize it’s quite possible that your ingrained living habits will start to change before you move. You may find it gets easier to view your things and your space through the lens of what is serving you and what you can let go. You may also start to feel more comfortable hanging on to only a few things that hold immense value, instead of lots of things that hold little value. With fewer things to look after you can focus on filling your days with experiences and relationships that add value to your time as well as to your space.