We’re downsizing, in a big way. Going from a sprawling suburban apartment (okay, it’s 820 square feet) to cramped (but charming) place in the city means we’ve had to downsize. In order for our new space to not look cluttered, we need less furniture and less stuff. So we got rid of about half of it. Here’s how we did it:
1. THE CLOTHES HAD TO GO.
I made strict guidelines and went through my closet at warp speed. Split second decisions only. I had to go with my gut. Here are the questions I asked myself:
- Have I worn it in the last 6 months? This doesn’t apply to seasonal items but if the whole summer went by and I never wore that sundress, it’s out. I’ve heard that others use this rule and it seemed solid.
- Does it actually fit? Or am I just hoping that someday it will? I’m looking at you, size 1 jeans. If I can’t wear it TODAY, to Goodwill it goes!
- Does it have a hole in it? Somehow this was the hardest. It’s embarrassing how many items I have that I adored but have tiny holes in them (thanks to Archie carrying them around in his mouth).
- Am I just keeping this because it’s a brand name? I had many items that I never wore and didn’t really love but justified keeping around because “but it’s Banana Republic” or “but it’s J.Crew”. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you don’t wear it, it goes.
Items that were in style and in good shape, I sold at a consignment store. Everything else went to Goodwill.
2. WE BOOTED HALF THE FURNITURE.
My boyfriend (N) and I sat in our living room one day and made a list of all the furniture that is not coming with us. We’ve accumulated a lot of furniture over the years, as I love Goodwill and frequently find items that I love but have no use for (and then buy anyways). These are the questions we asked ourselves about every piece of furniture in our home:
- Is it structurally sound? Our Ikea bookshelf is wobbly like whoa. It isn’t joining us in Philly.
- Do we use it regularly? The desk, vanity, antique table, and dining room table all don’t get much use.
- Do we have room? We need and like two dressers but two dressers will not fit in our new apartment. The newer dresser is coming with us, N’s dresser is going back to Goodwill where it came from. Plus we’ve gotten rid of half of our clothes so hopefully we can make this work.
- Is it just plain ugly? Our coffee table is so far past needing to be refinished, it isn’t even worth it. Speaking of ugly, I don’t care how ugly our recliner is, it’s coming with us.
All furniture that isn’t coming is going on Craigslist, to Goodwill, or in the trash.
3. IF WE HAVEN’T SEEN IT IN A YEAR, WE DON’T NEED IT AND WON’T MISS IT.
The desk drawer was full of stuff but and had not been opened in a year. The extra products (that I never use) under the bathroom sink were out of control. The extra linens (i.e. old sheets and dog towels) we had were exploding out of our hall closet. I couldn’t possibly tell you what was in my nightstand, but it was completely full. And there was an entire closet that was just “miscellaneous”.
We had to be ruthless. What I kept in mind was this – If N threw it away when I was out of the house, would I even notice? In most cases, the answer was no. There is just no reason to move a hand cream that you hate the scent of, the duvet cover you’ll never put back on your bed, or your scientific calculator from 10th grade. You don’t even remember what sine or cosine are. Make peace with that.
4. NO EXTRAS ALLOWED.
Does anyone else have an absurd amount of tupperware? We’ve got way too much tupperware, thanks to restaurants now using it as to-go boxes. It’s not coming with us.
No duplicates of anything. No keeping extras of things just because.
5. OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY IS NOT INVITED.
N announced recently that our DVD player isn’t coming with us. What?! He claims we never watch DVD’s which is true except that every time he’s gone for the weekend, I watch at least two Harry Potter movies. All on DVD. So sure, we don’t use the DVD player but I do. He still insists that he doesn’t think we need it or my DVD collection. I’ve agreed to this deal IF he buys me all the Harry Potter movies on Google Play or iTunes.
And if you’re a fellow Harry Potter lover, make sure you check out this post.
6. CUT THE COSMETICS.
Since we are ditching both my vanity and a small antique table that previously housed my hair and makeup products, I now had to figure out where they were going to go. Turns out, I’m a hoarder of almost finished lipsticks and old tubes of mascara. I asked myself these questions and got rid of over half of my cosmetics and nearly all of my hair products:
- Is it super super old? If I couldn’t remember when I bought it or when I used it last, I tossed it.
- Did it just never work for me? There’s just no reason to keep a $5 lipstick that I hated from the moment I put it on for the first time. If that hairspray just never held your curls, ditch it. If the foundation was always kind of the wrong color, throw it out.
- Is it almost empty? I’m totally that girl who kept a lipstick because there was maybe a wear or two left. But come on, we all know that by then I’ve already bought another lipstick to replace it. If it’s empty or even close to empty, throw it away.
7. LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT.
We found that as we really looked at our apartment piece by piece, there were a lot of things that we actually didn’t like. There were lots of mentions of things like “why do we even have this?” or “is this yours?” (said in a judgy tone). Turns out, our home decor style was really just a hodge podge of what we found in my parent’s basement and at Goodwill. We’re upping our game for our new place.
So that’s how we got rid of nearly half of our stuff. It feels good to get rid of the clutter. Do you have any other suggestions to help us downsize before our move? I’d love to hear how you got rid of the clutter in your life!
HI, I’M NADINE.
I left California after college to start my life on the east coast. East & is what happened after that.