Tip 1 from an organiser who is preparing to downsize herself …
I will be downsizing sometime in the foreseeable future – it may be a few months or a few years, my exact timeline is not decided as yet.
So as someone who helps others get organised, how do I prepare to downsize:

  • I am starting now by downsizing in my current home –
    • by the time I am ready to move I want my home to have only what I am taking with me or what I can “shed” easily (i.e. donate, sell or toss)
  • I’m doing a little each week, doing an hour here, an hour there
    • Not putting any pressure on myself, it’s just what I can do when I can
  • I started just after Xmas
  • I wanted to repaint my walk-in-wardrobe in preparation for eventually selling my home, one of the few areas that I hadn’t painted since moving to this home around 14 years ago
    • I took everything out & sorted into piles
    • Tops, dresses, jackets, skirts, pants, cardigans, scarves
    • Although I am very organised, I was surprised by a few things I had forgotten I had in my wardrobe
    • I tried to keep to the 80-20 rule – 80% you should be currently wearing
    • I took it another step – 80% are my Functional items, 20% are my Favourites (I just like to keep)
    • I was surprised that some of my clothes that I had held on to from my earlier years, that I could not let go of last time I sorted, I now could let go of
    • Those that I feel I “must keep” for emotional reasons, I purchased some lovely boxes for, labelled them & when I move the boxes are ready to go
    • I made sure there were no other clothes of mine hiding in other wardrobes around my house.
    • My lounge room was a little messy for about 8 days while I repainted the walls in my wardrobe & then let it air for a few days for the paint smell to lessen
    • I had fun putting it all back –
      • some clothes reminded me of wonderful holidays I had been on but I realised the sun dresses would never be worn again & I had other ways to remember those holidays, so I didn’t need to hold on to the dresses
      • I was pleased to donate a lot of good quality clothing, items I still “loved” but knew I would probably no longer wear. I was happy to pass them on to someone else to wear.
    • I then organised my wardrobe the way I get dressed each morning:
      • I have my under garments in drawers to the left of my wardrobe, I then move to the right to my pants, then keep moving around further to the right to my tops, cardigans & jackets. So by the time I get to the end of my wardrobe each morning, I am nearly ready.  Just a quick sit down to put on my boots or shoes, then slap on my makeup, add a little perfume and pick some favourite earrings.
    • I put my lovely handbags on the shelf at the end of my wardrobe so, even if I am not using them often, I can see them every day
    • It seems silly but my wardrobe feels more relaxed – nothing is squashed & I have room & know exactly where to hang items once they are laundered

So when I do decide to make the move, I know my clothes are sorted and everything in my wardrobe I am taking.  I know I don’t have any other clothes hidden in wardrobes around the house.  In the meantime, I keep a purple garbage bag in my wardrobe so that if I decide I no longer need an item, it goes in this bag for donation.  Once it is full I drop it off to a charity.
My next Downsizing post (2) will cover what I did next – the laundry ….

Mary J Harnan BBus, 3a home sorting specialist
Aging Specialist, ICD  |  CD Specialist, ICD  |  Hoarding Specialist, ICD  | Expert Member AAPO | Professional Member NAPO 
Based in Balwyn North, Vic, I have sorted 100’s of homes & helped 100’s of clients. I regularly speak about 3a decluttering, downsizing & my 3F’s for letting stuff go