Do you think longingly of the day you will downsize your home and hit the road? Have you been wandering through RV dealerships or searching for tiny home house plans? If so, you are in the right place.
Perhaps you are helping a parent move into a smaller home. Maybe this all happened very quickly and you are wondering, how do you actually downsize?
When we moved from house #3 into an RV, I was faced with the task of what to do with a four-bedroom house of stuff. What should I keep, what might I need, what should I store – if anything at all? Many days, about thirty minutes into sorting I would feel ambivalent, unable to make any decisions at all. The more I tried to focus, the more I wasn’t sure if any of my decisions were right.
Over my 10 week downsize, which was successful (!), I came up with a system that enabled me to start at the begin and make thoughtful decisions without turning into a mindless zombie mom. For a job this big, you need a plan!
Over the next four weeks I will share four posts: Planning, Big Pieces, Small Pieces, and Packing.
This is the exact plan I used for our move. All you will need for the first step is something to write with and a notebook to write in. A cheap, spiral-bound notebook is great for this, because the pages won’t fall out.
In addition, you will need to think through 2 questions and spend 5-10 minutes in each room of your house making a room inventory. Total time spent on this stage is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You will be amazed at how quick this step is to accomplish.
Ok. So I said there would be two questions.
The first question is, “Who is in charge of deciding what to keep and what to let go?” We need to define the decision team as our first act of planning. Keep this team as small as possible. Trust me. Smaller is better. Include any adults who co-own the items you will downsize.
Are you making this move yourself? If so, the answer is you. If you are married, then both of you will be responsible for deciding what to keep, even if you are the primary packer. If you are working on your parent’s home, think about who will be helping to make the decisions: your Mom, your parents, siblings only, your mom’s sister.
And question two. Who else might you seek input from? In our case, our kids were still young. I was going to make the decisions with my husband, but I also wanted SOME input from my kids. When I got to their rooms and their stuff, I wanted to ask and not just tell. What was important to them?
Decision team: Me and my husband
Input from: Both of my kids
Once you have your answers, you are ready to actually plan. This seems like it might be a hard step, but it is the easiest step! Yay for easy steps!
Turn to the first page and write the name of the room you are standing in right now. Continue writing down each room in your house, one per page. It doesn’t matter how small the room is, unless it is empty, write it down. Each room will have a whole page, front and back.
You will need to know two definitions to begin your room inventory. Big pieces are items that cannot be packed into a standard-size moving box. Big pieces are generally furniture, although they could also include art, musical instruments and rugs, if they are large enough. Small pieces are items that WILL fit into a standard-size moving box. Small pieces include books, clothing, seasonal items, linens, photo albums, and toys.
Turn back to the first room listed in your notebook. Gaze around the room, looking only at the big pieces.
On your paper, write down each big piece on it’s own line. When you have written them down, go to the next room.
Don’t worry if you feel like this is too easy or that you haven’t done anything yet. This is just the start!
Make a “Big Pieces” inventory for each room and then celebrate. You now have a starting point to work from! Congratulations!
Next week we will be assigning homes for the Big Pieces. You can do this! *Virtual high five*