I live in a 780 Sq Ft house with no basement. This fact surprises a lot of people since I sell homes for a living. We were willing to attempt to squeeze into this house so we could live on the water. We really wanted less to maintain so we had more time to enjoy.
We had to downsize to fit into our newly renovated little house. Thankfully I have a good friend who coached us through the process of possession purging (Click here to learn some tips ). It was not easy! I was surprised to find out how much emotion a small glass dish can evoke at the thought of sending it to Goodwill.
Not only did we have to purge our possessions but the Little House came with all of the former owner’s belongings as well!! Obviously it is almost unheard of to purchase a home with all of the existing stuff, but you might end up sorting through someone else’s home at some point (a relative or friend who is unable to sort their own things or who has passed away- see Moving Others).
Here is how I tackled the job:
- Every item had to pass the test to stay
- Was it still useful? And the bigger question- did I still use it?
- Why was I keeping it? Was it really a family heirloom or did I just feel guilty for getting rid of the cribbage board my aunt gave me?
- Can I take a picture of it so I can keep the memory? (but not keep the milk can turned into a floor lamp)
- How much it will it cost to re-buy it at Goodwill for the one time I want to use it in 3 years?
- Could I modify into something else that would be useful in my little house?
- How does it work in my new space?
- The items I got rid of also had to pass a test so I could determine the best way to get rid of them
- How much is it worth?
- Should I sell it on Craigslist?
- Does someone I know need it?
- Dumpster or thrift store?
A big hurdle to get over is the “It might be worth something, I should sell it” dilemma. Here are my thoughts:
- For 98.5% of the items you are getting rid of consider this: You already spent the money on the item when you purchased it so stop thinking about recouping it. Hopefully you enjoyed it, or it served the purpose it was originally intended for. Donate it to a worthy cause so they can make a little money and keep looking forward.
- If you really think it is worth something you could try to sell on Craigslist, Ebay or take to a consignment store.
- You could have a garage sale but consider how much your time is worth and how much you really think you will make-might be more cost effective to take to the thrift store.
Downsizing sounds sexy, but it is a lot of work and there are a lot of decisions to make. For my husband and I it is working to live with less. We watch a lot more sunsets and I have only missed by divided relish tray once!