I’ve had so many comment on how I should post more details about our choice to move from a house in the suburbs to a much smaller apartment in the city. [Here’s the original story on our decision I posted in March]
It wasn’t a decision that was made quickly. We really thought about it and weighed out the pro’s and con’s. The process started last November when we were checking out places to live downtown. We decided on Current at the Banks for several reasons: they allow large dogs, it’s kid-friendly, it’s a new establishment and we’re surrounded by parks.
Once the application process for the Banks was complete, we then started the process of getting our house ready to sell. The list of things that needed to be completed before that “For Sale” sign went up was quite a long one.
Topping the list was to get rid of ‘stuff’ and let me tell you, we had A LOT of it mainly because we had plenty of storage room.
I read several different articles and books on getting organized and de-cluttering and to be honest, I’m a fairly organized person…just with too much stuff. That can happen when you actually stay put in a home for longer than several years. Things accumulate — especially after having a baby.
While all these books had great advice, nothing really jumped out at me as the best way to go about downsizing and de-cluttering so I came up with my own method. I’m sure it’s been used before so I’m definitely not trying to claim it as some revolutionary idea. It’s quite simple though:
Touch everything you own.
Seriously, I mean everything. Every paper in the filing cabinet. Every holiday decoration. Every piece of clothing in the house. Every BEAD and I have a lot of those from being a jewelry designer.
The next step is to have bins lined up that you can put everything into. I generally stuck with a plan of having five:
- Goes Elsewhere, Etc.
- Trash & Shred
This process took me about six months to complete. It was pretty awful but I’m happy to say that I’ve never felt better since living with less. Here are just several pictures of my office from when I started to the end result. But remember, I used this process on the entire house.
Quite the change, right? Remember I had to un-personalize everything as well because we were selling our home so it was a double whammy of de-cluttering and un-personalizing the space.
Let me elaborate on the bins:
The ‘keep’ bin was obviously for things I’d like to keep; but I put it in a bin so once I had everything I wanted to keep in one place, I could neatly organize it all.
The ‘donate’ bin is pretty straight forward as well. If I had something I knew a friend could use, I’d give it to them. If I found a lot of unused books, they went to the Cincinnati Public Library. Clothing went to Salvation Army or St. Vincent De Paul. Baby accessories that weren’t able to be resold went to a place called Healthy Beginnings, which is for women and children in need or women who are pregnant and need assistance.
The ‘sell’ bin was for items I could most likely sell online. Between Facebook groups (there are TONS), local online yard sales, Amazon and Craigslist, there were very few items that I wasn’t able to sell. When I tell people I even sold my trash can the week before moving, they couldn’t believe it. But it’s true! You’d be surprised as to what you can sell online. Not only do you make a little money, but leave less of a carbon footprint and make someones day!
Above are just several of the things I sold online – mostly through Facebook groups and below is how I kept track of everything I sold; which was as simple as having a dedicated folder on my desktop with a file for each item with the pictures, description and price:
My ‘go elsewhere’ bin was for things that could go along with other items somewhere in the house. For example, I took all my sharpie marker collection from my office and added it to the junk drawer in the kitchen – eliminating any duplicates I had.
Lastly, the ‘trash & shred’ bin speaks for itself. I shredded a lot of paperwork from the filing cabinet and if I had things that there was nothing else I could do with, then it went in the trash.
When we moved we literally lost hundreds of square feet. But I was okay with that because honestly, I knew I didn’t need everything I had. It also helped knowing our floor plan of our new place. A walk-in closet would eliminate the need for armoirs. Not having a laundry room allowed me to sell drying racks and extra laundry bins. However, this method of “touching everything” can be used in any circumstance, regardless of if you just want to get one room organized or an entire house.
What do you think? Am I crazy or do you think this method could work for you? I’d love to read your thoughts!
[More to come soon on the rest of the move – it was quite the process this go around]