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5 Useful Tips for Downsizing and Decluttering Your Home

Jethro Seymour

My sales career started in 1994 with publishing and media sales...

My sales career started in 1994 with publishing and media sales...

Feb 27 5 minutes read

Do you need to get rid of all 

the unnecessary stuff you've accumulated over the years?

People downsize and declutter their homes for many different reasons. In some cases, they’ve moved from a larger home to a smaller one and need to purge all their nonessential belongings. At other times, the years-long accumulation of household items leads to fire hazards and other safety issues, or just becomes too unsightly to tolerate.

Regardless of your reasons, here are five pro tips for downsizing and decluttering your home, curated from insightful experts.


1. Needs vs. wants

The essential first step is to train your mind to accurately spot the difference between something you “need” and something you “want.” Successful downsizing projects focus solely on preserving absolute essentials while sacrificing everything else. One good way to get started is to sort all your belongings into categories like appliances, electronics, books, clothes and shoes, and accessories. This will give you a big-picture view and help you make some immediate decisions about what can stay and what can go.


2. Remember the “one year rule”

Of course, in reality, telling the difference between a “need” and a “want” isn’t always easy. That’s why downsizing experts invented the so-called “one year rule.” It’s a simple principle: if you come across something you’re fond of but you haven’t used it in at least a year, it can go. If you’ve gone a whole year without it, is it something you really need?


3. Think big

Another useful strategy is to evaluate your largest, most space-consuming items first. By getting rid of your biggest, clunkiest things right off the bat, you might be able to avoid agonizing decisions about other things you’d like to keep. This is another reason why you should sort everything into categories at the outset: you can simply look for the largest items in each category and pitch the things you haven’t used in at least a year.

For instance, you might quickly discover that you don’t really need all three of your clothing chests, or five bookcases that each have empty shelves. Pitching large items first will quickly free up a lot of space, making the whole project easier.


4. Go digital

Another excellent way to bust clutter is to digitize as much of your legacy media materials as possible. Of course, you’ll never get rid of those old family photo albums, but perhaps you can store the physical version somewhere out of the way while still keeping the pictures on hand for easy enjoyment. Scanners work wonders, as do online movie, music, and video storage libraries.


5. Find new homes for keepsake items

You’ll inevitably find items that you just can’t bring yourself to part with, even though they aren’t technically necessary. For instance, favourite childhood toys and stuffed animals can take up much-needed space, but chances are there’s someone in your immediate circle who could give them a loving new home.

If it’s really important to keep something special close to your heart, try donating it to a family member who understands its history. That way, you’ll still get to enjoy the treasured item from time to time without having it occupy essential space you just don’t have anymore.

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Jethro Seymour, one of the Top Toronto Real Estate agents, is a midtown Toronto residential specialist with over 20 years of sales experience in real estate, marketing, construction and publishing. He has helped many families, friends and investors find homes in Toronto’s great neighbourhoods and has extensive knowledge of local markets, new home construction,  resale home sales, and the condo market. Living in midtown Toronto, Jethro previews many of the homes that come to market for his clients and inventory knowledge. Jethro specializes in midtown, Davisville Village and Leaside neighbourhoods. For more information, call Jethro Seymour, Broker.

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