So, you never imagined that your home could be too big… but it has started to feel that way. You are not alone. Americans of all ages and from all walks of life consider downsizing every year. Here are some of the most common reasons to downsize:

  • Maintenance time: new work and personal responsibilities have left you with less free time.
  • Unused space: entire rooms are never used and have become little more than storage areas
  • Monthly expenses: from mortgage to tax and utilities to maintenance, you are paying too much.
  • Extended absences: business or personal travel keeps you and/or your partner away for long stints.
  • Aging concerns: flights of stairs and long passageways are becoming daunting or risky obstacles.
  • The simple life: you have been there, done that, and a huge home isn’t a status symbol anymore

A Systematic Approach

Moving can be a disruptive and stressful affair. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is the sheer volume of things that have to be organized, packed, and moved. The simple counter to it is to move fewer things. There are four ways to deal with your possessions: keep, sell, donate, or store.

The keep pile is usually the most tempting to add to. Before you do, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I use it? Resist the desire to hoard items you haven’t used in the past year; the odds are you won’t miss them.
  • Is it in good condition? Minor imperfections like frayed edges and chipped paint on objects detract from a living space. Why bring the negativity into your new home?
  • Does it need repair? Is it worth the cost of fixing, if it can be fixed at all?
  • Will it fit? Not just in terms of space but also the style and vibe at your new place.

If you answer no to any of these questions, consider selling the item. You are more likely to find buyers and the best prices via classifieds and/or garage sales. The extra cash from selling will subsidize your moving expenses. A second option is to donate; donating to charity is an excellent side-effect of downsizing. The needy will get something they can use and you set in motion the gears of good karma for yourself. If there isn’t enough place in your new home, but you have a sentimental attachment to the item, consider storing it. However, consider the cost carefully before you decide to pay for storage.

Downsizing is a great way to liberate yourself mentally from the desire for material possessions. Moving homes may just be the therapeutic shift you need right now.