We live in a small home, and there are three of us (my husband, our 16 month old little boy) and our dog.
When we made the move from 1800 sq ft of space to 650 sq ft, we realized very quickly that we needed to pare down. STAT. Daunting... yes. Impossible... no. Compartmentalizing is key in these instances.
But, clearing clutter (literally) can help you be less overwhelmed and happier. Plus, there's less to clean up and worry about, meaning you free up more time to do what you really want to do.
1. Don't mix alcohol with The Purge. Trust me, I love a good glass of wine, especially during stressful moments. Decluttering and moving are stressful events. I HATE packing, but this is no the time to be drunk. Stay strong and get through the paring down process without the vino! You'll get sentimental, lazy, and - dare I say, weepy? You can always celebrate a job well done afterward.
2. Take your time. I'm not the type of person who does or will ever feel good about just tossing a bunch of things all in one go. It gives me anxiety. I took the approach of instead, purging some things and then waiting a few months after we moved in to have another dedicated Declutter Day. A few months after that, repeat. I need to do things in small phases. It helps to avoid a major freak out.
3. Admit your weaknesses. I have major love affairs with books; in fact, buying books from Goodwill or thrift shops is one of my majorly favorite forms of therapy. When I read a book, a really good one, I'm stuck drifting through the storyline for days. I imagine all of the events happening to me. There is nothing like the smell of an old book, the feel of the crinkled pages, the sight of someone else's name etched into the inside cover. Who owned this copy of Summerland or Tales Told in Holland or The Dovekeepers? (By the way, The Dovekeepers will make you cry your face off.) How many times did they read them? What were their favorite parts? Or did they hate them? Books are one of those items that I unabashedly bring into my home and don't get rid of. Ever. Which brings me to my next point...
My dream library!!
4. Find ways to creatively display the things you love. Living in a small house can give you urges to fold into a super clean, modern feel. Easy to clean up. Easy to organize. Easy to live in... But, if there is nothing left of you in your home, then is it worth living there? I don't feel right without some personalization, which is why we have several shelves of books creatively displayed. It has to be done. These characters, after all, have been a part of me, and I of them, at some point. And, when we host AirBnb guests, I like thinking that they can snuggle up with a book when they return from their outings at night. There are plenty of choices for them here. One woman even asked if she could take a book with her that she'd started and would send it back as soon as she was done reading it. I obliged!
All I'm saying is, personalize your space. Use colors you love. Momentos that mean a lot to you. Display your photos, ticket stubs, whatever! Your home is not really your home without you in it.
5. Reuse, recycle, donate, sell... and feel good about it! I don't know about you, but I feel better knowing that those cerulean suede peep-toe heels I bought and wore just once five years ago (seriously, back when I lived in Chicago) are now on someone's lovely feet, living a better life somewhere. They're strolling around downtown Denver, I'm sure, getting way more use than I got out of them. And a lovely lady (...or lad - no judgement here!) is getting proper use out of them, for free. There are plenty of people who are happy to buy gently used items and plenty of services will donate your belongings to those in need. See? Don't you feel better about getting rid of those things you were holding on to for so long?
6. Bring in the big guns... AKA your husband/pragmatic friend/mom/dog. When you feel like you literally can't get rid of anything, this person will ask you the hard questions. Yes, you'll hate them briefly, but they'll help you get started with the purge, at the very least.
What tips do you have for paring down your belongings to live in a small space?