Downsizing: How to Decide What to Get Rid Of

My family is moving across the country and into an apartment that has 250 fewer square feet than our house. This move is forcing us to downsize a bit and re-evaluate what we feel is most important to keep. It’s been an interesting process. I thought I was pretty good at keeping things somewhat minimalist, but now I’m realizing that there’s always room for improvement.

As we’ve gone through our belongings, we’ve had to make some tough decisions. Here’s how we’re deciding what to leave behind:

get rid of stuff

Is It Hard to Replace?

The first thing we are doing is asking whether or not it is hard to replace. Some of our furniture is quite nice, and it would be difficult (and expensive) to replace it. We are taking these items with us. Other items, such as some of our cheap small bookcases and the plastic table I currently use as a “desk” we could easily replace — with nicer things. These items aren’t worth paying for extra space in the moving truck, so they get left behind.

Plus, we know that it will take us a couple of months to save up for what we’d replace, so we figure that this gives us time to decideĀ not to replace some items. We’re better off, in many cases, simply leaving items behind, never to use again.

Has It Been Used Recently?

A lot of small novelty items just got hauled to the local thrift store for a tax-deductible donation because we realized that these items hadn’t been used in years. Take a look at some of your stuff. Have you thought about it or used it in the last year or two?

My husband used this method when going through his closet to get rid of clothes (my wardrobe is already ridiculously minimalist). We also used it for a lot of keepsakes. While there are some items — like those handed down from grandparents — that we will keep even so, there are also a lot of items that we thought had “sentimental value” that really don’t. These are getting left behind as well. Really evaluate the usefulness of certain items and then get rid of the things that really don’t serve a purpose.

Will It Fit?

If you are moving, like we are, you also need to determine if it will fit in your new place. Some of the stuff we’re leaving behind is hard to get rid of because we like and use it. However, practically speaking, it just won’t fit. We will no longer have a family room, so the reclining sofa kept downstairs is completely superfluous. There’s no place to keep it, so we’d rather leave it behind than pay for it to be in storage.

It’s never fun to declutter to the extent that we are — at least while it’s happen. However, the good news is that I actually feel a little lighter now that some of the decisions have been made. I feel good about all of this, and hope that a new start means a new outlook, and fewer things.

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.