by Nicholas Humphries on May 15, 2018

We all accumulate ‘stuff’. It can quickly turn into a struggle – and often becomes overwhelming – to figure out how to get organized.

These three decluttering tips that are indispensable when downsizing, particularly with the move that will inevitably ensue.

Tip # 1 – Envision your new space

Think about how you see your new space – likely warm and welcoming but not overcrowded. That’s why it’s critical to get started early and set aside designated time to work on decluttering. Two hour stints usually work well and tackle one space at a time. By concentrating on one area, you will begin to see results and feel a sense of accomplishment. You can accomplish a lot in two hours – you’re not too tired to pick up where you left off during your next two hour stint. Sort through your items to determine what you want to keep, what you want to donate or give to friends and family, and what you want to discard. By doing this work, you are appreciating and valuing your new environment. The result – a new space that is not overcrowded and one where you will be happy.

Tip #2 – Measure and record 

Determine the actual space available in your new environment. There will be finite closet, cupboard, drawer and bookshelf space, so it’s essential that you know just how much space you actually have. For example, if you have six feet of closet rod space in your new home, mark off 6 feet of closet rod space in your current location. Then fill that space with the hanging clothing you are keeping, as you sort your clothing into piles of keep, donate or discard. If your six foot space gets too crowded then you know you need to be more vigilant with your ‘keep’ pile. The same can be done for kitchen cupboards, drawers and bookshelves. Remember to also use the ‘top shelf’ and ‘bottom third of a drawer’ rule.  Most items on the top shelf of a cupboard or on the bottom third of a pile in a drawer are items not often used. Be conscious of this when sorting your items, as they are often the ones to donate or discard. By completing this task, there won’t be any surprises when moving – a place for everything and everything in its place.

Tip #3 – Pack and label 

This tip cannot be overstated. Dressers, side tables and small cabinets can usually be moved with items in them, as long as there are no breakable or heavy items in the cabinet. These cabinets should be shrink wrapped, moved to their new location, shrink wrap removed and voila – you are done. You save a lot of time by not having to pack and unpack. For items that need to be packed in boxes, make a list of your items, by room and then by box, recording on your inventory sheet a description of what is in each box. Then label each box with the room name, the box number and a general description of the box contains. For example, Master Bedroom – Box 1 – dressing table top. On move day, label each room in your new home making it is easy and straightforward for you or your movers to place the correct boxes in the appropriate room. It will make unpacking much easier, particularly if you have completed tip 2 – measure and record, ensuring there is a place for everything and everything in its place.

When you are done moving, your new environment will be organized, not cluttered and everything will be in its rightful home – most important of all, remember to celebrate the small victories along the way.

These tips were kindly put together by our RightSizing service partner and decluttering expert, Ann Christie. Ann can be reached at 416-274-9033 or

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