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Downsizing Part 6: D is for Decluttering Strategy

Blog post   •   Dec 01, 2014 12:50 +08

Recently we were on Channel NewsAsia's Real Deal segment to talk about making a smooth transition from a larger home to a smaller one. Downsizing one's home includes  downsizing one's possessions, and that is always one tough cookie. How do we  go through (often decades) of THINGS without incurring a visit to the shrink?

In this series of posts, we touch on questions related to the topic of downsizing homes. While it may not inspire an immediate move to minimalism, hopefully it will encourage us to think about what it is that we truly need to live on.

Recently one of our fans asked if we could  come up with strategies to combat clutter after the move-in.  The truth is, there isn't any. Well, there is, but it's awful painful.  

As mentioned in our previous posts, it's best to deal with clutter  before the move in, instead of  after.  But how?  Good question, Watson. 

After signing the option, or closer to the TOP date, we usually have a clearer idea of when we'll get the keys to the property.  Minus about a week  from the handover date and that's when you should complete the de-cluttering by (at the very latest)..

In general, it takes between 12 to 16  hours for each person to go through his possessions.  If you haven't been through your stuff in the longest time, try doubling that.  

We use the word "person" rather than "room" because the items in a room varies according to its function, whereas  the range of items a person owns fall into quite predictable categories. We'll talk more about the categories at in our next post. 

To keep the momentum up, the decluttering should be done at least once or twice a week.   But whatever the frequency, just make sure you've got enough time to get it done by the property's handover date. 

And to ensure it gets done for real, schedule it into your calendar.  If it's an electronic calendar, put in as many reminders as you think you need (we usually need about two) .  Otherwise, other things have the habit of getting in the way.  And rather than try to do the project in one fell swoop, break it into manageable chunks - usually that's about 4 hours.  As you go along as you get the hang of it, try increasing the frequency and duration so you'll get the decluttering done faster. 

If you have kids at home, involve the kids in this project.  Let them decide what to keep and what goes (with some, ahem, "guidelines" from you, of course).  Since it's the school holidays now, it'll be something fun to occupy them with - better than sending them for *expensive* holiday classes!

So what category of items should you start with and how should you go about deciding which items to keep or to toss?  Stay tuned to the next episode in this series!

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