If your closet is a chaotic mess, it might be time to try some seasonal downsizing. All it takes is an afternoon or two and the right frame of mind – and perhaps a little caffeine! The following guidelines can help streamline this often important dive into the inner recesses of your closet.
And if they work for you, try applying the same techniques to other parts of your home, plus your garage and/or your shed. Who knows when the joy will end?
Make Room in Your Closet with the Seasons
The key to downsizing is knowing what you need and what you don’t need in your life. That’s true whether you’re downsizing permanently and actually getting rid of things in order to move, or whether you’re temporarily downsizing as the seasons change.
Downsizing for the season has several benefits. For starters, you free up space in your closet when off-season items are stored away elsewhere. Also:
- It’s easier to get dressed in the morning when there are fewer items to choose from.
- It de-clutters your closet, which can lead to psychological benefits (a de-cluttered closet = a de-cluttered mind!).
- If you dry-clean off-season clothing before storing it away, it ensures you maintain a good cleaning schedule.
- Storing away off-season clothing means when you bring them out again, they seem fresh and new (almost like a new wardrobe).
As you go through your closet searching for items to put away until next season, there’s something else to think about: permanent downsizing!
Want to learn how to downsize without losing your mind?
Read these 5 Tips for Staying Sane When Downsizing Your Home for Retirement.
Consider Permanently Retiring Some Things
While rifling through your closet, saving time to give careful consideration to each decision is a great idea if you can manage it. That way, you can sneak in a little bit of permanent downsizing activity while you’re at it. Almost everyone has clothing they should really just throw away rather than merely retire for the season.
This can prove challenging as most people find it very tempting to hang onto old clothes they once loved. Even though you’ll probably never wear that pink fuzzy coat again, it’s hard to say goodbye. But the truth is, if you haven’t worn something in over a year, chances range from slim to nil that you’ll wear it in the coming year and beyond. And you’ve got to find room for all the new garments you love!
For clothing items that come loaded with fond memories – that gold bikini you wore to Miami a dozen years ago – keep in mind that’s all they are: memories. You don’t have to throw away the memories – just the old clothes. If it helps, take a picture. Make a scrapbook.
Treat Your Kitchen Like Your Closet
Just like closets, most kitchens have seasonal items in them, too. Do you bake? If so, aren’t you more likely to bake in the colder months than in the heat of summertime? And likewise, that rack of popsicle molds and the ice cream maker might not see much action from October to May.
On the other hand, in Spring, when it’s time to dig out the picnic supplies and the BBQ skewers, it’s also time to stow things like the onion roasting pan and the soup pot. You don’t have to relegate off-season kitchen items to the basement or the storage shed. Simply moving them to the back of the cupboard or that shelf above the fridge can have a big impact as far as maximizing your kitchen space.
Now for the Garage
If you’ve been successful “seasonalizing” your closet and your kitchen, why not try the garage? It’s the very same principles at work:
- Give yourself time to think over each decision
- Consider permanently downsizing some items that you never use
- Don’t store off-season items too far away since you might need them
The garage is one area of the home that has the most potential for dramatic results when you’re done downsizing. Why? Because if you’re like most families, the garage is where you toss everything you don’t need!
The first two tips outlined above apply more than ever in the garage. Give yourself plenty of time and don’t expect to finish in one afternoon. And don’t just consider getting rid of things. Go in with expectations that you will definitely do just that!
Old sports equipment is one of the biggest space hogs in most homes. Of course, it’s usually tossed into the garage: hanging along the walls, crammed in the back, or loaded onto shelves that never seem to be big enough.
Wouldn’t it be great to have that space back? Even if you only downsize for the season, it can have a wonderful effect. In the summertime, you won’t have to climb over the snow blower to get to your bicycle. You can put it in a shed along with the shovels, the rock salt, and any other items that are winter-only.
Just like weeding out and organizing your closet, downsizing your garage can be mentally beneficial. Scientists at UCLA have told us that it really does cause anxiety when your garage looks like a garbage dump.
And who knows, if you can find your roller blades, maybe you’ll use them more often!
Finally… the Shed?
For anyone who has a yard big enough to hold a shed, you’ll want to apply what you’ve learned here to that shed. The shed is the last bastion of hope for unused items that clutter your home. When we don’t use something we put it in the garage. When we clean out the garage, we toss things into the shed.
But the day of reckoning is here for the shed, too. Go ahead and keep that wheelbarrow if you do lots of yard work. And feel free to store the gardening tools in there, too. But as long as we’re thinking in terms of seasons, this is a good time to ask yourself what your shed is really for.
Is it for gardening tools and summertime lawncare item? Or is it for deep storage so your garage can stay nice and de-cluttered? If the shed is overflowing with both summer and winter items, there’s a problem. It means you’re not using some of those things. Put it this way: if it’s July and the kiddie pool is still draped over the snow blower, it may be time to donate the pool to someone whose kids are still young enough to enjoy it.
Love Your Closet, Love Your Home
We hope this post on seasonal downsizing has given you some good food for thought. The general idea is to make your life better by decluttering your closet, your kitchen, your garage, and even your shed. Now that your home is decluttered and lightened up, you’re going to love being there even more!
Want more articles to help you through the downsizing process? Read these articles by Acts Retirement-Life Communities: