How to declutter to downsize

Getting rid of possessions than your new home cant accommodate is an important step when moving. Here are some tips for clearing the clutter in a home when you are downsizing.

As lock-up-and-go properties, modular and estate homes increase in popularity, many people living in large freestanding homes are finding themselves with excess belongings that just don’t fit in with a more compact lifestyle.

If you are moving from a large freestanding house to a townhouse in a complex, you will almost certainly have more possessions than your new home can accommodate. However, deciding what to keep and what to discard can be made less stressful if you approach the task methodically.

This is also a good opportunity to get rid of all the unused items that have been put away ‘in case I may need them’ and which take up so much storage space in most homes.


Clutter is a problem for many people across the world, which has, in the past 20 years, given rise to a brand new career option – that of a professional organiser. Professional organisers have helped countless homemakers clear out their cupboards and garages, creating homes that people love to live in.

One who has become a household name is Marie Kondo, author of the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and host of the popular Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

The focus of her KonMari Method of decluttering is to discard items that lack value and to end up with a home full of items that give you joy.

While tidying, she encourages you to visualise the life you want to live – to be more productive or relaxed, for example – and what you need to get there. Any items that won’t help you achieve your goal doesn’t deserve space in your home.

She suggests tackling the task in the following order:

• Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

• Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each one for serving its purpose.

• Tidy by category, not location. This means dealing with all clothes, then books and so on, rather than each room in the home.

• As you consider each item, ask yourself if it sparks joy. If not, then it goes on the discard pile.

• Follow the right order.

The five categories to tackle are:

• Clothes

• Books

• Papers

• Miscellaneous

• Sentimental Items

To determine which items to keep, Kondo suggests you start by taking everything out of your closets and drawers, all the books off your shelves, all the paperwork out of your desk and bins and so on. Once you have a big pile, you take each item and consider if it sparks joy.

Once you’ve thrown out items in all categories, you should have a much smaller set of remaining items that you can return to their cupboards, shelves, and drawers. And if you are getting ready to relocate, this is the ideal time to pack items into boxes for moving day. Be sure to label them so that you will know what each box contains.

Just do it

It’s tempting to put off the decluttering process until you are ready to move. However, it will be so much easier to move once you know that you already love everything you own. Even if you don’t move, your home will be a much more welcoming space furnished with much-loved items.

So, there is really no better time than right now to start dealing with the clutter.