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  • Lisa Haynes

5 Ways to Get Started: Decluttering & Downsizing Made Easy

If you are at the stage in life when you are thinking about moving to a smaller home, condo or apartment, the big question is: So, what do I do with all my stuff?

While overwhelming at first, the processes of downsizing and decluttering can be liberating. When you have fewer things, you have less to keep track of, less to clean and more physical and emotional space to live your life. For most of us, though, the hardest part is getting started.

Here are our favorite five tips for getting going:

1. Start with 5 minutes a day. Pick one drawer or other small area to clean out. Gradually add time as you gain momentum.

2. Grab a large trash bag and see how quickly you can fill it with things you could donate. Drop the bag off at your neighborhood charitable donation center.

3. Try the 12-12-12 method. Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to give to a family member or friend. Put the throw away items in the trash immediately. Label bags or boxes for the other two categories and distribute or take to the donation center when they are full.

4. For larger areas, try the four-box method. Label four boxes: trash, give to relative or friend, donate and keep. Don’t skip anything, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take time, but it will help you see how many items you really own and help you decide what stays and what goes.

5. Make a list of the clutter hot spots in your house. Give each space a grade based on the severity of the clutter. Prioritize starting with the easiest. Set a written completion date for each of the spaces.

Whichever method you use, avoid the maybe pile and only handle an item or piece of paper once (the OHIO rule). The less decisive you are, the higher the risk that you will justify keeping it.

Ready – Set – Go. Commit to one small step today. If you need help, A Bridge Forward is a full service move management company. We help seniors and busy families and singles declutter, downsize, pack, move and organize their new home. Check us out at

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