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Downsizing? Don't let it overwhelm you.

Moving can be bittersweet and moving to a smaller place can add to the challenges. That being said, downsizing is the prefect excuse to finally get rid of all that clutter you've been hanging on to. Take the memories, not the stuff should be your mantra. Here's a few tips to help you hold on to what's important and when to say farewell.

1: How much can you realistically fit in your new home?

Start by taking a tour of your new home and measure the rooms. Will your current furniture fit? Start there. Once you know where the basics will go, you'll know how much room you have for storage pieces like bookshelves and chests. Go room by room, taking notes of closet sizes and square footage. Let this be your guide once you get down to the dirty work.

2: It's time to sort through your stuff.

It's very easy to let sentimentality guide your decisions. But do you need five pairs of the same shoes in different colors? Have you worn that dress in the last year? In the last two years? Five? If not, it's likely you never will again. How about that book? Are you ever going to read it again? Be brutal with your choices and try to remember the memories aren't in the object but in your mind and heart.

Try and base your decisions on a strict yes or no basis. No maybes. Maybes end up coming with you and taking up valuable space.

Once you've decided and the yes pile, it's time to divvy up the no pile. Ask your friends and family if there's any excess furniture pieces or sentimental items they would like and then move on to recycling options like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Goodwill. Anything beyond repair should go directly to the trash. Don't waste your valuable time trying to market something with little chance of selling or the time of donation organizations.

3: Take the memories, not the stuff.

If you have a ton of photo albums, digitize. Photo albums take up a lot of room and ask yourself when the last time you actually cracked on open was. Create a digital slideshow and you can watch on your TV, computer, or even an affordable digital frame to beautify your new home.

Take pictures of the things you love but can't keep and try to pass them on to good hands who will value them as much as you did.

Downsizing can become an unexpectedly emotional time. Items you haven't seen in years will bring up memories, both good and bad, and you'll have to decide what to do with them. Take the time to say goodbye and bring only what is truly valuable to you. You might just find that once the process is done and you're into your new, smaller home, the weight of all that clutter has been lifted off your shoulders and smaller does indeed mean homier.

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