A new house, job or baby — these and other turning points offer a chance to discard stuff you don’t need or love
Having kids, buying a first house, making a long-distance move, changing careers, becoming an empty nester — major life pivots may not be easy to navigate, but these transitional moments can be great opportunities to make big changes in your home. Read on for tips on using whatever twists and turns life has in store to create more space in your home and life.
1. New house
Moving into a new house can be a wonderful opportunity to sort through your belongings and let go of the items that you no longer love or need.
The challenge: Moving is stressful. If you are fatigued and overwhelmed, it’s easy to give up on big decluttering plans and just throw everything in boxes instead.
- Make your commitment to declutter widely known and get everyone in the household on board if possible. The more support you have, the better!
- Take time to visualize what you want your new home to look and feel like, and keep this vision firmly in mind as you make decisions about what to keep and what to toss.
- Start the decluttering process as early as possible before your move, keeping track of what still needs to be done with a master checklist.
- And remember, the less you have to move, the easier moving will be.
2. Long-distance move
Even more so than with moving into a new house in the same town, making a long-distance move is a natural opportunity to really clear out your home’s clutter from top to bottom.
The challenge: Take it from someone who’s been there — moving long distance is incredibly challenging. There are new jobs and schools to set up, car sales (and purchases) to handle and a thousand other little details. It’s easy to get swamped.
- See your big move as a fresh start, and give yourself full permission to let go of anything in your home you do not love or need to use.
- If you don’t love a big piece of furniture you currently have, a big move can be the perfect time to get rid of it. You’ll save money on moving van space, and you can choose something you love for the new space.
- Match up electronic devices with cords and chargers, and label everything. If you end up with pieces that don’t go with anything, don’t move them across the country — get rid of them!
3. Growing family
Whether you are expecting your first baby or adopting your fifth, adding another human being to the household is a major turning point in any family. Use the time before the little one arrives to clear extra space in your home, and everything will run more smoothly.
The challenge: When a baby is on the way, there never seems to be an end to the to-do list — and if you have older kids, the chaos and time crunch may feel harder to manage.
- Make a doable schedule for clutter clearing in small chunks (10- to 20-minute sessions), then stick with it.
- Refocus your priorities as a family by working together to create a family mission statement or purpose statement, and use that to guide your clutter-clearing decisions.
- Start by clearing your own bedroom — a peaceful, clutter-free space to rest should be the No. 1 priority.
4. Change in relationship status
Whether you are newly cohabiting, getting married or “uncoupling,” a major change in your relationship status is bound to have an effect on your home.
The challenge: Navigating delicate compromises with a partner can be tricky, causing some of us (ahem) to want to stubbornly hold on to things we may not need or even want, just for the sake of winning an argument. In the case of ending a relationship, the challenge is to find your personal silver lining (independence, recommitment to your passions and dreams) rather than focusing on what you have lost.
Be really honest with yourself about what you want and need in your home and life. Challenge yourself to let go of things that don’t mesh with who you are today.
If you’re moving in with your significant other, when you encounter multiples of the same thing (toasters, spatulas), choose the best one. The same goes for less-obvious items as well (how many sets of sheets and towels do you really need?).
5. Career pivot
Shifting from one career path to another can have all sorts of implications on your home and stuff, such as the contents of your wardrobe and the setup of your home workspace.
The challenge: Holding on to our past, whether in the form of corporate work clothes or hefty grad school books, can be tempting because it feels comfortable.
- Spend time getting clear on what your vision and goals are for your work life in the next few years. What are you still holding on to that doesn’t mesh with that vision?
- If you’re letting go of work clothes in good condition, look into selling these items to recoup some of the cost, or donate them to a charity like Dress for Success.
- Don’t forget to check your bookshelves, closets and filing cabinets for old work-related binders, papers and books that you no longer need.
Moving from a larger space into a home with fewer square feet can save money and time, and it can allow you to take advantage of a lifestyle you wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford in a bigger place.
The challenge: If downsizing is something you didn’t want to do, it’s natural to harbor some negative feelings. And even if you did want to downsize, there’s nothing easy about letting go of a significant portion of your stuff.
- Choose to see this as an opportunity to get clear on what you really want to keep in your home and life.
- Be realistic and measure the new space well. You may need to let go of more stuff than you initially thought.
- Know that you don’t have to do it all yourself: If you’re getting overwhelmed, consider hiring an estate sale company to help you get organized and handle selling your stuff.
7. Empty nest
For parents, having the last child leave the house signals a major lifestyle shift. No longer does your daily life revolve around soccer schedules and teen drama, and it’s natural to want to make changes around the house to reflect that.
The challenge: After what may have been decades of parenting children, you’re finally on your own again — and that can be bittersweet. You may find yourself missing the bustle of a busy household and wondering what it is exactly you want from this new phase in life.
Make some wish lists — of things you’ve always wanted to do, places you want to go and changes you would like to make in your home. Let yourself dream.
If you’re thinking of downsizing in the future, start early by simplifying and decluttering your home now.
Choose one room that you really want to make your own, and let yourself have free rein. Fancy wallpaper and a salon-style art wall? Zen meditation room? Why not?
8. Life priority shift
Sometimes when big things happen in our life, whether it’s a major illness or loss or a life-changing world travel experience, we can suddenly realize that it’s time for a change, whether it’s in our career or our living space.
The challenge: When you’re craving a major shift in your life, it can be tempting to see it as an all-or-nothing proposition and to get discouraged when putting your ideas into practice isn’t as easy (or as immediate) as you hoped.
Take a moment to catch your breath (and do some planning) before making any big decisions.
Start by decluttering your living space. As you make decisions about what to keep and what to toss, you may gain clarity about what you really want in life.
Brainstorm a list of 50 little things you can do right now to enjoy your life more.
If the option no.1 looks appealing, then we can help you. Jeff Barchi real estate agent Arizona team is here for you. Let us find your that special abode you are looking for.