Sign-up for our e-newsletter
and be entered into our monthly drawing to win a $25 gift certificate.
Join our mailing list!

Proud Member of

You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Downsizing > Downsize the Right Way
Downsizing the Right Way
by Jaime Vanderlaan, Professional Organizer, Dutch Girl Organizing

When you think of downsizing, do you think it only has to be done when you are old and retired or moving to a smaller space? Many people associate downsizing with their eighty year old grandmother or parents that are retiring.

Here are some things to think about:  
  • Is your home over run with things such as furniture, knickknacks and miscellaneous items you do not use?
  • Do you worry about theft?
  • Do you worry about where to store your items or how you will ever keep up with the task of cleaning them?
  • How much stress are you adding to your life by keeping all your possessions?
The process of downsizing is pretty much the same as getting organized. The first thing you will need to do is dedicate time.  Sometimes that requires that you make the time because downsizing may at first not be all that appealing. The second step might mean you pick a room to start, such as the kitchen or garage. The next thing to do is to gather/purchase supplies that will help you donate, store or giveaway your designated items. It is important to also establish a space in which to go through your stuff and where you can store you supplies. Sorting like items together might be the next step which involves finding items you no longer use and deciding which ones to purge. Grouping like items such as colorful paper, toothpaste, shoes and bed linens will help you know what you have and what you can throw away or keep.  If you are moving to a smaller space then it is important to keep in mind what that space will accommodate. It might be different in terms of storage, counter space and closet space.

The process of downsizing may bring up emotions and fears you did not know you had when it comes to parting with your items. In order to work through this process you might also ask yourself the following questions:
  • Am I afraid to let go of these items and if so why?
  • Do I keep, “what if” items, I think I might need at some point just in case?  
  • What do the items represent?
  • How do the items/treasures impact my family and current living space?  
Believe it or not, downsizing can include shopping and installation of items/ furniture that make your space more functional and efficient. For example, now that you know what you are keeping in your utensil drawer you now know what kind of drawer organizer to get to organize the drawer. In your closet you may need hangers because you now know how many clothes you have.

Downsizing can be fun and rewarding. Who knows, you might find things you lost a long time ago or find different ways of using what you already have.  Either way, downsizing is a smart idea at any point in your life.

Jaime Vanderlaan is a professional organizer. She owns a company called Dutch Girl Organizing in Leesburg, Virginia. Jaime has been in business since 2007. Jaime has a passion for organizing and loves working one on one with clients in their homes or businesses. She also likes to motivate people to get organized through speaking engagements, seminars and writing.  You can find her website at