Are you moving out of your parents’ into a new BTO soon? Or just preparing to live independently in a rental? Whichever it is, it’s most likely you are downsizing. With the housing in Singapore getting smaller, we’re being left with less space to work with when moving out. Our insights on decluttering for downsizing will help you get a headstart on making your new house a home.
Decluttering for downsizing
Unless you’re a minimalist marvel, it’s likely that downsizing will demand some major decluttering. Though it can be challenging to part with your belongings, it’s even harder to live in a house full of stuff. Embrace moving into your BTO as a chance to editorialise your living space. Most importantly, declutter before you move. It’s far easier to sort through your things when you have time and space on your side. Read on for a step-by-step guide to decluttering.
Steps for decluttering
When you’re dealing with a lifetime’s worth of stuff, decluttering can be overwhelming. These steps will help you get started.
- List the items you’ll need in your new home
With this list in hand, you can tick off items as you come across them, helping you assess what to keep. Consider how you want to use your new space and what vibe you want to create; let this guide your list-making.
2. Measure your new home
It’s useless moving your king-size bed to your new flat if it won’t fit in the bedroom. Take measurements of your new living space and create a floor plan so you can determine which items will fit.
3. Go through all your belongings methodically
Start decluttering your room in segments, separating items into categorised boxes, including clothes, electronics, books, kitchenware, etc. This will help you identify duplicate, broken or unwanted items. These should be placed in boxes labeled ‘sell,’ ‘donate’ and ‘recycle.’ As well as testing electronics as you go, you should measure larger items to assess whether they’ll fit in your new home – use your floorplan to determine where each thing will go, and give priority to versatile, space-saving items such as fold up tables. To avoid getting stuck on items you’re unsure on, create a ‘maybe’ box as well, which you can go back to later.
4. Sell, donate or recycle unwanted items
Once you’ve determined which items you’re letting go of, you can sell valuables to stores like Cash Converters or list them online on Facebook Marketplace or Carousell. Anything else that’s still wearable or in working order can be donated to charity, while broken or unusable items should be recycled or thrown away.
For more tips, check out our 10 DIY storage ideas for decluttering on a budget.
Top things to declutter for downsizing
Strict adherence to Marie Kondo’s “Does this spark joy?” approach to decluttering can leave you bereft of essentials like screwdrivers and your rice cooker. Before you get too ruthless, take a look at these prime contenders for decluttering.
- Duplicates: Sometimes two isn’t better than one. If you have unnecessary doubles of items, such as kettles or books, get rid of them!
- Broken items: Are you clinging onto an old laptop that no longer works or a pile of mobile phones dating back to your childhood? You’ll never revive them, so it’s time to sell or recycle.
- Expired products: Food, cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning products and medications all have a shelf life. If you find a gunky moisturiser at the back of your bathroom cabinet, let it go.
- Unusable or unused items: From clothes that no longer fit your size or style to a couch that’s longer than your new living room, don’t cling to items that no longer serve you. The same goes for that exercise bike you never use and the violin you gave up when you were eight. Stained, ripped or shrunken clothing can often be donated to charity as rags.
- Junk: Odd socks, random cables, spent pens – there’s no shame in having a junk drawer, but this is your chance to purge. Trust us, it’s a satisfying experience.
- Books: Books are bulky, so before you lug them to your BTO, consider whether you are likely to read or reference them again. If the answer is no, get rid.
- Paperwork: It often feels easier to file that bank statement rather than opening it. If that’s been your sentiment for the past 10 years, it’s time to get the shredder out.
- “Sentimental" items: While it’s important to allow yourself a box for selected sentimental belongings, clinging onto that soft toy you have no memory of or your classmates’ cards from your ninth birthday isn’t serving you. Be ruthless. If you’re struggling, take pictures on your phone before you throw photos or letters out.
When decluttering, it helps to remember that you’ll have to pay to transport everything you keep, and then unpack and store it at the other end – so be selective.
Still struggling with decluttering?
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