Expert advice: how to up your downsizing game

Wisdom from an organizer extraordinaire

Whether you’re trying to enlist your inner Marie Kondo before moving into a condo or simply feeling that “the walls are closing in” vibe in your home, getting rid of shit feels good. Colette Robicheau has a lot of experience in this department. A consultant, coach and professional organizer, she’s well-versed in helping folks pack, move, declutter and downsize. To put it simply, she says “the less you have, it just makes your life easier.” Here’s how to put that sentiment into action.

Do a lifestyle audit
Take a look around and then take into account what your life looks like. “Whether you’re 30 years old and you’ve got all this stuff and you’re going to be sharing a space, or moving in with a partner, or I have seniors downsizing to a condo, you want to audit your lifestyle and say ‘What activities do I actually do?’ because we want our stuff to back up the activities we do now and in the near future,” says Robicheau. Not hosting dinner parties much anymore? Maybe its time to ditch that massive dining room table. “If you gave up skiing 10 years ago and are downsizing, this is not the time to be hopeful.”

Keep things that are multi-purpose
“You don’t buy the gym membership and become fit, you don’t buy the cooking stuff and become a chef,” says Robicheau of your melon ballers and lemon zesters. Get rid of things that you aren’t using regularly and can’t be used for more than one thing. And we’re not just talking kitchen utensils: Practice intentional shopping for your living room (get the ottoman with storage instead of the coffee table) and your closet. “You want to look for the basics and you want to think multi-purpose, you don’t need the hot-dog maker.”

Say no to the storage unit
Most people who have stuff in storage are not actually swapping out seasonally, so don’t pack up with the intention of having external storage to fall back on. “Try to do as much of it as you can upfront, and then when you get there be brutal again,” says Robicheau. For the most hard-to-part-with items, she suggests sending an email to friends and family offering them up. “If someone comes into your apartment when you’re downsizing and says they like something, it’s like,“Get a bag!”

Have things in your home that you love
“If you find you’re saying you should keep it, that’s not you saying ‘I love that, I want that with me,’” says Robicheau. Maybe it’s that expensive sweater you thought you’d wear but never did. Or that gift from your grandmother. “What I’ve learned is that it just bogs you down. Have what you love.” ­

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