Published: May 15, 2021
Have you ever heard of the tiny-house movement? Originating in the 1970s, the movement gained popularity after the United States went through the devastating Great Recession. Young adults searched for a new living arrangement that wouldn’t leave them in crippling mortgage debt.
These young folks learned that building their own tiny compact homes helped them flourish financially. Not only were these homes more affordable, but they were also constructed with environmental features in mind. Young adults were able to use a rainwater harvesting system to flush a toilet and solar panels to collect renewable energy from the sun to create electricity.
Today, tiny homes aren’t the only small spaces people can now live in. People of all ages can live comfortably in vans, treehouses, and shipping containers. I’m sure you’re wondering how they’re able to fit all their belongings into these tight spaces. The answer is quite simple - they had to effectively declutter and downsize, only keeping the important items they needed to survive.
Downsizing your space can be a daunting task! Sorting through your belongings, and deciding what you want to keep and throw away can be overwhelming. Well, you’re in luck! We’ve created this guide that lists four important tips you can use while cleaning your space. Bust out your cleaning supplies and turn on your favorite music playlist! Once you’re done reading this, we promise you’ll be in the mood to clean!
Don’t rush the process:
Give yourself three months to downsize your space. During this time, you can sort through everything without feeling the need to make quick decisions about the items you want to keep or purge. You can also tackle one room at a time so you’re able to break this long process into smaller, more manageable projects. This will help you remain calm and prevent you from overwhelming yourself.
Create clear decluttering ground rules:
There are loads of decluttering and organizational rules out there for you to follow, but we highly recommend the simple four-box method. Just grab four big cardboard boxes and label each of them as one of the following - keep, trash, donate, and sell. The four-box method forces you to make thoughtful decisions about all the items you own. For the items simply too big to fit in the designated cardboard box, just use a sticky note to label them with one of the four options.
You can also declutter and downsize your space using the KonMari method. Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo created this unique technique to encourage people to only keep items that are purposeful and meaningful to them, and get rid of anything that no longer “spark joy” within them. Kondo’s method also encourages you to declutter your space by category, not location. She recommends you start with clothing, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, before finishing with sentimental items.
Stop saving for the generations to come:
Some people are known for keeping their belongings so they can pass them down to their children and grandchildren. While this gesture is absolutely sweet and cost-effective, most young adults do not want hand-me-down furniture that’s been sitting in the basement for decades.
So, you’re thinking about buying a new sectional couch for the living room? Just donate or sell the old one. If the old couch is in good condition, someone will gladly take it off your hands!
Eliminate the paperwork:
No, you don’t need to save your tax returns from the 90s. Grab your shredder and get rid of all the paperwork you no longer need. For example, you don’t need your old bank statements since you can now access them online. You can also discard your tax returns after seven years!
However, the confidential documents you’ll need to keep - including your birth certificate, social security card, passport, and insurance policies - should be stored in a secured spot, like a password-protected safe, to ensure your personal information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
Emily Nonko, Curbed, “A tiny house movement timeline.”
Johnna Kaplan, The Spruce, “What is the KonMari method?”