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7 Tips for Making Everything Fit When You’re Downsizing

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Homes that feel spacious and ignite admiration for their intimacy and efficiency are about making the most of the area, emphasizing their style potential, and getting clever with your possessions. Here, interior designer Melissa Penfold shares her top tips for decluttering your space.

1. Be strict with yourself.

The more pieces, possessions, and patterns in a room, the more cluttered it will feel. If you can’t bear to part with your stuff, at least group it so it looks like it belongs together. Avoid pairing busy patterns and loud colors. Be intentional about what goes into the room. Clearing and keeping your home fresh is a form of visual and mental health.

2. Breaking up is hard to do.

Be strong. Wrap your head around the task of throwing away your past before you move. Toss everything you own that compromises your taste. Avoid creating a limbo land of storage boxes; they only encourage you to keep stuff that deserves to be thrown away. You need to deconstruct to reconstruct.

3. Start early.

Downsize your wardrobe, office, kitchen, and living room in stages to work out what items you want to keep without making rushed decisions. People think they can reorganize their entire house in a day. You will get frustrated. Focus on one task at a time. Anything not essential to you doesn’t make the move.

4. Blindness.

People often fail to see what is good and what is bad in their homes; blame sentimentality or sheer force of habit. Ask friends with taste and no agenda to come over to pick out what to discard or keep.

5. Assesses your possessions.

Make executive decisions. Is that bowl something you’ve always secretly detested? Let it find true love with someone else.

Also, be sure to get rid of anything you wouldn’t pay to move: Old towels, unwanted gifts, art you don’t love, “only when” clothing, unused cosmetics, books you’ll never read, old electronics, dead gym gear, DIY projects that will never happen, shoes you don’t wear, old magazines, and perfume that makes you sneeze.

6. Work out what takes up space.

Having a sound design plan is important in all spaces, but especially so when downsizing. Small spaces require careful thought, and every square foot counts. Don’t take things like a bulky ironing board; a hand-held steamer might work better and take up less room.

7. Play up a single idea.

How will pieces work together in your new space? If the goal is a calm setting, then things should be simple and work together in a harmonious way. Everything can’t say, “look at me!”

Don’t try to squeeze too many elements into your space. Go with one theme for harmony and build from there. This doesn’t mean limiting style or drama; the main idea is to use fewer pieces but select the right ones with impact that give character to the room.

This article was originally written by Melissa Penfold. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.

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