By Lisa Peten.

You are now the owner of a stylish, new abode at 41 West. Your move-in date is fast approaching and all you want to do is reside in that serene oasis. Unfortunately, there is that dreaded chore before you do… DOWNSIZING! Downsizing dilemmas are time-consuming but can be made less daunting. Follow these S.I.M.P.L.E. tasks to downsize and welcome you refreshingly clutter-free life!

Suspend Storage Containers. Before packing that first box, identify bins, baskets, boxes and drawers that specifically store things. Exclude containers used for organizing such as jewelry boxes, toy storage or cutlery trays. Instead, focus on the stackable tubs and clear bins used for things you may use someday but that day never arrived. Aim to empty 50% of storage bins then donate the excess items and bins to charity. The success of this first step will save on packing materials and the muscle power needed to get the packing complete.

Involve Individuals. The old cliché “no man is an island” applies perfectly well during your downsizing pursuits. Coordinate a swap meet with friends (remember to give and not receive). Invite your neighbors to participate in a community yard sale. Gather your little ones to help decide which toys to keep with an agreement that once their toy bin is full, the others are donated. Solicit your spouse to inventory their most frequently used home areas to cite items to reduce, reuse and recycle. When you involve everyone, the task of downsizing moves more towards sharing and less towards the saving of things.

Make Use of Multi-Purpose Furniture. Do not think that your old furniture will not fit in your new space until you measure. While the reduced square footage may prove to be true for your existing dining and living room furniture, tables, shelving units, cabinets and bookcases may serve multiple purposes. The cart that held your spices may now fit nicely in your bathroom for toiletries. Evaluating your furniture for multi-purpose functions is a money-saving endeavor.

Purge Paraphernalia. In the American reality television series Hoarders, a psychologist and clean-up crew assist hoarders to clean up their act to live with fewer items. Watching one episode will prompt you to find a home, outside of yours, for unused paraphernalia and dusty knick-knacks long forgotten. By all means, keep the sentimental objects, but practice a “less stuff, less fuss” mentality.

Love it or Lose it. Use a “love it or lose it” mentality to sort through clothing and accessories. Create piles to discard, donate and disown – and do just that. You will be amazed how nice the remaining items hang, fold and get placed in your new home, without additional storage.

Eliminate Excessive Kitchen Items. Having fewer kitchen items will require less packing. Pare down to one set of good quality measuring spoons and cups, one pot for coffee and tea, one set of dishes and silverware. Do you really need that microwave and toaster oven, or can the stove and oven do? You get the drift. In addition, save only a few plastic containers. Avoid unnecessary items and strive to utilize dual-purpose appliances and gadgets.

You will downsize in less time and save money with the S.I.M.P.L.E. method. Happy Living!