How to Pack Backward for Downsizing Success

Moving can be overwhelming, and preparing to move into a smaller home can make it even more stressful. The way you approach a big project like this can make all the difference in relieving that stress. Packing backward may be a tool to help you!

Putting off the decision-making process about the things you need and want to keep until you arrive at the new, smaller location will have you swimming in a sea of belongings you neither want, need, or have room to store.

You want to begin your new life with a fresh start, full of all the things you love best and none of the hassles, right? As you start your new life, packing backward may help make the whole process easier.

Don’t attack the whole category

If you go through one category of items at a time (such as kitchen items or all the clothes you own), you may experience decision fatigue before getting through a single category. Having a bird’s eye overview of each category will help you to prioritize and retain what matters most.

Prioritize Your Packing

Pack your favorite items first. Doing so will leave you with other items you may not usually use while you are packing… and may help you realize why your favorites ARE your favorite. This, in turn, will make it easier to let go of those items before the move!

Perfectly Good Doesn’t Mean Pack It

When we downsize, there are so many really nice or perfectly good things that don’t need to follow us to our new home. Those are descriptions we use for the things we don’t love, seldom use, or feel the need to justify owning. The things we love are called by a different name: favorite.

Recognizing the words we use to describe our possessions can help us figure out what we really enjoy and determine if they should be packed or removed from our belongings.

Your Closet

Rather than packing up your whole closet or sorting through and making a decision about every piece you own, simply select your favorites first. Pack, label, and set these boxes aside.

Most of us have a few items of clothing we love (experts say it’s 20% of what we own). According to those same experts, these are the items we wear most of the time. The other 80% of the items in our closets and drawers only get worn 20% of the time.

Given this 80/20 rule, doesn’t it make sense to pull out the clothes you really love first? These are the clothes that are comfortable, flattering, and that you reach for most often. They are your favorites for a reason.

Your Kitchen

Approach your kitchen goods the same way. Pack the dishes you love and use every day. You may not need a 12-place setting anymore, so just pack what you actually use. Just because it matches doesn’t mean you’re obligated to keep it.

Do you have a few cooking utensils you reach for every time you cook? Pack those. You may have a few pots and pans that you always grab first… the ones that you will take the time to wash (if they are dirty) before you start cooking. Why? Because they are your favorites and the other pans just aren’t as good for you, for whatever reason.

You may have one or two small appliances you often use, while the rest live in a cabinet. Pack the ones you use most often.

Your Hobbies

Most of us have held onto hobbies that we no longer enjoy or always thought we would like to do… but never did. If you never finished that quilt, never learned to paint, or never got around to learning to play the piano, seeing those items can make you feel a bit like a failure. Liberate yourself! Let go of those hobby supplies and all the tools and do-dads that go along with them.

Other hobbies or collections may have been your favorites years ago, but they have been gathering dust ever since. That’s ok. People change, your interests – and even your desired hobbies – will change too. It may be time for a new hobby or to select one of the untouched ones to explore, rather than hoarding potential or past hobby supplies.

It’s ok to go into your new location without any pre-selected hobbies and permit yourself to find a new one once you get settled. In the meantime, all those supplies can find a new home. They do not need to follow you around, stuffing your closets and making you feel guilty when you see them. New location, new home, new life!

Continue The Process

Use the “favorites” criteria to determine what to pack from other categories in your home: from tools and furniture to sentimental items. One group of things at a time, determine what you use, enjoy, and cannot bear to live without. Pack those things.

These are the things you would miss most if they were destroyed. You may have many things that can’t be easily replaced… but even those items, especially sentimental or family heirlooms, wouldn’t be something you would buy or collect now.

Live in the now and make sure your home – your new home – reflects the person you are now, not the person you were or the person you thought you might be… someday.

Releasing unruly, outdated expectations for yourself and the accruements of someone you used to be will open your life to new experiences. You will feel lighter and will be free to explore new facets of yourself.

Shedding the things that no longer suit you is essential to personal growth. It creates the room you need to grow.

What About What’s Left?

Live with what’s left while you prepare to move. Living with what remains will help in three ways:

  • It may help you to rediscover something that you love that was lost among less important items.
  • It will make it easier to let go of the things you don’t need or want.
  • It will help you to appreciate your packed favorites and make you look forward to unpacking and using them again in your new home!

Once your favorite things are packed up safely, it will be easier for you to sort, sell, give to others, or discard what remains.

Don’t have the energy or desire to sort through what’s left? You can always recruit family to handle what remains or hire a moving service company, auction house, or online auction listing service to handle the rest!

To begin the search for a home to fit the next phase of your life, contact a New Abode agent today for expert advice for a seamless transition.

Contact us today!

Created 5/19/21