midlife style

downsizing tips

Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space

Large rooms can readily accommodate big items. And jumbo homes have many rooms for lots of big things. But when you’re transitioning to something smaller, downsizing tips for what not to keep are super important!

After all, moving in itself can be so stressful. Why add to the angst when you arrive at your new space and find out your things won’t fit?

I’ve had clients who were determined to keep certain hefty pieces of furniture or just too many components in general. The disappointment was heavy at the new place when alternative arrangements had to be made for the oversized and excess stuff.

As a matter of fact, do you know which household items are most commonly offered free of charge to professional moving crews? Pool tables, couches and pianos are on that short list!

OK, maybe you already knew the pool table was not an option. But there are numerous other sizable items worth swapping out for something smaller. Everything might almost fit but wouldn’t a little breathing room be desirable, too?

With thoughtful space planning and some creativity, you can set up your new digs with comfort and style … and with just the right amount of stuff!

Now on to five big things that shouldn’t make the list for the moving truck. 

downsizing tips
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Today's post is all about 5 downsizing tips to ensure your smaller space is filled with just the right sized items !

tips for downsizing to a smaller house
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Downsizing Tips | 1. Release Blocky Coffee Tables

A large central coffee table is a standard fixture in most living rooms. 

But is it practical when downsizing? I’ve witnessed many a client, anxious to hang on to their massive coffee table, only to be disappointed with how it demands major real estate in their tiny new space. 

And maneuvering around it can be a challenge, especially when using an assistive device such as a walker or wheelchair. So pay attention to safety and mobility.

However, even if you’re perfectly ambulatory now, consider replacing this traditional piece with a couple of smaller tables or tables that nest under each other. You gain flexibility when you can  re-position them where needed. 

Other downsizing tips include substituting a couple of antique trunks. Or buy an ottoman (or two) with lids that open to reveal stashed belongings. 

Now you’ve tripled the utility as you can use them for footrests, additional seating and storage, as well!

tips for downsizing possessions
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Downsizing Tips | 2. Release Boxy Nightstands

Once upon a time, bedroom furniture was only purchased in suites consisting of a bed frame, nightstands, dresser and mirror. 

But when you’re scaling down your living space, consider offloading your standard nightstands. For example, narrow bookcases might serve double duty for your alarm clock, tissue box, hand lotion and your bedtime reading collection.

I had one client use her pet’s kennel as a nightstand! Her fur baby was nearby all night. A small plank laid on top provided a solid surface for the items needed next to the bed. And voilá … another workhorse solution to the rescue!

Another alternative answer would be to install floating shelves on either side of the bed.

This creates a feeling of airiness yet affords the storage surface needed for everyday items. These could be made of wood or glass.

Or how about this: painted, stained or au natural wooden crates mounted on either side? Again, the floating concept creates multipurpose space as you could stow your slippers or a basket of magazines or your knitting supplies underneath.

Wall mounted reading lights above the bed (or suspended pendant lights) are yet one more clever way to reduce what used to sit on your traditional nightstands.

So think about th things you reach for when you’re settling into your night routine.

This helps determine the size and shape of what creative nightstand will work best. Remove the rest. Because having less stuff occupy your bedroom will allow for a more soothing night’s sleep.

downsizing tips and tricks

Downsizing Tips | 3. Release Bulky Single-Use Kitchen Appliances

How often do you make waffles these days? 

Are you regularly assembling cookies, cakes and pies? Stretching pasta?  There is a plethora of kitchen gadgets that perform only one function but how many of these should make the cut for space in your new place?

It makes sense to consider what meal prep you care to do these days. Or will actually do. Be realistic about how often you will reach for your stand mixer, toaster, deep fryer or popcorn popper.

How many sets of dishes, mixing bowls, kitchen gadgets and serveware accessories will be practical? 

Think about what your cooking style is now and replace a few different appliances with multi-tasking ones such as an Instant Pot, which provides several methods of cooking in one appliance!

Unless cooking and entertaining is your passion … and you will continue to do so on a larger scale … streamlining what will be in your new kitchen is important, too. 

tips for downsizing to an apartment

Downsizing Tips | 4. Release Brawny Couches & Chairs

Lazy Boy furniture has been scaling down their seating arrangements.

The furniture manufacturers have jumped on board with catering to the crowd seeking smaller scale pieces.

Remember that if you’re downsizing from the big house, you’re likely not needing to haul the huge sectionals and recliners with you. They command way too much space. Plus, they throw off the visual balance of your room.

Instead, why not substitute the massive sofa with a pair of small love seats? Or 4 small swivel club chairs? 

These actually lend themselves to a natural conversation area. And they can be positioned in front of a fireplace or by the window, whatever your new focal point will be. Style them with colorful pillows and a cozy throw. Your friends will love visiting in your right-sized living room!

downsizing tips for empty nesters
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Downsizing Tips | 5. Release Beefy Media Centers

Have you noticed that even hotels have ditched the entertainment armoires?

Flat screen TVs rule! Wall mounting them has truly opened up real estate in multi-purpose rooms. 

When you surround the TV with your own wall art, you create a visual gallery, as well. Your TV no longer dominates the room as the main event.

You can still place a very slim cabinet underneath. Or try a narrow table with small wicker cubes or trunks to house any additional media items such as CDs or movies, or board games. 

This approach is more modern and fresh. And once again, you’ll avoid having any one large item overpower your smaller room.

downsizing tips for seniors
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Bonus Tip: Plan, Plan, Plan!

Even if you haven’t defined your exact next destination, it’s still invaluable to start decluttering today!

When you know a downsizing move is in your future, think about your current rooms that will not exist in the new home. Start rehoming items in there, whether by donation, gifting or tossing if no longer serviceable. Then these empty rooms can serve as sorting and staging space for your future move.

Give thought to how you want to spend your time in the new home.

If your activities will be changing, there’s another clue for what to keep and what to release. Fewer people in the home usually leads to needing less of many things. And a new focus generally means the paraphernalia from a former hobby or interest will no longer be useful.

Once you have landed on your new home, sketch the layout and then play with the space.

This will ensure your furnishings will fit properly. If they don’t, now you can plan for what smaller scale furniture you will acquire. If you have a hard time visualizing, certainly, you can wait until you arrive. Get a feel for the place and then start shopping.

Or, invest in interior design help. A professional can listen to your vision and bring it to fruition with suggested pieces within your defined budget.

Less can be more when you accept that change will be a part of this downsizing decision.

Of all the downsizing tips shared here, letting go of what you no longer need, use or love is essential for a smooth and successful move!

Feeling unsure with where to start decluttering? This post will get you on track: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

And read this post which underlines the importance of how we view change: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! Because change is inevitable but how we handle it is up to us. Shall we face it with anticipation and grace or resistance and fear? That’s up to us!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today's downsizing tips focused on 5 big things to replace when a smaller space is in our future!

Reconsider moving oversized stuff to your new smaller space.

Avoid the cost of transporting things that won’t truly fit.

Instead, opt for smaller scale furnishings and multipurpose appliances.

Score extra points with serene space between your things!

Related Topics & Resources to Explore

decluttering your clothes example to

7 Timeless Tips for Decluttering Your Clothes & Discovering Your Next Style

When you shift into a new life chapter, it’s generally a good time for decluttering your clothes! How you spend your time determines what you will reach for in your closet. So if you have too much stuff from a prior chapter, like I used to, no wonder it feels like you don’t have anything to wear!

With my 7 timeless tips, you can evaluate what’s in your wardrobe and refresh accordingly. This isn’t necessarily about how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes. Uncluttering takes time! And I always save room for a few items for sentimental reasons or infrequent occasions. 

But having the bulk of your wardrobe aligned with where you’re at now makes sense. And who doesn’t want to appreciate and use everything in their closet? I know I do! So let’s get to my tips!

decluttering your clothes
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Today's post is all about decluttering your clothes so you can curate a timeless midlife style!

declutter your clothes
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Tip #1: Don't buy anything until you're done decluttering your clothes

 

If this sounds like an extreme decluttering approach, it’s not. What truly makes sense is to wait until you’re completely done with decluttering your wardrobe.

I hope I haven’t scared you off already! 

Yet doesn’t it make sense to clear out what doesn’t work before you add more in? Whether you have room for more right now or not, out with the old and only then, in with the new! One step at a time is my philosophy. 

Now maybe this feels uncomfortable because you’re anxious about not having the current season’s styles or missing out on sales. But if the trend is short lived, why worry? And rest assured: there will always be another sale. Retailers are pretty good that way!

reflect on your life style
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Tip #2: Reflect on how you spend your time

 

When your employment status has changed in some way, perhaps you no longer need all that business attire. Even if you continue to work from home, is it now all about the Zoom appearance, i.e., attractive blouses? 

Perhaps the formal occasions are far and few between now. Conversely, you may plan to travel extensively in style so resort wear is in your future. Or heading to the country and living the simple life is your new goal … so hello, jeans and t-shirts!

However you intend to spend your time, decluttering your clothes should take this into consideration.  Perhaps you simply admire a certain style, but the reality is that you really don’t have the opportunities to wear those things any more. That’s a critical revelation! Sort and release accordingly.

In fact, head here to create a simple yet powerful decluttering plan so your closet clearing goes smoothly: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

rules for decluttering clothes
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Tip #3: Choose your color palette while decluttering your clothes

 

Everyone has their “go to” hues! Certain colors just make us feel happy, powerful, or confident. Even if you like all the colors, having a theme with just two or maybe three base colors will be the ticket to mixing, matching, and maximizing your wardrobe. You can always bring in the rest of the rainbow with your accessories!

how to declutter your clothes closet
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Tip #4:  Perform "speed rounds" as you're decluttering your clothes

 

The process of decluttering your clothes does not have to be an all-day or all-weekend affair. That’s a sure-fire way to get decision fatigue … and then get stuck. 

Instead, spend as little as 20-30 minutes at a time. Start with pulling out the no-brainers: what you never wear, what isn’t a favorite, or what is worn out. Don’t overthink it! Go with your first instinct. Just grab and stash it in a bag.

In fact, label your bags as “donate” or “sell” if you plan to do both. That way, the donate bag only gets touched once. Then there’s no second guessing your decisions!

Also, if you’re stumped about the added steps for donation, there’s a link below for easy ways to give and recycle. I’ve got you covered!

turn the hangers
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Tip #5: Turn the hangers for what you actually wear

 

This is a tried and true trick to gain a visual on what actually makes it out of your closet! Viewing our clothes closet every day feels like the contents are part of our lives. But the hangers tell a different story when some are facing one way and others are facing another! 

Now a different season may very well be the reason that you don’t reach for a sweater if it’s the middle of summer. But you’ll still be able to see what you really favor with this approach. And ultimately, you may decide to organize your closet seasonally. Then you’ll truly be able to see what your options are at a glance, based on the prevailing weather.

box the on-the-fence stuff
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Tip #6: Box the on-the-fence stuff while decluttering your clothes

 

Feeling conflicted with releasing certain things? The longer you think about it, the harder it become to make a decluttering decision. My advice? Box it up!

Now if you’re occasionally wearing it, that’s a different story. Intuitively, you may know that it’s not quite the right cut or color for you. Yet it may be the current style so you wear it anyway, for something different. In this case, hang on to it for now. It will likely depart in a future round of decluttering. Or when you start to in-fill with the best clothing for your current chapter: only items that fit, flatter and feels good!

All other on-the-fence items should be boxed or bagged. You’re hesitating with these rarely worn items for different reasons. Often it’s because that lifestyle is no longer your main event. Or it could be due to how much you paid for it. Whatever the reason, this will be a box of stuff to let go! There’s a link all about selling at the end of this post so hang tight!

determine what suits your shape
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Tip #7: Determine what suits your shape

 

It’s a fact: our body shape changes over time, no matter how dedicated we are to clean eating and physical activity! And so it follows that certain styles usually look better on a 20 year old body, a 30 year old body, and so on.

You see where this is going! I myself feel 10-20 years younger than I actually am (depending on the day, ha). However, I’m mindful to curate a wardrobe that is more sophisticated than what I wore when I was 20.

Taking an honest yet loving look at your body will help guide what styles will accentuate your best features and de-emphasize your challenging areas. Sometimes, just going up a size will do the trick. Don’t be hung up on sizes!  All that matters is that the garment fits comfortably and attractively.

A few standard rules of thumb include:

  • Wear a darker color on what you want to minimize
  • Use brighter colors to draw the eye to what you want to feature
  • Balance out hips with broad shoulder lines
  • Choose an empire style top or dress to hint at a smaller waistline

Above all, make peace with your body shape! It’s gotten you this far in life, hasn’t it? Unless you’re fully committed with a plan for dropping some pounds, how long do you want to have clothing that’s too small hanging in your closet? Fill it with what celebrates your shape now!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today was all about the best tips for decluttering your clothes as you enter a new phase of your life

 

Your turn:

  • What kind of clothing do you need to weed out of your closet?
  • What holds you back from letting certain items go?

Let’s chat … and thanks for stopping by!

selling used clothes

15 Premium Places for Selling Used Clothes to Clear Space in Your Closet

Selling used clothes is a tremendously smart way to make room for items that align with your current (or future) lifestyle!

It’s not easy to let things go, regardless if it doesn’t make sense to keep them. We are beings who feel deeply and so our emotions often dictate the choices we make.

But when you’re ready to say goodbye to outdated, ill fitting, or just plain “I don’t care for that any more” or “I never wear this” clothing, what next?

If you can’t shake the feeling that you’re throwing money away if you donate it, I get that. I’ve felt the very same way, especially when the clothing cost quite a bit! 

 Yet hanging on to the item isn’t the answer. It continues to sit there, so what kind of return on investment is that?

So I say the answer is to sell it! 

This Post is All about 15 Spectacular Sites for Selling Used Clothes

sell used clothes
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Obviously, there are an insane number of places to sell clothes! I’m breaking it down in two ways:

  • how you can sell locally and
  • where you can sell beyond your hometown
where to sell used clothes
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Local Options

Here are 5 ways to sell right in your own community, along with key points.  A face-to-face hand off (if you’re fine with that) means no mailing costs incurred by either side. So potentially, you may get paid sooner.

  1. Secondhand (brick & mortar) stores
  2. Facebook Marketplace
  3. OfferUp app
  4. Craig’s List
  5. 5Miles app
When it comes to secondhand stores, these include consignment shops, pawn stores, and thrift shops. You can Google to find what’s near you. Each of them have their strengths and drawbacks. You can get the summary in this other post of mine, Secondhand Stores Can Be Your Decluttering Partners.
 
Just realize that you’ll have the least amount of control with secondhand store pricing since they are doing all the work and providing the retail exposure for your items. But in return, going this route will require the least amount of time and effort by you.
 

Facebook marketplace groups are easily found in the app. Other local online selling groups are discoverable within the FB platform, when you type within the FB search bar, “Buy and Sell Groups near Me”. You can also insert the type of merchandise you’re selling to discover specialty groups, i.e., jewelry.

OfferUp and Craig’s List have both been around for a bit. Check out their basic rules. Then noodle around to see what type of clothing is predominantly sold in your community. 

Lastly, 5Miles is relatively new (to me) but growing rapidly as yet another buy and sell app. As the name suggests, it’s all about what’s within 5 miles of you. It’s touted as being both free and safe. It also has an auction feature for bidding on hot items.

sell used clothes online
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Expanded Market Options

A larger market will expose your items to more buyers and also provide specialty niches. 

6 Luxury sites

  1. The Real Real
  2. Vestiare
  3. Poshmark
  4. Tradesy
  5. The Luxury Closet
  6. LePrix

This is just a sampling of the top apps for buying and selling high end couture!

Take time to review the site rules before choosing where to list your clothing. Take into consideration any postage fees, mandatory price reductions, commissions, and seller protection. It’s always smart to see what comparable items are listed for, to avoid having your items over (or under-) priced.

I personally sold an LV duffel on The Real Real. Funny how a designer bag feels so special until it’s time to let it go and then you realize how many there are! So I priced it to sell and it did go quickly. It felt a little painful to see how discounted my return was but I reminded myself, “something is better than nothing”! The bag was simply not practical as it was quite large and I was concerned it would get scratched up if I ever had to check it in. So all kinds of lessons learned with that one!

Selling clothes on Poshmark can be lucrative, if you’re willing to put in the time. I’ve only bought, not sold there, myself. The sellers are quite active so you would need to stay on top of your listing and also connect with other sellers. When you network, sellers refer buyers to each other and also have combined “parties” with special discounts. 

Niche sites

  1. Fashionphile
  2. Worthy

These two sites specialize in handbags (Fashionphile) and jewelry/watches (Worthy). Both are highly reputable and worth considering.

Honorable Mention sites

  1. eBay
  2. Mercari
  3. thredUP
  4. Vinted

These four sites are all wonderful in their own way. The first two involve auction style selling. eBay needs no introduction. It’s good for scoring a decent return and selling things quickly. Mercari is similar and also allows selling a wide variety of items with easy listing directions.

For an online consignment store approach, thredUP sends you a Clean Out bag with a prepaid label. Pop in your unwanted clothing, shoes and accessories and ship it off! Plus, if your items don’t sell, thredUP will donate them on your behalf.  So selling clothes on thredUp is a fabulously convenient option!

And lastly, Vinted works similarly to Poshmark but without the luxury item category. It’s a good choice for mid-range priced clothing in decent condition.

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This post shared 15 fantastic sites for selling used clothes

There is a wide range of sites for selling what you’ve pulled out of your closet! 

Unless you go the consignment route, understand there will be time and effort needed to keep your listing optimized and to ensure the sale closes successfully. It’s rare to realize a return which is the same (or greater) as what you paid for an item. But don’t let that discourage you from recouping some of your initial cost.

To get in a practical state of mind, forget what you paid for the item. Seriously! What matters now is what you can get for it today. What you originally paid has been spent. So anything you realize now is “extra”! 

Start here to figure out what needs to go: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity? Then dig in to uncover some money!

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