How to Help Your Family Downsize for a Fresh Start to the New Year

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It's always nice to start a new chapter with a clean slate and a clean, clutter-free house can help you get the new year started right. Here are five tips you should use when downsizing and decluttering with your family.

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Start With Your Own Stuff

Set a good example for other family members by starting any downsizing efforts with your own belongings. You might even want to wait before mentioning your intentions to see if anyone notices how cleaner and neater things appear.

Understand Meaning

Everyone assigns meaning to their possessions in a different way. Don't be surprised if some family members are more willing to participate than others. Respect everyone's feelings and don't force the issue if your six-year-old isn't ready to sell Transformers figurines just yet.

Start With Big Items

You'll get more bang for your buck (or time) by starting with big items. Furniture, extra appliances, and old storage bins you don't use anymore take up a lot of space. Clean them out before you move on to smaller items. If items are in good condition call around to see if any local charities will pick them up.

Use Technology

Most paper files can be digitized and saved on your computer or external drives. This makes them easy to access and much smaller to store. You can fit several boxes worth of documents onto a single thumb drive. For extra space savings, you can store everything in a secure cloud folder.

No scanner? Simply download a scanning app to your smartphone and start snapping away. This will allow you to see each file as it is scanned and then put it in an appropriate folder for storage. Make sure to shred and recycle your old files in a secure manner.

Add an Incentive

Encourage reluctant kids to gather their extra stuff together and host a yard sale or list their items online. Making some extra money from the sale could be all the encouragement they need.

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Get Cleaning

No matter how you decide to downsize, make sure to encourage the efforts everyone is making. Some people have a hard time parting with possessions, and compromise may be necessary. This is especially true with younger children. Yet, once they see the benefits of downsizing like extra money and finding old toys they thought were lost, most family members will jump on board.

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