It may seem counterintuitive that by releasing something — you gain something else, but it’s so true. Allow me to explain.

For a very long time I’ve wanted to downsize my life and move to the city — Boston, in my case — for many reasons. 

  • My children were getting older. 
  • I’m single. 
  • Living in the suburbs was great when raising a family but no longer suited the lifestyle I was looking for.
  • I needed and wanted less “stuff” and space to live in, maintain and keep clean.
  • I wanted to spend my time enjoying what being in a city can and will bring — activity, theater, music, dining, etc.
  • I loved living in Boston 30+ years ago and wanted a taste of that again.

I, maybe like you, have too many things — even after a move and letting go of what I thought were so many items I’m finding myself with more to sort through and donate or give away to family members. I did my best to donate and give away things when I moved out of my suburban home last March, but I’m facing a storage unit in the next month that I’m dreading. Many things will be moved to Boston, but I’ll have to give more away and eliminate so many things that I had loved and used in my past life.

Is it daunting? Hell to the yes! Is it worth it — even more so! Here’s why!

  • We have way more than we need. Period.
  • Having less allows you to spend more time with people you want.
  • Having less also gives you the opportunity to spend your time on activities that are meaningful to you.
  • We can be super selective about what we keep. It should be only the things we love and serve an important function. That’s it!
  • We can be more selective about what we do that has meaning and is a true reflection of who we are and what’s important to us.
  • There’s so much less to clean, maintain, take care of. 

You may feel perfectly content where you’re living. That’s great. I can promise you though if you look at what you have — you probably already know it’s more than what you need or even want. There’s something really freeing about choosing what you want to look at and use and offer the rest up to others who might need and appreciate it. 

I love a good “zhuzh” and I’m looking forward to shopping in my storage container and carefully choosing what I want to keep in my new smaller space in the city. There are things that I’m looking forward to being reunited with like my beautiful area rugs and living room furniture in particular. 

Because I need all the storage I can get, I’m also looking forward to moving in a couple of pieces — armoires and nightstands with drawers that can hold the necessities. I’m looking at the function of a piece first, form second. I’m choosing to love what I decide to buy knowing that I’ll have these pieces for a long time and also realizing the purpose they play in my room or home. With less physical space, storage is at a premium.

Here are a few questions you might ask yourself before deciding to hold onto something you may not have room for.

  • Do I love it?
  • What purpose does it serve? (It’s ok if you love it because it’s beautiful to look at — we all need those items in our lives and homes).
  • Could it better serve someone else?
  • Does it no longer suit my taste and lifestyle?
  • Will it fit and feel like the room is too crowded? (A space needs room to “breathe!”).
  • Who could I give this to, or donate this piece to? 
  • Is there something that needs to be purchased to replace this item (due to condition, size, etc.).
  • What will I gain by giving this item away? More space, less clutter, etc.
  • Will I love to enter this space and what will that feel like?
  • Do I even remember having had this? (Perhaps it was so far back in a closet, cabinet or basement, you weren’t even aware of it being gone or missing it).

As you go through this process, remember to reach out to organizations in your area that might pick up these items. Reach out to family and friends if there are items that you’d like to allow them to have first dibs on. Host a viewing and grab and go open house when loved ones can come in, take a look and remove the item(s) you no longer need that they could use. There are so many creative ways to rid ourselves of items these days but I’d start with these. Facebook Marketplace is also a great place to upload pictures to and give away. People come to you and it’s almost always cash and carry — or you could simply post them as free for a quicker exit process.

Letting go is a sure way to bring you more of what you want . . . with less “things” taking up space in your home and mind.

Written by Nancy Michaels. Sign up to receive her Decluttering Downsizing Checklist at