downsizingPhysical clutter should definitely be eliminated from your home. It can hamper your ability to process information and concentrate, according to a Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study that was published in The Journal of Neuroscience. It is also not pleasing to look at. Plus, by not having too many unnecessary possessions, you won’t have to contend with the potentially costly consequences of maintaining, replacing, and repairing them. But before you start downsizing by throwing away junk and giving away unwanted stuff, you might want to ensure these items don’t ever end up in the garbage bin.


Gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, and smart wearable devices contain your sensitive personal information. Discarding them carelessly when they are no longer functioning or when you have upgraded to the latest model may be risky. They may contain your name, address, and contact list. If you have used them for online banking or shopping, then it is important to take extra precautions before discarding them. Toss them out only when you have thoroughly stripped them of your personal data. There are remote-wiping apps that enable you to do this. You can also encrypt your personal data before resetting the mobile device to its factory settings.

Papers and Documents

You can easily go overboard when clearing paper clutter off your home office and drawers. It is important to pay attention to what you are throwing away. Documents such as birth certificates, death records, insurance policies, property deeds, and the like should be safely filed away. Effective tips for organizing your financial documents can be found here.

Tags and Boxes that Came with Expensive Items

Consider saving the boxes of fine jewelry pieces and the tags of high-end designer handbags. This helps greatly in case you resell or consign them in the future. The original boxes and tags help prove authenticity and fetch better prices for these items.

Toiletries and Medication

The only reason to discard medication and toiletries is when the products have gone past their expiry dates. Medications, in particular, are expensive, so don’t be too eager to throw them away.

Emergency Supplies

When doing a major de-cluttering exercise in your home, leave emergency supplies alone. Consider putting them in an accessible storage area. Keep your old landline phone, because mobile phones rely on a battery and wireless carrier service. Other vital supplies that can assist you during an emergency include a radio, flashlight, batteries, and a fully stocked first aid kit.

Bathroom and Kitchen Supplies

Whether you live in an inner-city one-bedroom apartment or a luxury property such as the likes of Carson & Co. offer, your living space can always use a little bit of help in organizing and downsizing. Ideally, you’ll need at least four towels per person and two sets of bed sheets. Basic kitchen supplies, on the other hand, include a trusty set of pots and pans, wooden spoon, spatula, and a high-quality chef’s knife. Depending on your lifestyle, you can add and subtract from these recommended basics, but do so with forethought.

Heirlooms and Sentimental Items

You may have silver candlesticks, boxed recipe cards with handwritten notes, sepia prints, and furniture that were handed down from many generations in your family. These items carry a wealth of precious memories and should make the cut each time you do seasonal clean-ups. The same is true for childhood medals and other nostalgic keepsakes that remind you of great times.

KonMari Method

Marie Kondo, organizational consultant and author of the best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, offers a simple and efficient way for getting rid of unwanted stuff. The KonMari method of organizing your living areas–and consequently your life because your environment has a huge impact on your mental health–is based on a simple principle: to keep only those that “spark joy.” So, instead of figuring out which items you no longer need or want, just zero in on those that you feel “sparks joy” in your life. This method, of course, does not apply when deciding whether or not to discard a vegetable peeler or a screwdriver. It works best when whittling keepsakes to a manageable level. Mementos, books, accessories, and clothes that don’t “spark joy” can be let go.

Streamlining your possessions and clearing your home of physical clutter can have so many benefits, including saving money and a chance to earn extra cash by selling unused or unwanted stuff. There’s also the breath of fresh air and peace of mind that comes with an organized home.

Sean Ryan deals with plenty of homeowners who are downsizing in his work and it is not always easy to get the balance right between what to keep and what to let go. He likes to share his ideas on moving issues online and is a regular writer for several lifestyle websites.

Don’t Get Carried Away: Items You Should Keep When Downsizing was last modified: by

Sharing is caring!