Ahh living with less stuff, wouldn't that be nice!  That's what I said to myself two years ago when my husband and I became empty nesters. I thought this new phase in our lives would be the perfect time to downsize certain furniture pieces, get rid of some stuff, and make our home live the way we live now.  We are a small family, to begin with, me, my husband, and our daughter.  Our daughter is away at college most of the year so we are not completely at the stage of having an empty nest. However, the dynamics of the house have certainly changed; we no longer require a large sectional or expandable dining table.  Both have served us well over the years when we hosted holidays and sleepovers.  We don't plan on moving for another few years so for now, I decided to change things up around our house and make it work for the two of us.  Here are four steps I used to declutter our home.

Four steps to declutter your home for the empty nester 

Build your confidence

The process of downsizing your stuff is tough so don't delude yourself into thinking you will get it all done right away.  Your emotions will get to you so you need to toughen up!  Start in a small area like a closet to build your confidence and momentum.  I started in my clothes closet, but you can start in any small area in your home, like a junk drawer, or the linen closet.  Decide what you want to keep, or sell.  If you can't sell your items toss them!

Choose a room 

Now that you've conquered the small areas in your home it's time to move on to a room.  Pick one room in your home that isn't working for your newly empty nest.  Could it be the living room, dining room or a bedroom?  Now that you've picked a room think about the furniture in that space.  Is it too big, is there too much, what do I want this room to be?  After you establish these things, you will need to make a plan for completion.

Set a goal and stick to it

Ok, great you figured out which room to tackle!  Now what?  You are going to need a plan and you have to stick to it, no matter how long it takes.  I started over a year ago with our spare bedroom which was a total disaster.  We used this space as a storage room. You can see the before and after here.  After I completed the guest bedroom I moved into our living room.

So how do you set a goal and stick with it?
  1. Pick a day of the week that you can set aside to work in one room and be consistent. 
  2. Think about how you want that space to look and feel.
  3. Access what furniture is staying and what goes.  If your furniture is in good condition and you love it keep it!  You can always decorate it with new throw pillows and accessories. Or if you're not loving it anymore you can sell it or donate it. I feel it's easy to let go of something when I'm giving it to someone who needs it more than I do. 
  4. Sell, donate, and get creative.  Use websites like Craigslist or Facebook to sell your items, and donate to local thrift stores and charity organizations.  Or have a yard sale and put the money you make toward your new furniture.

Take a break

If you plan on staying in your home and are not selling it, take a break!  Downsizing can be exhausting and overwhelming.  There is no rush in getting rid of all your stuff at once, especially if you plan on staying in your home for another few years. Take your time and enjoy the process.  I'm still working on mine one room at a time. If you have any tips that you would like to share on how you declutter your home let me know in the comments!

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