I downsized because I had too, roughly 5 years ago.
Until then I lived in a cluttered flat with an even more cluttered basement cubicle and garage.
I prepared to move to the UK, to London, where I (at most) could afford a little room in a flatshare.
So, I had to get rid of stuff, a lot of stuff. Books, decorations, CDs (I hadn’t listened to in years), DVDs, clothes, furniture.
For my 2 overstuffed bookshelves full of books I decided to take a pragmatic approach: Which books would I really want to read again or were rare? Not even 30 fell in this category, the rest got donated or sold.
Similar for cooking books, plus I realised I mostly googled recipes anyway.
I digitised the CDs I wanted to keep, and then I sold the entire box (250 or so) to an amateur DJ for a ridiculous low price. He was so thrilled when he looked through the box that I couldn’t help to feel like it was an amazing deal.
DVDs I kept, but I threw away all the cases and put the discs in one of those big CD/DVD organizer bags which takes a fraction of the space.
Decorations, arts & craft/DIY-things I let my friends choose to take what I wanted and after a few visits everything was in grateful hands.
I kept all my kitchen contents (except from doubles), as I did not want to buy everything again once I moved into my own place in the UK.
In total I kept ca. 12 boxes of things, formally 50 (!), which I, together with some furniture, was able to store in my grandmother’s basement. All of it I labelled my most important belongings. I could not have been more wrong.
3 years later my partner and I moved into a flat together. We moved my things over to the UK. I was so excited to get my beloved belongings back.
However, my first thought was: My god why have I kept all this stuff??? Or in my partners words as he picked out something from a box: “This was really something you considered very important to you?
So then I had another purge. This time I also parted with more sentimental items. I took pictures of them, as a reminder, and then let go.
When we moved 2 years ago into the flat we bought, we had 20 cartons both together.
Just to be clear, our place does not look minimalist at all. We still have lots of things, art on the wall, furniture. Just no excess. And we are very careful of what we buy. Instead of formerly 1000 books I have a handful, and a kindle. Instead of 20 nail varnishes I have 1. Speaking of it, have not used it in 6 month. Ready to go.
Regrets of letting go so much? Not a single.
I learned 2 years ago about The Minimalists through their Netflix documentation. This is a really good watch and truer than ever.
If less clutter is something that appeals to you they have a few recommendation on how to get started. A radical start with the packing party or easing in with the 30 day challenge, which can be done as a game with a friend or a member of your family.
Or super easy: put a few things in a box and store it away. After a while, check if you missed anything from it. Chances are you will forget about this box.