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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are planning to downsize from ~1600 sq ft to ~900 sq ft. (We're a family of four and a cat) I have a few months but am stepping up the decluttering/downsizing now and wonder what other downsizing mamas have done when it comes to which items stay and which go?

For example, we co-sleep but dd fell in love with an IKEA toddler bed (kritter) so our family bedroom has our queen and dd1's kritter bed. We have a really nice twin sized bed that we planned on dd using that is currently our guest bed. The place we are seriously looking at has no storage...no basement, attic, or closets. No outbuildings either. So there really isn't a good place to put a 3rd bed! We don't want to take dd's kritter away at the same time we move, but she'll outgrow the kritter before long and the twin would last for years!

That's just an example though...we don't have a ton of "big furniture" but what we have is fairly nice/functional and I just don't know how to pick the ones to keep. How did you decide?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm starting to think we may "need" a storage unit. But since the main reason for the downsize is to cut our housing costs I'd hate to turn around and add a monthly storage fee, you know? The cost of the unit wouldn't be as much as our mortgage savings but still it feels like defeating the purpose.

Over the years different relatives have gifted us with some great antiques (not worth much in terms of collector pieces, but nicer than we could hope to buy) and we've been in this house ~5 years so we have slowly built up our furniture to match. I can be ruthless with the small clutter, but the bigger items...well. I know our downsize is mostly a 3-5 year plan and we may move back to a slightly bigger place when the girls are older and I go back to work and I know we'd never be able to "buy back" the sorts of things we've been gifted. On the other hand I don't want to keep things "just because they may come in handy".



Can you tell I'm conflicted? I've already asked a few friends/family about "fostering" some of our stuff and there hasn't been a great response.


ETA- I think the root of my conflict is "do I keep the functional/cheap/used furniture that fits our current needs" vs "do I keep the good quality and hard to replace items that we WOULD use a year or so down the line"? That kritter bed cost 60 dollars (it's the plain pine one), the twin trundle bed we were given (it was slept on twice) costs 1000+. I could never go out and buy that twin bed and it's perfect for dd...just not right now.

So I'm curious how other mamas made the decision about what was really necessary.
 

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i don't like the idea of a storage room either (we currently do not have one, but were we to downsize, maybe we would).

i think that, for me, it would be a matter of keeping the good/important pieces that i can see myself using over time. for example, i always have room in my life for book shelves and dressers. even if they're sitting in storage!

were it me, i'd get rid of whatever 'cheap' furniture i have in favor of the real 'gems' in your collection. even if they're not the "most functional"--they'rell still work and you'll find use for them in the long term.
 

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keep what you love. you can probably find new uses for what you love and let the cheap stuff you don't love (or the expensive stuff you don't love) go.

for example, if you had a couch that you didn't really love maybe you could take the twin bed that you do love and make a daybed sofa with lots of pillows and get rid of the unloved couch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's an idea (the "take what you love")

Here's the furniture we have:
First floor:
dining room table dh built so it's a keeper! (plus 4 IKEA Ivar chairs)
leather armchair
"leather" couch (seats two strangers or three really good friends)
really nice sideboard with lots of storage (currently acting as a bookcase)
farm table (currently acting as a kitchen island, no storage, but really sturdy with lots of character)
antique wooden "love seat"/padded bench
coffee table with storage for dds toys
TV/entertainment unit
poang chair
play table DH built for dd

Second floor:
queen sized bed
twin trundle bed
IKEA kritter bed
3 dressers
poang chair
antique writing desk with zero storage that dh uses for "stuff"
a dozen or so bookcases


attic:
lamp/chair/desk that matches the twin trundle bed
steamer trunks with the real travel patches on them (were coffee/side tables till dd started pulling off those labels!)

The house we may move into has a single room downstairs (~450 sq ft but a portion of that is walled off as a bathroom which is the width of a shower stall plus water heater). Upstairs the same basic sq footage is divided into a small landing and two bedrooms. The roof slant makes the "outside wall" of each room about 4 feet high so furniture placement may be further limited. There are no closets (under the stairs is already open to increase living space, we may close it in as a closet).

Obviously we can't take all the furniture we have! I guess I'm going to have to really think about what I love vs what I feel "guilty/wasteful" leaving behind.
 

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This is going to be my delimma too. We are a family of 3 with 2 dogs. Right now we live in an 1100 sq ft place but are going to downsize to around 600-650 sq ft. sometime in January.

I have so much stuff and have no clue where to start.

I think I'm going to work on the simpler things first like clothing or toys and then work up to the harder things like furniture.
 

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I would draw out a to-scale drawing of the new place and try placing furniture into it. Sometimes it is easier for me to start with a blank slate and add things than to look at everything and decide what to get rid of, kwim? Also, it will help you figure out exactly how much you need to get rid of. Plus it is fun to dream about your new place and picture how it will be!

That doesn't solve the bed issue, but maybe will help with some of the other stuff.


Would the twin mattress/frame (taken apart) fit under your bed? You could store it there temporarily. Or, could you convince your daughter's grandparents to take the toddler bed so it will become her special bed for grandma's house?
 

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I too go with the "keep the things you love". I would keep the nice furniture over the cheap.

The other thing, since you don't know for sure where you are moving to yet, I'd tend to keep all of the furniture (except the cheap stuff) and figure it out once you find somewhere to move to and get actual measurements and draw up a scale drawing of the rooms and furniture (little pieces of paper you can shuffle around to see where they work best). You won't know until you see it whether something may just work better than something you otherwise thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's sort of funny (or sad, depending on pov) but I don't really love a lot of the nicer pieces we have... they were gifts from other relatives as they moved/re-organized and not things I selected if you know what I mean. I just feel like we should keep them since they ARE nice/unique/antique and we certainly wouldn't be able to replace them. But then again, I don't know that I'd want to replace them if I came home one day and they were gone.

Hmmm... I wonder what it says about me that I prefer run of the mill IKEA to hand crafted antiques?


I was trying to explain how I felt to a friend and she had a comment that is helping me put this in focus... she said it's like finding a brand new gorgeous designer item at the thrift store for just a few bucks. You bring it home and hang it up and gloat over the amazing deal...but a year or two later when you still haven't worn it you need to just accept that amazing deal or not, designer name or not, it's not "you" and it's as much clutter as the stained/ripped tshirt you have no problem tossing into the rag bag.

I've been trying to live by the Craftsman mantra "have nothing in your house that is not both beautiful and useful" and I think I need to really look at things from this perspective and try to look beyond the "good deal" aspect!
 

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i don't think it says anything about you. Ikea has nice design sense. while it's not the most expensive stuff out there, it is functional and it's often quite nice looking. i like scandinavian design myself.

so, if you prefer that, then go with that. when you get a newer place, then buy higher quality scandinavian design (if you'd like) or stick with Ikea. why not?

your home should reflect you, IMO.

and, you'll probably be able to get some money for the antiques, particularly if you consign them.
 

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Re: "But then again, I don't know that I'd want to replace them if I came home one day and they were gone."

That's one of my key indicators that something should go. Given that, I think that you should guiltlessly get rid of anything that you're not going to use in the new place, and let concerns about the possible larger, later new place wait until you move to that place.

In fact, you could gradually or immediately get rid of _all_ the antique pieces, replace them with IKEA, and use the experience of living with that look to find out whether you really do prefer the Swedish minimalist look. Then, as someone else suggested, you could someday get higher quality furniture in that style.

Crayfish
 

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my favorite topic!

we just did this last year (also just for a few years, while dh gets his doctorate). i was *rutheless*... but then, i also didnt have family stuff. i literally kept only things i really & truely loved-- little to no practicality figured in, just heart & gut. now, a year later, i have a small but nice assortment of things I Simply Adore (and i've been building on it, bit by bit, which has seemed wonderfully indulgent!)... and it honestly makes a huge impact on my daily mood. i think that having things you dont love, that are not "you," eats energy. and, imo/ime, life is too short for that!

:
 

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I second the idea of drawing it out. Our last house was 720sq ft. and once we moved in and tried to put our furniture in it, it was obvious that some of our furniture was just too big-we ended up downgrading from sofa to love seat, for example. We had a garage to store things like books we wanted to keep or a few small furniture pieces that were family items we couldn't part with but wouldn't fit in the house. So I guess size is important and how much it means to you too!
 

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I'm here too. We're moving this coming week and i'm going from 2800 sqft to 1700. I've already emptied 2 of 5 bedrooms completely- ok less closets. I'm going to move over a week and put things I love on the truck first. What's left- if not useful or if we don't have the space will be donated and I'll call to have it picked up the next day. I've sold all that I can and what's left is worth something but not enough to take it with me. Sanity is priceless!

I want to clean my house knowing that I am caring for things that I love, not just crap i've collected and inherited.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
It's sort of funny (or sad, depending on pov) but I don't really love a lot of the nicer pieces we have... they were gifts from other relatives as they moved/re-organized and not things I selected if you know what I mean. I just feel like we should keep them since they ARE nice/unique/antique and we certainly wouldn't be able to replace them. But then again, I don't know that I'd want to replace them if I came home one day and they were gone.
It sounds like you are dealing with some emotional ideas about money that I have dealt with myself. You got it from someone else, and even though THEY didn't want it, and gave it away, you don't feel safe passing it on yourself.

I definitely believe in the feng shui concept that if we hold onto things out of fear, it's harder for the Universe to send us what we do want and need. The fear that we will never have good furniture again if we give up the good stuff now is understandable.

I would quietly sit with each piece and think about how it makes you feel. Do you love it? If not, let it go and try to trust that you will have what you need when you need it in the future.

I do understand that feeling of "I can't give it up, what if, what if..."
 

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one of the issues that comes along with 'passed along' furniture is the family dynamics related.

the very concept of giving away furnishings that "they" didn't want and that "we" don't want, is offensive to "them." that is, my MIL freaked when i said that i sold a piece that her aunt had given me (and it was, literally, a piece of junk). she railed about how i didn't care about family, how i didn't understand antiques, why didn't i have it repaired, etc. it's been 7 years, and she still brings it up.

of course, she is a hoarder. for her to let go of something is very difficult--even junk. but, when she does give us something, even if she thinks of it as junk and doesn't want it, for us to give it away is a big, big sin.

so sometimes, letting go isnt' about my fear of letting go, but my fear of my MIL freaking out because i let something go. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah zoebird...that's another element. Especially since several of my relatives make more in a few months than we do in a year, so there is a certain element of "family charity" involved. I know that the minute the ornate carved writing table that wobbles and takes up a huge amount of space for very little function goes out the door, the uncle who gave it to us is going to flip. Not because he wanted the table but because our getting rid of it will be seen as our essentially rejecting his "help".

And this particular side of the family is FAMOUS for holding grudges. So we too will hear about it for years to come...

I've been looking into building a tiny storage shed type thing on the property...some of the bare bones versions only cost a few hundred dollars.
 
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