If you're a small space dweller looking to downsize your belongings or if you're just motivated by the season to clean out your clutter, there are a few rules you should consider before you break out the garbage bags. We spoke to expert Jacquie Dennythe, co-founder of online estate sale website Everything But the House (EBTH). She has an in depth knowledge of what home items to keep, toss, and resell as well as how to do it. Check out her great tips for thoughtfully scaling back belongings below.
1. Toss Anything You Don't Use 80% of the Time
You have to ruthless when downsizing. "Stick to the basics," Jacquie recommends. She advises tossing all impulsive or experimental purchases as well as getting rid of any pieces that are so specific, they're impractical to use. Think: Christmas-themed poached egg cups you got in your stocking seven years ago and never seem to remember to use over the holidays. For the kitchen, Jacquie describes "what pots, pans and essentials do you cook with for 80% of your meals? Keep those and let go of the rest (i.e. no bread maker that you only use once a year)." Ultimately, less is more.
2. Don't Get A Storage Unit
"I tell everyone I work with that off-site storage is not your friend," says Jacquie. "Often people send things away to storage because they don't truly need them, but they are not ready to say good-bye." And if you've made the mistake of putting something in storage, Jacquie suggests you toss it after a year.
3. Differentiate Between Decoration and Clutter
The line between decor and clutter can get fuzzy – is that a stylish statue or a messy knick knack? – and Jacquie says it has a lot to do with each homeowner's personality. "My rule is that once a shelf gets too busy visually, you have too much. Multiples of an item tend to make it impossible to appreciate the aesthetic of any one thing." In short, if see more decor than surface area, it's time to clear out.
4. Sell Items With Resale Potential
Now that you've cleared aside all non-essentials, take a look through what you're getting rid of. Jacquie says books, crystal vases, tableware and baskets have potential resale value as well as decor vintage items. To gauge if something is is trash or treasure, she says to check for a few things; "is this piece signed by an artist or does it have a significant maker's mark on it? Is this piece one-of-a-kind or is it from a limited production run? Is this piece made of expensive metals (silver, gold or platinum)? Is a book first edition or illustrated by a notable artist?"
5. Sell Art With Value
What you can get money back on when it comes to art may surprise you. "Value in the art market can vary from region to region," says Jacquie. While decorative and mass produced art doesn't hold up and should be donated, original pieces signed by the artist (even if you've never heard of the artist) consistently resell well. As do prints by first-rate artists like Picasso, Miró. She recommends checking out an online resource, like EBTH, with archives that give examples of what items are currently worth at market.
6. Keep What You Love
KonMari says to keep only the items that spark joy, but Jacquie says something even simpler. "My number one rule is to always keep what you love. Nothing is worse than holding onto things that are mediocre!"