Tips For Downsizing Stuff From A Large Family

As a family of nine, we are constantly striving to downsize how much stuff we have. I think it has to do with wanting less stuff to care for, wanting more time to just care for our kids without other distractions, wanting more space in our 1000sqft home, and the fact that we need to actively choose to live an intentional life.

For us, that means downsizing, purging, and living with less so that we can focus on what is truly important: our marriage, our kids, and people in general.

But, for a family that desires to live with less stuff, we sure have a lot of stuff! We are pretty good about organizing, sorting, and preparing stuff to be donated or sold, but have a harder time going through with getting rid of it. However, I have high hopes that we will indeed get rid of a lot of stuff over the next few months.

Tips For Downsizing Stuff From A Large Family

  • Do it in rotation: once a day, week, or month choose some stuff to purge. Toys, clothing, and kitchen gadgets are some good examples of things that should be sorted through routinely and on rotation so that they do not become too much to do at once. The first time you tackle the job of decluttering, it will be tough, but then you can stay on top of it much easier.
  • Get rid of it: once you have purged and sorted through some stuff, you must get rid of it! If you really think you will manage to have a garage sale, then go ahead and save it for then. But, most of us will need to just load everything up to donate or bring to the dump (because, seriously, when will you have time for a garage sale??). Do it A-SAP. The only thing worse than a house full of unneeded stuff, is a house full of unneeded and bagged stuff! I’m preaching to myself on this one, because I have a lot of stuff in my garage just waiting to get donated! You can also sell like-new clothes on thredUP, like I do!
  • Capsule Wardrobe: for you, your spouse, and your kids. Take the time to create a minimalist capsule wardrobe now and you’ll spend less time trying to find the perfect outfit later (and when you’re running late!). Plus, less clothes equals less laundry.
  • Hand-Me-Downs, or Not? when you have more than a few kids, you are going to want to save clothes your big kids have outgrown for your little kids to grow into. This does save money if you do it smartly. I have found that it is really only worth saving clothes that are still in excellent condition. Often, when there are faint stains on clothing, the stain becomes more widespread while in storage. It is so disappointing to haul out a big storage container of clothes only to find that many of the less-than-great-quality clothes you saved are now unusable due to yellow stains. Save yourself the disappointment (and space) and toss the faintly stained clothes instead of storing them!
What are your best tips for staying on top of the clutter?


2 thoughts on “Tips For Downsizing Stuff From A Large Family

  1. For some reason I couldn't comment on your last post. but I can on this one…do you have any ideas as to why? I go through our stuff about annually or bi-annually, but it's more based off of being between pregnancy sickness and newborns than being really intentional. At least it does get done for the most part!

  2. I like your idea of decluttering in rotation. It’s so easy for me and the kids to get overwhelmed! Having 5 boys, I tend to keep anything that isn’t threadbare, but then, they are so close the time in storage hasn’t been very long either. We gave away all but the most special girl’s clothes years ago and God has provided for our 2nd little girl beautifully without needing storage. 😀
    Having a litmus test for what to keep and give away helps me a lot. If something isn’t used regularly, doesn’t have a “home”, and isn’t pretty, it goes.
    Also, learning to let go of sentimental things is a tough but vital lesson. When an object reminds me of someone or somewhere I love, it’s hard to see how it’s crowding my life, but whenever possible, I try to whittle souvenirs to small, pretty objects. Even the fridge magnets we collect from trips have to come out in rotation to keep the kitchen from feeling too messy. (Actually, where we live now this isn’t true; we put the rest on the metal outside door, so there is enough room for drawings by 6 kids between the two surfaces!)

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