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Chronicles of Downsizing

June 02, 20233 min read

Guess what I’m planning to do? Pack and Move!

Guess what I’ve been doing for months? Sorting. Editing. Donating. Selling. This is the very thing we help and teach our clients to do. It is, much like the popular book and streaming show, The Gentle Art of the Swedish Death Cleanse.

I can empathize with my clients who are in this phase of life. 34 years of marriage, 2 kids, and 4 moves later; we make our final move to our forever home. My goal is to take only things that I actually need, use and enjoy. For the past year I have been going through every bin, box, cabinet and closet and editing away. Let me tell you some of the main areas of focus and how that went for me.

Kids Memorabilia.

My kids are grown. They have their own homes and no longer live in mine. I admit, I have kept a fair amount of their things including handmade ceramics, art and toys. A couple of months ago I invited them to go through the stuff themselves. Afterall, it is their stuff. At first I was frustrated with myself that I kept so much of it. But in the end, they had the opportunity to decide what was important to them. We donated and trashed a lot of stuff! I encourage you to give your kids stuff to them so your home does not become their eternal storage unit.

Furniture from the 90’s.

Have I gotten use of my furniture. Heavy cherry bedroom suite, Queen Ann wingback chairs, and the proverbial china cabinet. Let’s just say that I’m going for a different vibe in this next house. Facebook Marketplace has been my friend in all this. I post, I sell, it goes away. Best part is that I will not move furniture that I ultimately don’t want to keep or store.

Kitchen Wares.

Here’s what I have donated: Serving dishes I haven’t used in years. Chipped plates and bowls. Coffee mugs that are too small for a real coffee drinker. Small appliances I never use. Faded worn out dish towels. No-match food containers. Stadium drink cups. Too many extra anything!

Holiday Decor.

This one was actually pretty easy for me. Anything that I haven’t used in the last two years went away. Only having the decorations that I use will make decking the halls so much easier next year.

Linens.

I only have king and queen sized beds. Two sets of sheets for each bed. Everything else was donated.

Books/Paper.

I only kept books I haven’t read, but may potentially read. Almost all paper files were recycled or shredded. The only exception was any vital record I could not access digitally.

Scrapbooking Supplies.

I was that mom. I created a scrapbook for each year of my kids’ lives. I decided I would do it until they graduated from college. Now I’m done and no, I’m not going to scrapbook for my grandkids some day. So my leftover supplies went to ScrapsKC.

Decor.

When we stop using decor items, it’s usually because we just don’t like them anymore, the style goes out of date or it just doesn’t meet our vibe anymore. The exception might be staple items like easels or candles. Off to the thrift store with the rest of it.

Electronics.

Much like these other categories, when electronics go into a bin or shelf in the basement, this is where they go to die. I know if we are not currently using a device, it’s because it has been replaced with something that is better, faster or more current. Thank goodness my city has regular electronic recycling events for these things to die properly. Rest in peace.

If you are thinking about downsizing, moving, or you just want to have less stuff all around you, it might be time to take a few steps toward streamlining your belongings. Here are my top five tips:

  1. Give yourself several months to complete.

  2. Start small and work in one category at a time.

  3. Take donations away right away to see the accomplishment.

  4. Only keep what you use, need and love.

Happy downsizing!

Chronicles of Downsizing
Karen has been a professional organizer in Kansas City since 2015. With her experience in sales & marketing, complemented by a lifelong side gig as a fitness instructor, she discovered that maintaining organization is her method of cultivating tranquility in her life and thoughts. Her frequent family relocations were managed with ease thanks to her organizational prowess, a talent she now imparts to her clients.

Karen's enthusiasm is rooted in devising systems, overseeing projects, and utilizing her meticulous attention to detail to craft spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. As her enterprise flourishes, so does her team—comprising only the most professional, efficient, and discreet organizers. She's selective, ensuring her team exemplifies their high standard of service. For her, organization transcends the mere purchase of attractive storage solutions; it's about equipping individuals with the means to alter their habits and revolutionize their lives.

Karen Swart

Karen has been a professional organizer in Kansas City since 2015. With her experience in sales & marketing, complemented by a lifelong side gig as a fitness instructor, she discovered that maintaining organization is her method of cultivating tranquility in her life and thoughts. Her frequent family relocations were managed with ease thanks to her organizational prowess, a talent she now imparts to her clients. Karen's enthusiasm is rooted in devising systems, overseeing projects, and utilizing her meticulous attention to detail to craft spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. As her enterprise flourishes, so does her team—comprising only the most professional, efficient, and discreet organizers. She's selective, ensuring her team exemplifies their high standard of service. For her, organization transcends the mere purchase of attractive storage solutions; it's about equipping individuals with the means to alter their habits and revolutionize their lives.

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“I cannot recommend Karen Swart and her team enough! We were in the Kansas City area for a full summer, filming “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” and Karen and her team were our behind the scenes death-cleaner helpers! They helped our Death Cleaners move quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly through people’s homes - and they did it with heart. Thank you, Karen! Stay Gentle!”

— J.J. DUNCAN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF “THE GENTLE ART OF SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING”