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downsizing and organizing

Downsizing and organizing your home in Chicago can be an overwhelming process. Your living spaces have likely collected clutter over many years – from kids’ toys and outgrown clothes to kitchen gadgets you bought on a whim. Not to mention furniture that’s seen better days and memorabilia boxes crammed with stuff from the past.

Where do you even begin to tackle the task of purging your overflowing household and creating functional, clutter-free rooms? The prospect seems daunting.

But downsizing and organizing your Chicago home doesn’t have to be a major source of stress. With some practical tips and a systematic approach, you can transform chaotic, crowded rooms into peaceful, orderly spaces that bring you joy.

Through this guide, we strive to give you tips and tricks, as well as walk you through the process step-by-step. From determining what to keep or toss to finding new homes for unwanted items, we’ll provide strategies to make decluttering manageable. You’ll learn how to:

  • Efficiently sort through belongings room by room
  • Clear out unused and unneeded possessions
  • Organize with helpful storage solutions
  • Properly dispose of or donate unwanted stuff

By the end, your home will feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to live your best life. So let’s get started on the path toward an organized, clutter-free home!

6 Tips for Downsizing and Organizing Your Home

The process of downsizing your belongings can seem overwhelming. Where do you even begin? By methodically working through each area of your home, you can effectively sort through and minimize your possessions. Follow these tried and true tips to make downsizing more manageable.

Evaluate What You Really Use

Go through every room, closet, drawer, and cabinet in your house. Honestly evaluate each item – furniture, decor, clothing, kitchenware, electronics, and more. Ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time I used this?
  • Do I have an emotional attachment to this item?
  • Do I really need this in my daily life?

Think from a minimalist view while working and decide what you can live without. If you haven’t used something in over a year, it’s safe to get rid of it. You’ll be surprised how much excess stuff you accumulate that serves no purpose other than occupying space. Free yourself from clutter by being meticulous in identifying true needs versus wants.

Rent Storage For Items You’re Unsure About

For possessions you feel attached to but don’t need regular access to, consider renting a storage unit. Statistics show that 46% of customers rent for more than a year. This clears out living spaces while still retaining special items. But don’t let storage become a dumping ground and costly monthly bill with little to no real value for you. 

Be selective about what you place there and set a timeframe, like 6 months to a year, for keeping items. Reassess if you took anything out during that period. If not, it may be time to properly dispose of them. Use storage as a temporary holding place, not indefinite limbo.

Host a Garage or Yard Sale

Gather up household goods, clothes, toys, tools, and more that are in decent shape and hold a garage or yard sale. Price items attractively to sell. Get the word out locally through Nextdoor, Craigslist, Facebook community groups, newspaper classifieds, or yard signs on busy streets. 

You can make extra cash by selling unwanted belongings, plus you’ll interact with neighbors increasing your local community’s well being. Display items neatly so shoppers can sort through them. Having a successful sale prevents many possessions from ending up in the trash or donation piles.

Clothing, footwear, accessories, furniture, kitchenware, books, toys, and other usable items can be donated to charity organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or local churches and shelters. This allows you to take a tax write-off while supporting those in need. 

Set aside donation bins as you sort through your home so it’s clear where to put give-away items immediately. Transport car-loads of goods to drop-off centers periodically. Above all, remember that donating gently used possessions frees up significant space in your house.

We are also happy to take donatable items! Just ask your Junk Expert and they’ll be able to help you.

Use Social Media to Find New Homes for Belongings

Post about furniture, electronics, household items, or other goods you’re looking to get rid of on neighborhood groups like Nextdoor, Buy Nothing groups on Facebook, or Craigslist. There’s a chance a nearby neighbor could benefit from adopting your extras for free or very cheap. 

Social platforms connect you to local people interested in second-hand goods. List things individually or conduct a porch pickup day where items are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This personal approach is more sustainable than tossing out still-usable things.

Consider a Junk Removal service

When all other downsizing efforts still leave you with a significant amount of large, bulky items like old furniture, appliances, and mattresses that are hard to transport and costly to dispose of – consider calling a junk removal service. Junk removal companies like ours offer full-service decluttering, hauling away unwanted items, and responsible disposal or donation. Take a look over our offerings here!

Leave the heavy lifting to our professionals and experience a much more streamlined decluttering process. 

6 Tips for Organizing Your Home

After downsizing your possessions, it’s time to get your spaces organized for efficiency. An organized home not only looks nicer, but it saves you time and reduces stress because everything has a proper place. Follow these best practices to transform disordered rooms into well-arranged sanctuaries.

Invest in Storage Supplies

Get ahead of the organizing process by having supplies on hand. Purchase clear plastic bins, baskets, boxes, and storage containers in varying sizes. Uniform containers that stack well create a streamlined look. Also, invest in labels, tape, markers, and a label maker. You’ll need to clearly identify what’s inside each container for easy access later. Storage supplies are inexpensive but pay off tremendously.

Tackle Small Spaces One by One

Trying to organize your entire home in one shot will quickly become overwhelming. Focus your efforts by working on one small area at a time – a single drawer, closet, shelving unit, or under-the-bed space. Remove everything from that area and sort item-by-item, keeping only what you need and use. Toss or donate the rest. Then neatly return contents to the space in a logical way before moving on.

Categorize Storage Areas

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets tend to become disorganized catch-all storage over time. First, empty them out entirely. Discard expired food and medicines. Then assign categories to shelf space – baking goods, snacks, drinking glasses, bathroom toiletries, medical supplies, etc. 

Return similar items to their designated shelves and you’ll always know where to find things. This principle applies to any space – toy bins, linen closets, and craft cabinets.

Maximize Space with Storage Solutions

Look for ways to add organizational systems like shelves, racks, hanging rods, bins, and baskets to better utilize empty space. Install closet systems to neatly store shoes and clothes. Door-mounted racks nicely corral kitchen towels and pots & pans. Mounted shelving is great for garage tools. There are solutions for every space – get creative!

Create Designated Donation & Recycling Stations

As you declutter, set up clearly labeled donation and recycling bins in easily accessible spots. Attics and basements can become dumping grounds for random stuff. Define the system upfront so family members know exactly where to immediately place items to be given away or recycled. This prevents clutter from accumulating again. Periodically sort through and empty the bins.

Consult a Professional Organizer 

If you feel stuck or overwhelmed organizing your home, consider hiring a professional organizer. They can provide an objective perspective on what to keep, toss, or store. Professional organizers also have creative solutions for maximizing storage based on your space. Though their services cost money, you gain back value in reduced stress and a functional, clutter-free home.


After implementing these downsizing and organizing tips, you can step back and admire your refreshed, decluttered home. No longer will you feel stressed and overwhelmed by cluttered rooms and overflowing belongings.

By thoroughly evaluating your possessions, ridding yourself of excess items, and creating efficient storage solutions, you’ve transformed chaotic spaces into peaceful sanctuaries. Getting organized also saves you time each day not having to search for misplaced items. We hope our guide empowered you to take control of your home environment. 

But remember, maintaining an organized home requires commitment. Institute new habits like dealing with clutter immediately, putting things back in their designated spots, and regular clean-outs of storage areas. Clutter can slowly creep back in if you don’t stay on top of it!

If at any point you start feeling overwhelmed again, don’t hesitate to call in the pros! Junk Relief offers full-service junk removal and hauling services in Chicago. Our team can come in and clear out any newfound clutter quickly and efficiently.

Visit our website to request a free quote online or book an appointment with one of our decluttering experts. We’re here to handle all the labor so you can enjoy your newly organized oasis.

Remember – an organized home makes for a happier, healthier life. We wish you the best on your organization journey!


Joe Weidman

Joe is a Chicago native, born and raised in Elmhurst. He founded Junk Relief more than 10 years ago and has worked with more than 20,000 homeowners and businesses throughout Chicagoland. His passion for starting a business in junk removal stemmed from seeing the need to do things differently. He prides himself on his company's model to provide unexpectedly professional service.


If you’ve got junk in Chicago or the Chicagoland Suburbs, we can help. CALL US or TEXT US at (312) 800-1940.


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