Canada’s shift toward smaller homes means decluttering for better feng shui

Canada is the second largest country in the world and is perceived as a land of wide open spaces. But the truth is that 40 percent of Canadians live in Ontario, and almost half of those reside within Metropolitan Toronto. The past 20 years has seen a significant shift towards more compact living. As high-rise blocks sprout up across the city, as well as in neighboring Mississauga and Vaughan, Canadians do not have as much storage space as you might think.

It means Canadians are increasingly troubled by clutter, and it has become a hot topic among the nation’s interior designers and feng shui experts who apply their skills to condo living. Here, we take a look at some of the strategies Canada’s city dwellers are adopting to declutter their homes and make sense of their storage.

Taking the right approach

Approach decluttering as a chore to be endured, and it is doomed to fail. But Rose Christa, a professional organizer from Calgary in Canada has a few tips to help you adopt the right mindset. The first is to set aside a set time for decluttering and to make sure you prepare by getting all the materials you need. 

The second is to take before and after photographs. This really helps you get that sense of achievement and keeps your enthusiasm levels up. She also recommends sharing your success with friends on Facebook or Instagram and says before and after photos of decluttered rooms and storage spaces are the most popular features on her own social media pages.

Place non-essentials into a storage unit

According to a 2023 poll, 65 percent of Canadian homes are full of unused belongings. For Canadians moving into a more compact homes, that’s simply untenable, but it is not always easy or advisable to sell, discard or give away more than half of your belongings. External storage is an elegant way to deal with items that are not in everyday use, with many families renting storage units in Toronto and other Canadian cities.

The advantage of renting an external storage unit is that it gives you the opportunity to really establish which items you need and which you can live without. Initially, you will find yourself paying frequent visits to retrieve certain articles, but after three to six months, you will have a much clearer picture. Then, you can move on to the next step. 

Make some money from your clutter

The same 2023 survey found that the average Canadian home contains $571 worth of unwanted items just lying around at home or in storage. In these difficult economic times, that’s something that has to be taken seriously. 

Malini Mitra is Director of Communications at PayPal Canada. She commented that the recent surge in the cost of living has driven a boom in the second-hand economy, and online marketplaces like Ebay and Poshmark make it easier than it has ever been to sell unwanted items quickly, safely and easily. She noted that clothing items are the biggest sellers, followed by furniture second and gaming equipment third.

Adopt the 20/20 rule

We said earlier that a storage unit is ideal for establishing what items you can really live without. But what about the smaller articles of clutter that accumulate around the house? We all have drawers and cupboard containing things that “might come in useful” ranging from storage boxes in the kitchen to lengths of wood in the garage.

The 20/20 Rule is sometimes known as the “Just-in-Case” rule. It takes the minimalist approach that you need to adopt if you hope to create good feng shui in an apartment or condo. The rule states that if it costs less than $20 to replace and article and it would take you less than 20 minutes to go out and buy it, then you should let it go. Apply this rule effectively and you will be amazed at the amount of storage space you free up for things that are genuinely needed and meaningful. 

Living without clutter

Finally, decluttering is one thing, and we have already noted that it can be a time-consuming exercise that need preparation and the right mindset. But it is only the first phase. You cannot “set it and forget it,” as the clutter will just reaccumulate.

Having “a place for everything and everything in its place” is key to keeping your home and storage clutter-free for the long term. Also consider making regular monthly donations to your local charity shop. If you always have a bag for donations ready and waiting, you will get into the habit of placing unwanted items there instead of letting them pile up around your home.

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