People downsize their homes for various reasons. They could be empty nesters, whose children have all moved on to their own homes, seniors who are realizing a need for less space and maintenance or people moving from the suburbs into a city apartment where the space decreases drastically.
Regardless of what the reasoning may be for downsizing, one thing remains true in all of these situations; not only will you be downsizing your home but your possessions as well. People who have lived a majority of their lives in a home now must take the 20 plus years worth of pots, pans, dishes, holiday decorations, furniture etc. and decide what is essential to their new lifestyle and what is not. Parting with these items will in no way be easy but we’ve got some tips and tricks to make downsizing your life a little less of a hassle.
- Plan ahead: In most cases, this move will not be a surprise to anyone involved, so having a plan going into the moving process will provide some guidance. Make a list of things you either A) will not need or B) definitely want to bring with you. This is going to give you a starting point.
- Evaluate Your Soon-To-Be New Lifestyle: Think of a few questions, write them down even, to ask yourself before you begin to pack. Consider what your new home and new lifestyle will bring. Do you really need lawn decorations if you won’t have a lawn at your new place? Consider this and other factors when packing. You’ll want to do this before you make the move as to avoid clutter and over-crowding at your new home.
- Everything Should Have a Use or Purpose: All of the items you are selecting to bring should have a purpose in your new home. You should never bring something because “you might need it.” Chances are, if you’re not 100% positive you will use it or can’t remember the last time you used it, you won’t ever have a need for it. In regards to sentimental items, anything that holds an important memory to you or your family and/or pictures of your old home should be brought along.
- Keep Clutter Out: Manage your small space by using organizational bins, hangers etc. Try utilizing a certain space or item for more than one purpose.
- Quality Over Quantity: When downsizing, it’s unlikely you will be able to keep all of your furniture from your previous home. When deciding what to keep, or buy, think about what will be most functional in your new living space. Instead of keeping the giant coffee table, maybe find an end table with storage space underneath and a pullout stand to keep your drinks on. While the giant coffee table may have worked great in your last home, it may not be an easy fit or the best idea to have something that takes up so much space when it’s sole purpose is to hold drinks or serve as a place to put the Sunday paper.
- Don’t Throw Anything Away: Well then how are you supposed to get rid of all your unwanted stuff? Never throw away items that are in good use but you no longer have a need for. Yard sales, making donations or recycling unwanted items are a great way to downsize without feeling like you are simply “throwing something away.”
- Measure & Plan: Get measurements of each room in your new house. Draw out a rough sketch of each room on paper with dimensions in order to better visualize what will fit in terms of furniture, TV etc. This way, you won’t have to guess as to which items will fit and be surprised on the day of move-in when they don’t.
- Tackle the Job in Pieces: Trying to accomplish this huge task all at once will surely end in defeat. Instead, do it room by room for a few weeks leading up to your move. This will avoid you feeling overwhelmed on top of all the other feelings that come with moving.
- Get an Objective Opinion: If you’ve followed the steps above and are still finding yourself with a small pile of “Not Keep” and large pile of “Keep” then perhaps it’s time to get a second opinion. Bring in a friend or relative who will be able to provide some brutally honest truth when sorting through your things. They might have the “Oh please you’ll never use that” you’ve been looking for.
The true first step in downsizing is finding the right home. If you’re looking for some advice or guidance, contacting an agent is a step in the right direction.