The thought of downsizing your home, whether you are moving interstate or across the street to a smaller home, is often overwhelming. Ideally, the main goal of downsizing is to eliminate non-essential items and consolidate essentials that can fit your new home. While this sounds easy, you can easily hold onto your belongings without prioritizing space. These downsizing tips can ease your move.
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1. Start Early
Decluttering your entire house is tasking and time-consuming. Therefore, start early and plan accordingly to sort through items without being overwhelmed. As a rule of thumb, you should start downsizing at least three months before the moving due date. Besides downsizing, keep your house free of clutter during this period. You can achieve this using either of the following decluttering methods:
- One-a-day option – involves letting go of one item every day.
- KonMari method – get rid of items that don’t spark joy anymore.
- Closet-hanger method – arrange all closet hanger hooks to face away. Wear clothes in no-specific order and turn the hanger hook towards you. Discard any clothes in hooks facing away after a period, say 6 months.
- Four-box method – avoid storing items, and instead group them into four options: donate, sell, recycle, and keep.
2. Consider your New Space
Knowing the size of your new space is also crucial when downsizing. If possible, measure the square footage of different rooms of your new home. Having these measurements helps evaluate items to move with and those to be discarded. For instance, you can figure out if your current furniture can fit into the new living room. If measuring the new place is impossible, declutter and eliminate general non-essential items.
3. Consider Your New Lifestyle
While the primary purpose of downsizing is to fit your new home, you should take advantage of other opportunities that come with downsizing. For instance, downsizing is a perfect opportunity for starting afresh. Therefore, if you didn’t like or got bored with the interior design of your current home, make subtle changes to your new home. It is also perfect for changing household furniture, appliances, and other items.
4. Set Downsizing Ground Rules
You can easily start making exemptions that affect your overall goal when downsizing. Setting and adhering to specific ground rules is the best way to ensure that your downsizing efforts are fruitful. Moving experts often encourage homeowners to categorize their items into:
- Items to keep
- Items to sell or donate
- What to recycle or trash
- What to memorialize or pass down
- While you can vary these categories to suit your downsizing goals and needs, try to avoid items that can fall into “maybes.”
5. Downsize Large Items First
There’s no reason to hold onto large furniture, beds, and other large household appliances if your new home has limited space. Hoarding these items will not only fill your new home, but also increase moving costs. If you are primarily downsizing for space, evaluate the floor plan and get rid of large items. Similarly, if your new home has a refrigerator, dryer, washer, and stove, sell or donate yours.
6. Sort Items into Groups
Sorting your belongings into groups is another effective downsizing tip. Below are a few categories to consider:
Clothes – start by reducing clothes in your walk-in closet. Use the 12-month rule.
Decorations – get rid of holiday decorations and other decor that can take up significant space.
Kitchen appliances – get rid of items that you use sparingly.
Books and DVDs – while you can keep your favorites, there’s no need to carry books and
DVDs you’ve already watched or read.
7. Digitize Important Paperwork
You should also downsize by going paperless. Scan and save important documents into the computer or special hard drive. Similarly, upload pictures and other important files into the cloud or Google drive. Get rid of your bills and bank statements, as you can trace them online.
8. Eliminate Items in Rooms you won’t Have in your New Home
If you are moving to a townhome or apartment, chances are you won’t have an extra bedroom, garage, or storage space. Therefore, consider selling, donating, or trashing all items in these rooms before moving. For instance, if you have a home office complete with furniture or a garage with outdoor tools, list them for sale.
9. Consider Selling things Yourself
Selling your belongings is now easy, thanks to online platforms, consignment shops, and the increasing popularity of yard sales. Yard sales are quick, but won’t fetch much money. Online platforms like Craigslist and smartphone apps can reach a wide audience. Consignment shops are best for valuable furniture.
10. Ask for Help
Downsizing, preparing for the move, and selling or donating non-essential items can easily become overwhelming. If you can’t handle these tasks yourself, consider involving your friends and family.
The Bottom Line
Downsizing is a gradual and time-consuming process that requires patience. Most people struggle with nostalgia, especially when letting go of their favorite items. While change is hard, you shouldn’t allow the apprehension of letting things go weigh you down. Instead, anticipate a new, better environment. Apart from the tips mentioned above, you should also consider hiring professional movers to facilitate the move.