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12 Expert Downsizing Tips To Make Your Move Easier

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON March 21, 2022

& FILED IN Selling & Moving, Home Decluttering 

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If you’re considering downsizing your home, you’re not alone. Many people are opting to downsize in retirement, or even before, in order to simplify their lives and save money. While it’s a big decision, downsizing can be a great way to make your life easier – and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some brilliant downsizing tips to help make this big transition a lot more smooth and stress-free.

12 Expert Downsizing Tips To Make Your Move Easier

Downsizing Tips To Help At Every Stage Of Your Move

Moving to a smaller home, with less storage, can be difficult – both emotionally and physically. The key is to get into the right mindset, be fully on board with the process – and even enjoy it!

Balance what you want to keep with what you can take with you – and enjoy the process, it can be a really free-ing time.

#1 – Remember Why You’re Downsizing

So – when should you consider downsizing to a smaller home?

Downsizing is hard. Harder than simply moving. You’re not only moving house, but ALSO really looking at everything you own and deciding whether it has a place in your new space.

Moving into a smaller space has it’s issues – and it’s therefore important to understand the reason(s) why you’re doing it – so you can hang on to that when you need that extra bit of motivation to get things done.

REASONS TO DOWNSIZE YOUR HOME

  • Equity release – your home is probably the biggest asset you have, and so giving yourself an extra lump sum in your bank account can be VERY appealing as you enter retirement and don’t have as much income any longer.
  • Needing more help – moving to assisted living may be necessary as you’re getting older but still want some independence
  • You want to be free of excess stuff and live more simply – maybe due to illness or mobility
  • You can see the benefits of a smaller space – less cleaning, maintenance etc… This means that downsizing can be a great idea even if you’re not an older person in later life (the usual reason many decide to reduce their living space)
  • You want to reduce your living costs (heating, maintenance, council tax etc…)
  • You’ve gone through a major life change. Maybe you’ve suffered a bereavement, become an empty nester, etc… and don’t need as much space any longer

#2 – Stage To Reap Extra Rewards

When you’re downsizing, in fact, when you’re moving house for ANY reason – home staging is essential.

You get the most you can get in the current property market in your area, you stand to sell more quickly – and therefore it puts you in the best position possible moving forwards.

Take note of what your current home looks like. Stage it for its target market, and you may just make more money for your new home…

TIP – If you declutter BEFORE you sell (a key part of home staging it, thats totally free!), you will make your home feel bigger to prospective buyers as well as preparing you for the move. It’s a win-win!

#3 – Accept That Downsizing Your Home Has To Mean Downsizing Your Stuff

This is one of the downsizing tips that can be a really hard one to accept – because intellectually you know that downsizing your home means downsizing your belongings – but emotionally it’s a different ball game.

You need to get totally on board with the concept of downsizing, and make it an exciting adventure – otherwise you’re going to struggle at every stage of the process.

The last thing you want to have happen is to resent downsizing….

Brown Sofa with cushion on - in a room with white walls

#4 – Know Your New Home

First things first – you need a plan, and that starts with knowing your new home well.

  • Get a copy of the floor plan for your new house, marked with the dimensions of the living space and the square footage – and you can start to really visualise the space before you set a foot inside.
  • This can help with planning things out in what will be a smaller property, knowing the space well, and understand it better.
  • Things like larger sized furniture needs to be considered. I fit’s a large item, it may well not fit very well in a smaller space. It’s worth considering swapping out these with smaller versions (unless they’re family heirlooms etc…)
  • Can rooms in your new home be multi functional? A spare bedroom in your current home may only be needed a few times a year – so you could downsize THAT into part of your new home without it being an entire room. Maybe having a bed settee in your living room would work perfectly well.

#5 – Consider Storage Space

Also important to look at initially is the extra storage space you may not have any longer when you move.

A smaller house often lacks certain areas you may have become used to having – and taken for granted.

Things like:-

  • Loft / attic
  • Basement
  • Shed
  • Garage

Are all places where a LOT of stuff can accumulate, and yet we forget about that when we move house. It all counts though – and if you need that stuff, there needs to be thought involved in where it will go in the new house (even if it’s not a tiny house you’re moving to, ANYTHING smaller than what you currently have will need careful planning as to what to do with all your stuff).

#6 – NO To A Storage Unit

I want you to reconsider if you’re thinking about getting a storage unit for the excess things that don’t fit into your new home, because you’ll be paying to store them and probably won’t even bother with them once they’re there (out of sight, out of mind, etc…)

Your current home IS large enough for everything to fit – but we tend to fill the space we have – so you have to start being REALLY critical of what you truly need in the new house. Are you just used to having these things, are you feeling guilty for letting them go? What’s stopping you from decluttering them, and what makes you think storage unit is a better idea for those possessions that sit in this grey area.

#7 – Declutter Your Belongings

There’s no getting around it – downsizing means decluttering.

Get rid of things you no longer need, use, or love.

It’s going to be tough, but it’s SO worth it in the long run. You’ll have less to move, fewer things to worry about in your new home (in terms of storing especially, when storage space will be less).

Think about what you truly love, and what you really need. That’s all you should be taking with you.

Easy Things To Get Rid Of When Downsizing:

  • Duplicate Items
  • Items from past hobbies / work that you don’t do any longer
  • Items you won’t need in your new home (if you’re downsizing your large garden to a smaller one, then maybe you don’t need a lot of your gardening items, for example).
  • Broken / Damaged Items
  • Items you never use
  • Excess furniture (if you’re moving to less bedrooms, then getting rid of a bed or two is an easy win)
  • Items from your adult children – if they have their own homes, then ask them to take their stuff that you’ve been keeping for them.

A good idea for those items you’ve decided to part with that are still in good condition is to sell them.

Furniture and other unwanted items can be put on Facebook marketplace or similar – that way you can allow people to come and pick up the items directly from your house which will save you a lot of hassle and time.

{ Related: Decluttering Made Easy – 101 Things To Let Go Today – including a FREE Checklist! }

#8 – Downsize Your Stuff

As well as decluttering what you own, you could also look at downsizing things that you’ve decided to keep.

By this, I mean that you may well have a sofa that you will need in your new home (we all need to sit!) – BUT it may be too large to fit easily in the new space.

As such – you may want to look at swapping it out for a smaller item.

Having smaller items in your downsized home can make it feel larger immediately.

#9 – Maximise The Space In Your New Home

Although you’re moving to a smaller home, you CAN still make the most of every square inch by using clever storage ideas.

Here are a few to be getting on with:

  • Use vertical space – go right up to the ceiling with things like wardrobes and shelves
  • Fitted storage is worth the expense as it uses all the available space to its maximum potential
  • Use storage furniture as much as possible. Things like a storage coffee table, ottoman bed etc… can give you the feeling of space by hiding away the stuff you DO need to take with you, without adding to the amount of furniture you need to have.

#10 – Get Family Members Involved

If you’re struggling to take all the family heirlooms with you, or any items really – then get your family members involved.

You may well find that every close family member will happily take a few items that remind them of a special loved one(s) to treasure in their own homes.

Also – remember not to complicate matters by trying to save lots of heirlooms for your children or grandchildren – if they want them then why not give them to them now, or let them make the decision whether they are kept or not.

Keeping everything doesn’t (and shouldn’t) all come down on you.

#11 – What To Do With Sentimental Items

There’s no need to get rid of everything – you can still keep sentimental items.

The key here is to be ruthless and only keep the things that truly matter to you.

Think about what memories the item evokes, and how important it is to you. If it doesn’t make the cut, then find a way to repurpose it, or give it to someone who would love and appreciate it.

A lot of people choose to keep sentimental items in a memory box. This can help to keep things within a certain amount of space (contained).

However, if you STILL want to let more things go because your new space just won’t allow keeping things – why not look at taking photos of everything and creating a photo book so you can still have them to look at whenever you want, but they take up virtually no physical space at all.

#12 – Change Your Buying Habits When You’re Looking At Downsizing

From this point on, you’re downsizing – so only buy what you need, and make use of things to their full potential.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Stop buying extras. Stockpiling is great for some people, but when you’re trying to minimise storage space, this is one of the first habits to stop.
  • When shopping for clothes, think about whether you’ll actually wear it, and how many outfits you can create with it. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, don’t buy it
  • Stop collecting things. This is a difficult one, but if you’re downsizing then you need to get rid of the mentality of “I’ll just pick this up, I might need it one day”. You probably won’t, and even if you do, you can probably borrow it from someone or buy it second hand for a lot less money
  • Consider how long you’ll use something for. If it’s not going to last very long, is it worth taking the space up in your new home?
  • When buying appliances and electronics, go for smaller, more compact versions

The Unexpected Benefits Of Downsizing

Yes, the process of downsizing everything you own, and everything you’ve accumulated in your lifetime so far can be difficult, but the rewards are plentiful.

Remember that going smaller isn’t a bad thing for so many reasons.

In fact, being the curator of your home can be empowering. Your most loved and used possessions will be able to take pride of place, with your home reflecting you as a person all the more for it, you’ll have more time for other things in life, and you’ll have less stuff to manage (clean, maintain etc…).

Plus – with careful planning you probably won’t feel like you’ve lost anything in the move anyway.

You may just find that downsizing was the best thing you could have done…

12 Expert Downsizing Tips To Make Your Move Easier

And there you have it – use these downsizing tips and your new place will feel like home before you know it!

The first thing to do when you’re thinking of downsizing is to really focus on what you want your life to be like in your new space.

This will help you to know exactly what to take with you, what to downsize (smaller versions of items you have), and what to completely declutter.

Then the process of decision making becomes easier – and you may well find you have fun!

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