Moving into A Smaller Home? Downsize with These 7 Tips
Make the most of your new small space with these smart downsizing strategies.
1. Plan Ahead
Downsizing is the best way to take control of what you own and live your best life with less. So don’t wait to make decisions–start planning your new space early and set goals. If you’re moving in with someone, you’ll want to make sure you’re both on the same page. Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want to live, such as if bringing your whole closet is more important than cooking. Do you have room for oversized furniture? And how much smaller is your new home really? Deciding this from the get-go will help you determine which items to keep or toss in the packing process.
2. Take Inventory of Your Stuff
Less space means less stuff. Start by scanning what you have in each room and get rid of any duplicates. This can be especially tricky in the kitchen, where you’re more likely to have extras of things like spatulas, mugs, and other items you don’t need ten of. Unless you have guests over regularly, you can part with your extra silverware, glasses, and other tableware. In other rooms with bigger items, use colored sticky notes to indicate use/non-use. And don’t forget the pantry and bathroom–toss out any old food, ingredients, or expired products. You’ll be surprised by how much goes.
3. Think Storage
You’re going to want all the storage you can get in your new small space, but think quality over quantity. When moving, select one statement piece of furniture from what you own, and then build from that. If you need to invest in new pieces, ottomans that open up, wall-mounted shelving, and under-bed boxes are great organization pieces (plus, you can squeeze in a fun trip to Ikea or The Container Store). Think about what stuff needs storing before buying though, as too many containers will feel cluttered in your small space.
4. Measure Everything
Moving into a smaller home means some of your old furniture might not fit. And the last thing you want is to move something in you’ll only have to get rid of and replace. Measure all your furniture ahead of time so you have an idea of what to take and part with. You’ll also want to measure all the rooms in your new space, including the closets. This will save you time, space, and money in the long run.
5. Know What Not to Throw Out
Some things are worth the purge, but others are necessary to keep. Most papers you can probably toss, but you must keep the following documents: birth and death records, marriage licenses, social security cards, medical records, diplomas, insurance policies, passports, wills, trusts, power of attorney, property deeds, investment records, and vehicle titles. You’ll also want to evaluate your family heirlooms and decide which are the most meaningful to you (keep those, get rid of the rest). Photographs, collectibles, and other sentimental items are also must-keeps. If you really don’t have room for them, consider getting them transferred on a digital file.
6. Be Patient
Moving, especially downsizing, is going to take time and lots of energy. Over the years, you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff (more than you think!), so save yourself some trouble and start the cleanse early. Time also lets you prepare for new things you’ll need and ensures items you’re giving away will be donated. The process can also be physically and emotionally draining, so budgeting more time to go through everything will help reduce your stress and fatigue. If possible, plan to start in the winter when weather conditions are harsher–you can spend a few hours a day snowed in and cozy going through everything. By the time warmer weather hits, you’ll be that much readier to move out. It may also be helpful to use a moving checklist so everything else in the process doesn’t get forgotten about.
7. Hire Help
Asking for help is more than ok if you need it (and your budget allows). In today’s world, there’s an entire industry ready to help people organize their life. They can also offer an outside perspective and voice of reason if you find parting with certain items tricky. Also, if you’re not the one downsizing, but need help downsizing an elderly parent or friend, these companies are trained at understanding those needs, staying sympathetic, and have extensive experience.