5 Steps for Thoughtful Downsizing Before Your Next Move

open house sign

So, your house move is around the corner and there is a lot to think about. When you’re downsizing, there is even more to think about. There can be many reasons for wanting to downsize. People do it because they need to free up finances, they decide to move in with somebody else, they can’t manage the size of property they currently have, etc. The why is not important, but if you’re going from a large space to a smaller one, you’re going to have to make some decisions. Before hiring a professional moving service to transport all your belongings, follow these steps to make your downsizing experience as easy and as quick possible:

1. Think about what you really need, versus what you have.

The most sensible first step is to make an inventory. You know what you have won’t fit into your new living space, but, rather than frantically organizing things into piles, it helps to consider what you need in your life first.

Make a list of things you can’t live without. This is your priority list and gives you a starting point to organize your things. Next, make a list of things that you can live without. This stuff becomes your “for sale” or “for the bin” list. These are items that you might monetize, and it will help you save or fund replacements from your third list: items that could cheaply and easily be replaced.

If you have large furniture items, even if you need them, consider whether they could be replaced with a smaller version or a space-saving option. Making an inventory kills two birds with one stone; it keeps you organized, but it also gives you a list you can use for home insurance in the new place.

2. Put things up for sale – in good time.

Using your second list, you can start to organize things by monetary value and decide on the best mode of selling them. You can put large furniture items such as couches on sites like eBay and Craig’s List but remember to time it so you don’t find yourself sitting on the floor for weeks before you leave.

Having a garage sale is an even quicker and easier option, although you may get less cash for your stuff this way. It’s the best way to get rid of low-value items that aren’t worth selling online. If you are organized, you could run more than one garage or yard sale ahead of your move to make sure you aren’t stuck with too many unwanted items at the end.

Most people have a lot of spare items sitting around in the garage or basement, forgotten and collecting dust. A lot of these items might be duplicates, so they are better converted into cash. Another thing to remember is if you’re moving in with someone else for the first time, you might be duplicating your items this way. It is wise to get together with your inventories and decide who should keep and who should sell their items.

If you find that you can’t get rid of a few items at the end – a highly likely scenario – don’t hold on to things for sentimentality’s sake. It’s hard to let go of things, especially if you’ve been prone to hoarding, but a charity shop will thank you for it and the chances are you won’t even remember you had it a few days later.

3. Embark on that long-awaited closet clear-out.

This one is a tough one. Clothes have a different kind of value to us altogether. Most of them aren’t worth a whole lot to someone else, but we have memories and emotions attached to our clothes, and it can be hard to convince ourselves to let go of them.

Most of us have way too many clothes, though; apparently, we only wear about 30 percent of what’s in our closet, on average! If you know that’s you, take your pending house move as an opportunity to sort out your closet. It is a nice idea to get rid of as many of your old, unworn items as you can at your garage sale and replace them with two or three new, high-quality items you’ll appreciate for a long time. This equals more closet space in your new home and a new, healthier shopping attitude to maintain. 

4. Play the storage game.

reading nook under stairs

Space-saving can actually be good fun. When moving into a smaller home, space becomes valuable. Rather than clutter it all up with old items, once you have shed what you no longer need, think about creative ways to store what you have left.

There are many options available for space-saving these days; furniture shops have whole ranges dedicated to exactly that. Shelves are a great idea, and you can dedicate a whole wall to a shelving unit with a cool design, making it a feature rather than an obvious space-saving utility.

Ottomans are a great idea, as are storage boxes. The boxes needn’t be hidden away – just choose some with funky designs and pile them on top of each other for an eclectic look in the home. Remember not to use attractive boxes for an excuse to hold onto old junk! This is the quickest way to become re-cluttered.

Make use of all the available space that wouldn’t be used for anything else; depending on your bed style, you may have some under there; you might also have some under the stairs or behind the sofa.

5. Keep up your great new habits.

Once you’ve gritted your teeth and said goodbye to your old belongings, the last thing you want to do is repeat the process in the future. You are likely to be at a point where you now only have the things that are necessary in your life.

Your environment is said to reflect your mental state, so the less clutter you have around, the less cluttered your mind should feel. If you don’t keep to the ideals that helped you downsize, a smaller space will quickly become cluttered again. What you now have is freedom; a weight off your mind.

packing tape for moving

One way to stay uncluttered is to thoroughly assess all new purchases before you make them. Do you really need that item? If you have one already, are you prepared to throw away the old one? Your bank balance will be healthier for it, too. Now that you’ve prepared yourself and your possessions for downsizing, you can book your packing and moving services to transport that lighter load! That’s it … all boxes are checked and you’re ready for the exciting new life ahead of you.