If you’re moving into a smaller home (or seriously need to make space), you need some tips for downsizing. Downsizing your home is not like decluttering, which is a less onerous process and can be done periodically. Downsizing is more drastic and signifies a major change in the space you live in, how you use it and what it contains. Here’s some key tips for downsizing your home.
The first and the most important of the tips for downsizing is to re-prioritize - this always needs to be your starting point. Figure out the bare essentials you’ll need when moving to a smaller house. Think about what you really need and can’t do without – perhaps an antique or a family heirloom? Hand-made items or souvenirs from your travels? Compare these to a skirt you haven’t worn in years or an old stereo. If you find you’re still hoarding old things which can be given to charity, re-prioritize what you need against what is actually a part of your lifestyle.
Similarly to the point above, reassess what you will realistically need in your future home. Before you start packing, go through your home and pick out the things you forgot even existed. Then go through the things you want to keep and ask yourself why. Could it be you want to keep the box of empty ice cream tubs you’ve squirreled away as potential lunch boxes? Reassess their usefulness and think: you can always get more (I swear this isn’t an excuse to go out and buy more ice cream). Recycle them. Remember you’re moving to a smaller home and there’s simply no space for things that can be regained.
3. Whip out the Measuring Tape
One great tip to consider when downsizing your home is to measure your furniture’s dimensions and pair them up with the amount of space you’ll have in your smaller space. There are useful websites you can go to, such as Arrange-a-room or havertys.com , which have software that allows you to map out furniture against the dimensions of your new place. This will make the decision of what to keep and what to give away much easier if you physically can’t see the space for it!
4. Analyze Your New Storage Space
Does your new place have any storage space? A garage? Individual compartments in the car park? Downsizing your home doesn’t just include what’s in your actual house. Remember that you will most likely have large belongings which are essential, but primarily live in storage. I’m thinking lawn mowers and grills. Move these objects first and see how much leftover storage space you have to help you reassess what can come with you in the moving truck.
5. Move Large Items First
Similarly to point 5, another of the useful tips for downsizing is that when you make the move, transport your large furniture first, like beds, sofas and white goods. This helps because you’ll have a better indication of where the smaller things can go. If there is no space for the iddy-biddy negligent items, get rid of them!
6. Categorize and Organize
Before, or even whilst you’re packing, categorize and separate out your belongings according to where they live. By doing this, you may discover that you somehow own three potato mashers. You don’t need three, really. Having two is a stretch in itself. Once you discover all of your duplicates or excess amount of stuff, organize them into piles. Is your pile of lamps bigger than your pile of towels? Instead of keeping an excess amount of stuff just because you can, remember that you can only take what you actually need.
There are also creative ways to downsize. Freecycle.org is a wonderfully philanthropic way of downsizing your house. People give away plenty of weird and wonderful things at Freecycle – there’s often nothing wrong with the stuff that’s on there, but the give-awayers (not sellers, as it’s all free) may simply not have the space and they aren’t valuable enough to be sold. This can work in your benefit. You need to get rid of an old cabinet, and a student somewhere in Pennsylvania needs a cheap place to store their DVDs. Recycle your belongings, help the environment, and your fellow woman!
8. Earn Money Back While You Move
The most beneficial tip for downsizing your home is to sell anything you don’t need, want or have space for. Websites like eBay, Amazon and Craigslist work wonders in today’s world. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Not saying that your stuff is trash, but if space is scarce and there are boxes full of old college books you’re never going to read again, what’s better than seeing some of that money back by selling it online? You could get quite a high return if you sell some of your larger furniture or belongings which won’t make the cut to your new home.
These tips for downsizing show that this is an exercise that needs a fair amount dispassion. You need to be ruthless and lose attachment to items that you may have had around for years, but it will be worth it in the end. It’s surprising how much ‘stuff’ we can learn to live without, don’t you think?