The reasons to upsize or downsize a home are as diverse as each individual family circumstance, but one qualm of moving into a smaller home is – what are you going to do with all of your belongings? Whether you’re an empty nester, are downsizing homes for a lower maintenance lifestyle, or evoking a new sense of minimalism, here are a few tips for an easier transition into your smaller home.
Follow the De-Cluttering Mantra
If you haven’t used it in the past year, it needs to go. This should be one of the first steps when you know you’ll be downsizing, as it will likely be one of the longest parts of the process. Tackle this task room-by-room with three categorizations: to keep, to sell, and to donate.
Be honest with yourself in terms of items that are necessities and items that are just taking up space.
Map Out Your New Home, Townhome, Condo, Etc.
Draw a floor plan with precise dimensions of each room in your new place. You should also take measurements of doorways and hallways – nothing is more frustrating than moving a bulky item just to find there is no way you can even get it inside or into its correct place. Now it’s time determine if you have the space to house your larger furniture items. Ditch the pieces that just won’t work in your new home.
Consider Your Storage Options
One of the big downsides of downsizing is a small home typically comes with less ample storage space. Will you have a garage, basement or storage area in your home or will you consider renting out a storage unit? How do the kitchen cupboards and closets compare to your current home?
Go Through Sentimental Items
It’s amazing the amount of items one household can amass in a lifetime. From boxes of family photos and children’s artwork to family heirlooms and keepsakes, downsizing sentimental items can be difficult to do guilt-free. Just remember, you can hold on to memories without holding on to a possession.
Start by sorting through items that you simply cannot bear to get rid of – think of items that you would save in a fire – but still limit yourself. If the storage space in your new house limits you to a couple boxes, only fill a couple boxes. For photos and VHS home videos, consider digitizing.
Many home organization and de-cluttering specialists say that giving away a sentimental item can ease the pain of parting with it. If you’re an empty nester, ask your children to come over and go through items they would like to keep at their home. Aim to re-home items that are valuable or especially important to you and your family.
Duplicate items are especially commonplace in established households. Go through your kitchen cupboards, linen closet, bathroom, etc. and get rid of items that you have duplicates of. A rule of thumb for linens and towels is to have two sets of sheets for each bed and four bath towels per person.
Remember, you are downsizing for a reason. While the tasks at hand can seem daunting, the change of lifestyle can be equally liberating, if you approach it correctly. For more information about downsizing your home, download our free Upsizing & Downsizing Guide.