When it comes to relocating, downsizing can be one of the most difficult challenges an individual or family will face. Whether you are downsizing out of necessity, for practical reasons or even because you want to, the task of moving into a smaller home can be complicated, frustrating and, at times, emotionally exhausting.
So what can you do to prepare for the task of downsizing? How can you make the downsizing process easier?
These tips will help you tackle downsizing like a pro!
10 Helpful Downsizing Tips
1. Make a List of Important Documents You Can’t Part With
Accumulated papers and documents can cause lots of clutter in your home and it may be tempting to simply throw them all away when it comes time to downsize. However, you’ll want to take a careful look through any documents and materials you plan to throw away.
Before you start to declutter and recycle all of those papers you have around the house, make a list of documents you absolutely should not throw away. Things like marriage certificates and birth certificates, passports, home and car titles, diplomas, and important legal documents must be kept in a safe, secure place and should not be discarded, no matter how small your new home is! Finding and organizing all of these documents first is highly recommended!
2. Keep All Important Irreplaceable Items With Sentimental Value
There are certain possessions you just should not part with. If you’re in a downsizing frenzy it may be tempting to toss some items you’d be better off holding onto,. You don’t want to get rid of something important and then regret it later. For this reason, it’s very important to have a sense of which of your possessions you absolutely cannot part with right off the bat.
Certain items that have sentimental value and/or cannot be replaced should not be sacrificed when it comes to downsizing. Make a list, label the items – do whatever you have to do to be sure that these items are not discarded or donated during the downsizing process. Plan to find places for these items in your new home.
3. Start Getting Rid of Things Early
Even if you are planning to downsize a couple of years down the road, now is the time to start getting rid of things. There are likely items around your current home that you no longer need or want and could easily part with well before you move. Plus, the sooner you start getting rid of things, the less overwhelming it will be as your relocation date gets closer.
Having a garage sale (or two) during the time leading up to your move can be a great way to get rid of things while bringing in a little extra cash. Check out our tips for having a successful, profitable garage sale!
4. Create a Strategy – And Stick To It
As the move into your new, smaller home gets closer, create a plan for how you are going to go about eliminating and sorting through items. Whether it’s a schedule you need to follow to help you ensure you go through everything, rules for deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, or a room by room to do list, having a plan will make the process of downsizing feel much more manageable.
Once you have a strategy, stick to it!
5. Donate, Don’t Dump
Getting rid of some of your possessions can be tough emotionally. Letting go of items you like or things that remind you of good times you had is certainly a challenge – though remember, you don’t have to get rid of everything! Be sure to keep items that are irreplaceable or full of sentimental value (see tip #2).
Instead of dumping the items that are special but not special enough to keep, donate them! Passing the items along to a friend, relative, or someone in need who will use and enjoy them as you did essentially gives your possessions a second life – and makes it much easier to part with them!
6. Brush Up On the Perks of Living in a Small Home
When the prospect of downsizing and moving into a new home gets overwhelming and feels nearly impossible (and it probably will at some point), stop and think about the benefits of moving into a smaller home.
From having less to clean to saving on utilities every month, there are so many perks of living in a small home. Plus, moving into a new home of any size is exciting! Take a few minutes to reflect on the positives, then get back to executing your downsizing strategy.
7. Plan to Invest in a Storage Unit
As you are in the process of downsizing, do a little bit of research and find a self-storage provider near your new home. As the move gets closer, gauge your progress and decide if it will be worth investing in a storage unit. If there is any question as to whether all of your stuff will fit in your new house, spring for the storage unit. It will save you a lot of headache in the end.
By planning to invest in a storage unit, you take some of the pressure off of yourself to get rid of things. This will help to make the downsizing process easier and less stressful.
8. Measure Your Furniture
When you are moving into a new place, there is nothing more frustrating than getting a large piece of furniture to the house only to realize that it won’t fit where you’ve imagined it’s going to go. If you are downsizing from a large house to a significantly smaller one, there is a good chance that you’ll have to get rid of at least some of your furniture.
Before making the move, measure your furniture carefully and take measurements of the spaces where you intend for the furniture to go in your new home. You should also size up any doorways or tight spaces the furniture may have to fit through. Knowing for sure that your items will fit into the house can give you peace of mind. And, if your favorite furniture items won’t fit in the house, knowing ahead of time will give you time to figure out what to do about it.
9. Organize Your Belongings Before the Move
Strategic storage is imperative when it comes to downsizing. If you’re moving into a house that’s smaller than the one you currently occupy, you should plan ahead for having a good number of your items stored away.
Take the initiative to do this as you are sorting through items before the move. Invest in high quality storage boxes. (Clear ones are especially helpful so you can see the items inside when you are inevitably searching for them later!) Fill the boxes and organize the items that will likely be in storage before the move.
10. Assess Your Needs
Believe it or not, you may need some new items to furnish and decorate your new home even if you are downsizing. As you are sifting through what you have an reflecting on the new space you’ll be living in, take stock of what you have and what you might still need.
Reward yourself for your diligent work to get rid of old, unnecessary things by purchasing a few new items you absolutely love – and need – for your new place. Remember – downsizing doesn’t have to be all about getting rid of things. It’s also about starting out in a new space with a clean slate and making it feel like home.
Downsizing in Upstate NY? Contact Heritage Custom Builders!
If you’re planning to downsize and purchase a smaller home in the greater Capital Region, consider working with Heritage Custom Builders! We can help you find – or build – your ideal home in one of our great local communities.
Nervous about downsizing and want to make sure you home still has certain features you’ve come to love? We can work with you to design a home that meets all of your needs and will leave you feeling excited about the move to a smaller house! Looking for some ideas? Check out our gallery of new home models to get a sense of what might work best for you.