Tips for Downsizing to a Smaller Home

Downsizing

I have had the privilege over the last couple of years to help several clients downsize their homes. Some were moving out of state and others to local retirement communities.  While each situation was different, there are some things I have learned along the way to begin the task of downsizing. 

1.     Start early with the most personal things

Many moving tasks can be outsourced, but this is the one thing that really can’t be done by others. What pictures and other memorabilia will you take with you? When you are moving to a small apartment you will want to limit what you take with you. Consider digitizing the photos, passing along the baby books and culling down the keepsakes. Start this process early to ensure it gets the proper attention.

2.     Think about what you will need

It is sometimes easier to identify what you will need in your new location first. It will help to identify furniture you want to take with you. Measuring and drawing it out is very helpful. Decide on the larger things first and set aside the smaller things like end tables and lamps for later. 

3.     Get purging

Once you have an idea of the larger items that need to be moved, identify what does not need to be brought with you. I have had clients who planned for months to move and went room by room purging by selling, throwing away or donating items.  They would schedule weekly donation pick-ups and were very familiar with what could go and what had to be thrown away. I have had other clients who order a dumpster and start purging quickly and efficiently with donation pick up after they have gotten rid of what cannot be donated. I also have had clients go through an estate sale and sell as much as they could and donate the rest of what did not sell. 

A word on donations: You cannot donate mattresses or upholstered furniture at most places. 

Selling items takes time. Some people are excellent at it, but it is not something you can do a lot of if you only have a couple of months to move. Keep that in mind and start working early on the larger items you know you would like to sell.

Easy places to start

Medicines – throw away everything that is expired or you rarely use.

Sheets and towels – how many tired towels do we need? Keep it to a few nice ones and get rid of the rest. Animal shelters take towel donations. 

Clothes – if you haven’t worn it in a while, it does not need to go with you. And if you are moving south, you don’t need that many sweaters.

Old technology – get rid of old phones, computers, extra cords and cables.

4.     Your new kitchen        

The kitchen deserves special consideration. If you are moving to a place where some of your meals are going to be provided or your place is smaller, you will not need to take big things with you. A few basics is all you will need. You can let go of what you now use to make big meals or to entertain. If you will have a bigger kitchen and will still be cooking, now is still the time to decide not to bring what you no longer use. If you haven’t used it in the last year or so, then it is probably time to let it got. 

I have learned along the way that downsizing can be a joy once it is done. The process can be made easier if you break it down into small manageable steps, and you start early. If you are thinking of downsizing in the next couple of years, we would love to talk to you about your goals and help you find trustworthy people to help you with the many tasks that need done. 

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