At some point in your life you may have to look at downsizing your home to move into something smaller. Your children might have grown up and left home and the house is now too big for just the two of you, or you may only need one bedroom instead of two. Whatever the reason, downsizing can be a stressful experience.
In order to make the move and experience as stress-free as possible, here are 10 great tips to make downsizing easier.
10 Great tips to downsize your home with ease
1) Make a list of everything you cannot live without
One of the first things you need to do is to go through your home and work out exactly what you need and cannot live without. It might come as a surprise to learn how much stuff you have accumulated over the years, especially if you have lived in the same home for most of your life.
If you have an exercise bike, but your new place has a gym then will you actually need it? You might have a dining room table that seats six people, but how often will you be entertaining in your new home and will it actually fit? And what about the lawn mower and garden tools? Your new home might not have a garden so those can definitely go.
The best way to start is to make a list of everything you cannot live without and order it by room to keep the list as orderly as possible.
2) Measure your furniture to see what fits
Moving into a smaller property will likely mean that not all of your current furniture will fit. You therefore need to measure all your items that you wish to take, especially sofas, dining tables and beds. You also need to get measurements for the new property or floor plans so you can work out how much space you have and what will fit and what won’t. There’s nothing worse than turning up to your new property with a truck load of furniture only to find that not all of it fits.
3) Start clearing out 3 months before you move
To avoid a rush job it’s best to start sorting through your belongings at least three months before you plan to move. Tackle a closet, a drawer or a room one at a time. Do a little every day and this will make it easier in the long run. If you are not sure whether to keep an item or not, ask a friend for their opinion, or think about when was the last time you used it. If it was over 12 months ago, then you should probably get rid of it.
4) Organise into 3 options
In order to be decisive and reduce the amount of possessions you take with you, you need to split everything you own into three options:
Must haves – belongings you simply cannot live without.
Would like to haves – it would be nice to keep these if there’s room, and they still get used.
Live without – I haven’t used this in over 12 months and very unlikely to use it again.
The ‘would like to haves’ option is most likely to contain the most items so you need to be extra critical on these items. If you have duplicates such as two tin openers, then just limit yourself to one item which works the best. Once you know how many ‘must have’ items you have you can determine how many of the ‘would like to haves’ you can bring with you.
5) Sell your belongings
Once you have decided what belongings you no longer need, the next thing to do is sell them. There are many ways to sell items including:
Have a yard sale
Sell items online using sites like eBay and Gumtree
Auctions for antiques
Any money that you make from selling these items can go towards new furniture if you require a new wardrobe or smaller dining table.
6) Give items away
If you cannot sell items, then instead of throwing them you can always donate them to charity or give them to family, friends, neighbours or even a shelter. Anything that cannot be given away, make sure you recycle responsibly.
7) Get organised
If you begin packing up three months in advance then the likelihood that you will remember what is in each box is slim, especially if there are no labels. To avoid this situation and chaos later down the line, you should pack similar items together, such as kitchen appliances.
Colour coordinating boxes with stickers definitely helps, so yellow for the kitchen or blue for the bathroom. Each box should also be clearly labelled with the contents which helps the unpacking process when you do finally move in.
Make sure that boxes are not too heavy to avoid injuries and boxes collapsing.
8) Pre-arrange your furniture using floor plans
Make life easier when you move in by knowing exactly where everything will go by drawing a furniture layout plan. This will also give you an indication of what will fit. There are some online programs that can help you with this, including Arrange-a-room from Better Homes and Gardens or you can simply draw it.
9) Move systematically
When moving day comes it is important to be systematic. Move the larger items first and place each item in the rooms that they will belong to which will make the unpacking process much easier. Get your friends or family to help to make the move easier and quicker.
10) Time to enjoy
Congratulations – you have successfully downsized your home. It’s now time to put your feet up and enjoy your new home. Not only will you now spend less time doing household chores and cleaning, you will have more time to do all the things that you want to do and perhaps try out a new hobby!