Moving home is already one of the most stressful life events that people can go through, but downsizing has its own worries and uncertainties.
Follow these seven steps on how to downsize your home and make a move as stress-free as possible.
How to Downsize Your Home: 7 Steps
More and more Americans are choosing to downsize their home later in life. People often downsize because of retirement, divorce, relocation, the kids left home, or the living space is just too big. Whatever the reason, it often makes financial sense to downsize and move to a more economical home.
In 2019, the National Association of Realtors reported that people in the age group 73 to 93 were the most movers because of the desire to own a smaller home. They were closely followed by those aged 64 to 72.
Being prepared for several months before moving and following a checklist can ease the stress. These seven steps take a good look at what can be done to make the downsizing process as seamless and stress-free as possible.
Make the Decision to Downsize
It’s difficult to imagine not living in the home where you raised your kids, spent decades befriending neighbors, and made it exactly how you wanted it. The emotional attachment is probably what puts most people off downsizing. Whatever your reason for moving to a smaller property, try to think about it as a new chapter and an excellent opportunity to explore new areas, or meet new people.
Decide What to Do with Items
Depending on how drastic your downsize is, the next obvious question to ask yourself is – what belongings will you keep and take with you to your new home, and what you will dispose of in one way or another? You should have an idea of the size of your new property, even if you’ve not chosen one yet, for example, based on what you can afford, or what’s available in a new area.
Discuss valuable items with a partner or even a friend to get a second opinion about the potential worth and the best process if you decide to sell.
Large items should be thought about carefully. Will they fit in your new home, and how easy will they be to transport? If items are nearing the end of their life, weigh up whether it’s worth keeping them, or if it’s easier to get the items taken away, and new ones purchased when you arrive at your new home. For example, washing machines, fridges, etc., are heavy items that will cost a lot for professional movers to transport.
Be strict about what you take, but also, make sure you don’t regret getting rid of that prized collection that’s taken you 20 years to amass.
Use Dividing Stations
Decluttering your belongings can start at any time, and in fact, the sooner you do it, the more options and the less stress you’ll have when making the move.
If you have space, clear a room or area to start collating items that you want to:
- Give away to family/friends
- Gift to charity
- Throw away (anything that goes into the trash pile should first be considered for recycling).
Each option might have different variables too. For example, items to be sold might be done through specialist traders, eBay, a garage/yard sale, a flea market, etc. Selling items is a great way to earn a bit of extra cash to help with the move.
TIP – Items can be disposed of in batches to save time.
Go Through Each Room
Go around your home, room by room, with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t just think that you have a chest of drawers to take with you. Instead, go through all draws, cupboards, nooks, and crannies, especially those you rarely enter and that accumulate junk. Don’t forget your attic, basement, shed, garage, closets, shelves, etc.
How to Downsize Furniture
Start by thinking about what will fit into your new home, or only what furniture you just don’t like anymore. Alternatively, what furniture can you not live without, or what would upset you if you didn’t take it?
Downsizing is a great excuse to redesign your décor and soft furnishings. If you already know where you’re moving to, try and get measurements and even make a floor plan. Start to get rid of your furniture as soon as possible by using the methods mentioned.
Consider Storage Options
For those people who simply can’t decide about what to take, or don’t want to get rid of anything, for example, they want to pass valuable belongings onto family through their will; there are various options for storage.
Onsite storage containers can cost as little as several thousand dollars and are a secure way to keep belongings close by. Off-home storage facilities are another option for those with less or no, land.
Often, it’s easier to pare down further once you have moved and had time to think about what you need, what’s truly useful, or what you want to keep.
Use a Checklist
Make use of free online checklists or organize yourself on spreadsheets. Not only will this help you to remember everything you need to do, but it will also give you a sense of achievement during a stressful time.
By breaking down each step, dealing with the large things, and getting increasingly granular will have you ready to move into your new home in no time.
Has this guide on how to downsize your home been helpful? Have you any other advice for our readers? Let us know in the comments section below.