Living in a large home is great for some families, but for others the cost and energy required to maintain them is burdensome. That’s why 60 percent of Americans living in homes over 2,000 square feet in size say they’d rather move to a smaller home next time, according to a survey last year from Trulia.
Moving into a smaller house can be a great move (pun intended) financially and mentally. After all, less square footage means lower utility bills and less space for clutter to take root. But the process of downsizing to a smaller home can be even more exhausting than a regular move. That’s why we’ve collected these seven home downsizing tips to keep your stress levels down and your focus up.
Tip 1: Take Inventory of Your Stuff
This is especially handy if you’re downsizing to a smaller home. Go through your belongings and decide what to keep, throw out, donate or sell.
“This task may seem daunting, so try breaking it up by taking it one room or zone at a time. You can even spread it out over several days. You set the timeline and pace that works best for you.”
Samantha Pregenzer | Simply Organized
Bear in mind that to thoroughly declutter and downsize your possessions, you have to separate your wants from your needs.
“When downsizing, it’s important to remember that it’s just stuff,” says Bee Heinemann of Vant Panels. “The reality is it’s often not the physical things that form the attachment, but rather the memory associated with the furniture or china.”
Downsizing Pro Tip: Heinemann suggests sending an email out to family members and friends with photos of what you have and give them a timeline to come get anything they might want.
Tip 2: Minimize Duplicate Items
Look at what you have multiples of and only keep your favorites. The kitchen is a hotbed for duplicate items, and by extension a hotbed for downsizing. Do you really need 10 different spatulas? And unless you have guests over regularly, you most likely don’t need multiple sets of drinking glasses or silverware.
Also, browse through your pantry and spice cabinet. Toss out any food or ingredients that have passed their shelf life or you haven’t used in a while. You’ll be surprised how much you get rid of.
Tip 3: Use the “Free Books” Tactic
If you have a bunch of knickknacks that probably aren’t worth throwing on eBay, simply put them on the curb with a sign saying “Free!” Depending on your neighborhood, you’ll probably wake up the next morning to find the items gone. This is particularly useful for books, cabinets and most types of furniture.
Tip 4: Make the Most of Storage Space
Storage space is your friend, so make the most of it. Hanging shoe racks, the inside of ottomans, the space underneath your bed and built-in shelves are all great all-purpose storage options.
There are also many ways to maximize the storage capacity in your attic. Try out a few of these attic storage ideas to find a home for all the other stuff you want to bring with you.
Tip 5: Sell Your Belongings
An old downsizing tip to keep in mind: One person’s trash is someone else’s treasure. If you’re planning on getting rid of most of your stuff, consider having a yard sale. Some of the best items to sell include furniture, kid toys and clothing, as well as power tools and lawn equipment.
Whatever you don’t sell you can throw online. There are plenty of great selling sites, including mainstays like eBay and Craigslist, but there are a few niche sites that might give you a bigger bang for your buck:
- OfferUp: This app makes it easy to sell furniture, décor and practically anything else to local buyers.
- Poshmark: Great for selling old clothing and accessories from fashion brands.
- Discogs & Audiogon: Have a stash of records or a vintage stereo gathering dust in the garage? These sites will help you find the right price for your particular pressings and equipment, as well as provide a marketplace of eager audiophiles.
Downsizing Pro Tip: “For me, when I have big ticket items to sell and am not willing to negotiate on the price, I opt to sell them on Craigslist or eBay,” Pregenzer said.
Tip 6: Start Filling Out Your Closets and Storage Areas
While downsizing for a smaller space can be liberating, it’s easy to go overboard and end up getting rid of stuff you may need. One way to avoid this is to fill up the closets in your new place with all of your best items, such as clothing, shoes and towels. If you end up with a lot of leftover items in less than great condition, you’ll know you can pare things down more.
Look at the other storage areas in your new home and follow the same process. What are the best books, electronics, tools, etc. you use and do you have enough storage for all of them?
Tip 7: Bust Out the Tape Measure
If you’re downsizing to a smaller home, you may not have enough room to fit alt he furniture you want to keep. During the downsizing process, measure your furniture to make sure it will properly fit in your new place.
The last thing you want is to move a sectional sofa, only to discover that it doesn’t fit in the new layout. Measuring your stuff will give you more of an idea of what you can take with you and what you’ll have to part with.
While the thought of moving into a smaller house may be nerve-wracking, just think of all the good that will come from it. Downsizing to a smaller home means saving a lot of things – time, money, space – but most importantly it means taking control of your possessions and learning to live life to the fullest with less.
Planning on downsizing your home? Take a look at our Home Project Guides to learn how to efficiently declutter your home and more. Have a few tips on downsizing to a smaller home? Share them in the comments below!