Where to Start When Downsizing

Moving is stressful, but moving to a smaller space has it’s own set of challenges.  Not only is the space you’re going to have to live in going to be smaller, but the amount of your belongings will need to be reduced greatly as well.  Follow these tips to ensure a smoother transition and make sure you are ready for a big step into a small space.

  1. Make a complete inventory of your belongings

    In order to know what you can part with, you need to know what you own.  You can write everything down on paper, if you like the old school method, or you can use a spreadsheet application to create a home inventory list that can be easily edited. Either way, try to be thorough and register all the relevant specifics, such as the current condition and if it’s valuable enough to sell. Not only will such a detailed inventory sheet help you identify duplicate, outdated or unneeded items, but it can also serve as a packing list when the time comes to prepare your belongings for shipment. Plus you will be able to use the same inventory information in order to get an accurate estimate of your moving costs.

  2. Consider all the relevant circumstances

    Even if you like a certain item and have enough space for it in your new home, it may still not be worth moving. There are several crucial factors to take into account when determining the fate of your belongings:

    • Climate. You’ll have little use for a snow blower or a fur-lined coat, for example, if you are moving to a warmer state.
    • Daily routine. You may not have many chances to use your barbecue or lawn mower if you are going to live in an apartment building downtown.
    • Cost of moving. Quite often, it makes much more financial sense to sell an item of yours and buy something more suited to your new surroundings than to ship the old piece to your new home.
    • Value. When it comes to rare antiques, valuable artwork, expensive equipment, precious family heirlooms, high-quality pieces, or any other items you are really attached to, you will most probably prefer not to part with them, however restricted your available living space may be.
    • Practicality. If an item is worn-out, outdated or in need of repair, you should consider leaving it behind. The same applies to anything you haven’t used in over a year, don’t like or have duplicates of.
  3. Organize your belongings

    Decluttering your home should be your top priority when planning to move to a smaller place and is a crucial part of selling your home. Go through every nook and cranny of your house, open every drawer and cabinet, look under the beds and inside the closet, and sort out everything you find in these catch-alls for miscellaneous items and categorize them into several piles:

    • Keep. Useful, valuable or coveted items you are taking with you.
    • For sale. Unneeded items in good condition you can sell in a yard sale or on sites like eBay or Craigslist to make some extra money.
    • Give-away. Unneeded items in good condition you’d like to donate to charity or give away to family or friends.
    • Throw-away. Damaged or worn-out items that are unfit to be sold or donated and should be taken to a recycling center or dump.

    Keep the items you’re selling, donating or giving away in a separate room or area of the house, so they don’t get in your way and you don’t think about them. Get rid of them as soon as possible, as it’s very easy to change your mind and start pulling some pieces out of the pile, compromising your downsizing efforts.  It will also make it easier to stage for the sale of your house.

  4. Start early and stay resolute

    Keep in mind that waiting until the last minute to downsize your home is very likely to result in severe mistakes.  You may discard something you actually need, you may not be able to sell your used items if you are pressed for time, or you may get overwhelmed and just toss everything into the moving boxes without sorting it.  Start paring down your possessions as soon as you decide to move to a smaller home as it can only aid in the sale of your house. Don’t reconsider the fate of an item you have already agreed to let go of. Downsizing your life will only make it easier.

These steps are best taken before  you list your home to allow for better staging and photos of the property you’re selling.  There are many reasons to downsize, but if you stay positive and focus on the benefits, while keeping on track it can be rewarding in the end.  For more tips and tricks, call Helen today at 847.967.0022 or email [email protected].