12 Downsizing Tips for Moving
Many people decide to downsize to a smaller house for a variety of reasons. You may be helping with downsizing and moving seniors, downsizing when temporarily moving, or possibly just looking to reduce your cost of living. Downsizing can be a great option, as it cuts down on utility cost and there is less up-keep to worry about. While you will eventually reap the benefits of this change, the actual process can be very stressful and overwhelming. At the end of the day, downsizing doesn’t mean getting rid of the needs you need, but rather it means simplifying your life and your home to only surround yourself in things that are useful or make you happy. Be prepared for everything with these 12 tips for downsizing and moving:
1. Plan Ahead
Losing square feet means you are going to have to get rid of some things. This is not meant to scare you. In fact, it will likely be a very liberating experience. Clutter is linked to increased stress and anxiety, so letting it go will make you feel more in control. It will not alleviate stress if you wait until the last minute to begin the decluttering process. You will be panicked and either bring too much to your new home or end up throwing away things you need. Know your timetable, set time aside for decluttering, and plan ahead to save yourself stress in the long run.
2. Take it Slow
Obviously, this does not mean procrastinate until the last minute. If you try to tackle the decluttering all in one day, you’re going to burn yourself out. Instead, start small by taking it room by room, item by item. Start in the kitchen and go through the pantry and fridge. Get rid of all expired items. Then go through the cupboards. Do you have 30 mugs, but only use the same 5? Time to get rid of a few. Continue this process through the entire kitchen, then move on to the next room.
3. Don’t Go Overboard
Sometimes getting rid of the clutter that has taken over our homes feels so good, we forget that we are going to need some of those items. If you get too carried away, you’ll end up having to buy new items to replace the ones you tossed or sold. You should be okay to get rid of most things in your home but remember not to donate all your silverware.
4. Take an Inventory
If you know what you have, you will know what to get rid of. An inventory lets you track what you have, what you have too much of, and what needs to be purchased or replaced in your new home. Obviously, it would take way too much time and effort to write down everything you have in your home. Start with a simple checklist of the essentials. Make sure nothing on that list is broken, damaged, or duplicated.
5. Track Usage
Take the next few months to track how much you use something. That pasta maker you bought 4 years ago and only used once? Time to let it go. Anything you use at least once a week, or even once a month, is likely something that’s valuable to you in your everyday routine. You’ll find that you barely use half of the stuff you own. We like to keep things because we think they’ll have value to us one day. Tracking helps us realize if those items truly add value to our lives or not.
6. Go by the 1 Year Rule
Have you used (or in the case of clothing, worn) this item in the last year? Do you plan to use it within the next 12 months? Be honest with yourself. If you no longer use it and don’t plan to, consider tossing or donating it.
If you’re downsizing, it’s safe to assume that you will be giving up more space than you’re used to. Keep items that serve multiple purposes, as they will save you space. There’s no shame in storing your cooking sheets in the stove when you aren’t using it.
8. Sell or Donate
Getting rid of your belongings can be a real bummer, so turn it into a feel-good experience. You can donate your items to a place like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a similar local nonprofit organization. This option will make you feel happy, as your items are going toward a good cause. Plus, you can include those charitable donations on your taxes.
Your other option is to sell your belongings. This could be as simple as having a yard sale, but for many people in the US, yard sale seasons is a solid 3 months out of the entire year. Facebook Marketplace is similar to a yard sale. It’s a community-specific forum where you can sell your items to people who live close by. You can also sell your items on reselling apps like eBay, Poshmark, or Mercari. Be aware that unlike with Facebook Marketplace, you may need to ship your items through these apps.
Before you move into your new home, make sure to measure your new place, including doorway width. Then, measure all your furniture. The last thing you want to do is load all of it into a moving truck and drive it over to your new house, only to realize it doesn’t fit. Make certain ahead of time that everything you are bringing has a home in your new place.
If you can, you should digitize as much as possible. This includes old family videos and photos. It’s relatively inexpensive to get your old tapes digitized, and by doing this, you take away the risk of the memories becoming damaged and lost forever. You can get free cloud storage through Google Drive or Dropbox, but if you need more storage, it’s incredibly affordable. You may also choose to keep the physical copies of everything, but give yourself the option to get rid of them, should you choose.
11. Don’t Duplicate
There’s almost no reason to keep two of something in your home, especially if one item does the trick. While going through your home and decluttering, get rid of any duplicates you come across. You probably bought the duplicate when you couldn’t find the original, but in your new, clutter-free home, your original item will be much easier to find.
12. If it’s Special, Put it in Storage
And finally, if something is truly special to you, put it somewhere safe. Your old photos, family heirlooms, and other cherished items are things you are not ready to get rid of, and for good reason. That doesn’t mean that you need to bring them to your new home, where they will take up space and add to the clutter. By choosing a climate-controlled storage unit, your items will be just as safe as if they were in your home, but you won’t have to keep finding places to put them. When you want to look at your old photos, or if you ever find room for your grandmother’s old kitchen table again, they will be right where you left them, and in the same exact condition.
Now that you know these tips for downsizing and moving, you will be ready to get started with your new journey. While downsizing and moving might be stressful and overwhelming at first, you will be amazed at how good it feels to rid yourself of all the clutter you were surrounded with. Your new home will be filled with things that make you happy and will save you much more money. To rent a storage unit during your move, visit the Guardian Storage nearest you.