How To Make Downsizing Easier

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.

Tip 1:  Make a Plan

There will be a lot to organise before your move, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get prepared.

Tip 2: Take Inventory of Your Stuff

Go through your belongings and decide what to keep, throw out, donate or sell.  If this task seems daunting, then try to break it down into one room or zone at a time, and remember you don’t have to do it all in one go.

As you sift through your belongings, create four piles: keep, sell, donate, and trash. You need time to organize a garage sale or sell things on line, which is a good reason to start the process several months before you move.

Follow the one-year rule: If you haven’t used something in the last year, donate or sell it. It’s tempting to hang onto things you once loved but no longer use or think you might use someday. But the truth is if you haven’t used a particular item in the last year, you’re unlikely to use it in the next year. Or ever. Besides, you can make extra cash for your move by selling unused stuff.

Tip 3: Minimize Duplicate Items

Look at what you have multiples of and only keep your favourites. The kitchen is a hotbed for duplicate items. 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 4: Make the Most of Storage Space & Maximise Vertical 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: Use Your Tape Measure

If you’re downsizing to a smaller home, you may not have enough room to fit all the 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 big 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.

Tip 6: Digitize Everything You Can

Scan the most important documents and recycle the rest.

Old video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, photos, and crucial paper documents can be digitized and saved to the cloud or a local hard drive to free up space. You can fit your most important documents, such as birth certificates and social security cards, in a single folder.  The rest could be scanned and then shredded if you don’t need hard copies.

Tip 7: Avoid Renting a Storage Unit If Possible

No one rents a storage unit thinking to themselves, “I plan to keep paying this rent for the next 10 years.” Yet that often happens.

Storage units enable the bad habit of keeping things you don’t use or need — and paying for the privilege. If there are items that you don’t move into your new home, you should sell it, donate it, or trash it. For sentimental possessions you no longer use but can’t bear the thought of ditching, consider giving them to a friend or family member, or take a photo.

Tip 8: Use Multi-functional Furniture

Most of us only have people staying over occasionally, so instead of having a spare room with a bed in it, a futon or fold out sofa would provide an extra bed when you need it, and a functional living area when you don’t.  A dining table could fold down to become a wall bench with storage underneath.  Some coffee tables can fit folding chairs or smaller tables underneath them and are a great space saver.

Tip 9: Get an Objective Opinion

If you have some things you just aren’t sure about, such as clothes you’re not sure are in style or décor that you aren’t sure you want anymore, then get a second opinion from someone who can look at it with an objective eye. Sometimes, it takes hearing it from someone else to validate what we already know but don’t want to admit.

Tip 10: Less is More

Once you’re settled into your new home, be vigilant not to let too much stuff accumulate, and maybe try a ‘one in, one out’ rule.

With these top tips, we hope your move goes smoothly.  Our team of estate agents in Aylesbury are always on hand with good advice. Get in touch today.

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