Years ago, you might have started a family and decided to move into a big home. But once your kids moved out, you took a look around and thought to yourself, “do I really need all this space?” Don’t fret, you’re not alone.
Downsizing has become more popular than ever as homeowners have realized that living larger doesn’t necessarily mean living better. Once you find the perfect home to downsize to, whether it’s a condo, a townhome, or just a smaller space than what you’re living in now, the real work begins. Downsizing can be overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up 6 fool-proof tips that’ll prepare you for moving day and help you downsize like a pro.
Tip #1: Take Photos of Your Home
A photo is worth a thousand words, and in this case, it may be worth a lot more. If you’re having trouble sorting through your belongings, take a few photos of your home. Not only will these pictures serve as memories for years to come, they’ll help you narrow down the items worth keeping. Glance at the photos and ask yourself, “what are my eyes drawn to and what do they skip over?” This will help determine what to keep and which items to bid farewell.
Tip #2: Do Research
Start researching moving and junk removal companies in the area, and seek advice from friends and family who’ve recently downsized. Recommendations are always helpful when you’re searching for a service that’s reliable and within your budget. Remember to weigh your options and decide on a moving company that works for your needs. You’ll need to account for the cost of junk removal when budgeting for your move.
Tip #3: Start Decluttering ASAP
Decluttering when downsizing can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We suggest starting as early as possible, with three months ahead as a general rule of thumb, as sorting through 30+ years’ worth of stuff can take a while.
While decluttering, assess your belongings room by room, and identify what to keep, sell, and donate. Think about how much space you have in your new home, and if that item serves a purpose at this point in your life. If you’re struggling to let go of belongings, create a list of must-keep items, while referring to the photos in Tip #1 to help guide you.
Tip #4: Organize and Digitize as You Go
Purchase trays to organize drawers housing small items once you unpack, then work your way into the mountain of files you’ve been avoiding. Papers and files can build up excessively over the years, so be sure to grab your shredder and dedicate some time to disposing of old documents that are available online and tax-related paperwork past seven years old. This is also a great time to scan all other documents into organized digital files which can be backed up on an external hard drive. For essential physical copies such as birth certificates, create a designated safe space for them in your new home.
Tip #5: Donate, Sell, Store
Once you’ve compiled the items that aren’t worth keeping, donate them to your local charity, sell them online or host a garage sale. This will make packing the items you want to keep much easier.
If you find yourself struggling to throw anything away, consider getting a storage unit or consult family and friends in the area who can house some of your items in the interim. Access Storage offers cost-friendly storage solutions by connecting you with available units near you. Just enter your postal code, city, or address and you’ll find verified locations that may have a garage, basement, or warehouse you can use.
Tip #6: Consider Your New Lifestyle
Now that you’ve sorted your belongings and removed any unwanted items, it’s time to finish packing up your home. Think about the new environment you’re moving into and the atmosphere you want to create. Create a master list of inventory, including family heirlooms, and a labeling system of what’s been boxed to keep yourself organized. This will also help you visualize which items will be in your new home, and where they need to be placed. At this time, order storage pieces for your new home and schedule deliveries for the week of your move. Downsizing into a smaller space requires more organization, so using space effectively and maximizing storage is critical.
For some helpful insight on moving, check out our ultimate moving guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of your big day.