10 Tips For Downsizing in the New YearMarch 02, 2023 - Updated May 22, 2023
One of the best things about starting a new year is getting a fresh start. For many people, that can include downsizing to a smaller space. People downsize for various reasons, including kids leaving home, moving to a new city, or the need to let go of a home with more space than needed. But no matter what your reason, downsizing to a smaller home has become a popular trend.
But even under the best circumstances, downsizing can be stressful. And depending on how much you’ve accumulated over the years, it can also take time, so it’s essential to recognize that and follow a plan.
If downsizing to a move-in ready home is something you’ve been thinking about, this article can offer some simple tips on how to downsize your home in an easy and manageable way to reduce stress and get the job done.
1. Get finances in order
When preparing for a move, it’s a good idea to get your finances in order. Start by making a list of moving costs and other payments that you may need to account for. If you have a lot of debts across credit cards, car payments and property loans, it can be confusing keeping payment details organized. Start with the big ones first and make sure you have an optimized payment plan. For any extraneous credit card debts, look into consolidating through a personal loan to start your downsized financials on a clean slate. You can also utilize the loan to help pay some or all of the moving costs.
2. Get started now
Although you’d like to get it all done in a weekend, most likely, it’s going to take a lot more time to declutter your current home. To make the task as stress-free as possible, take an honest look at what you have and start with a plan. Think about the space you’re moving to, and list what you want to take that will fit in that space.
An easy way to quickly determine what you need to get rid of is to think about each room. For example, if you have a three-bedroom house and you’re moving to a two-bedroom house, one-bedroom, and everything in it has to go.
3. Start with the big stuff
Downsizing to a smaller home can often mean letting go of larger items such as furniture, appliances, and workbenches. Selling, donating, and tossing those items can be an easy way to get started.
Some great ways to sell include:
- Yard sale
- Offer up
- Let go
- Facebook Marketplace
4. Work room by room
Tackling one room at a time can help you feel more organized and productive. Start with the smallest room first, such as the laundry room, bathrooms, and closets, where you can move quickly, then move into bedrooms, the office, and the kitchen.
5. Organize items into toss and keep categories
Going through personal items can tug on your heartstrings and take a lot more time than you think it will. To manage it all, you’ll need to itemize your things into toss and keep categories. It can help if you don’t think about it too much. If something has been put away for a significant amount of time, you probably won’t miss it.
6. Only keep what you use and need
When we go through our things and come across something we’ve had on the top shelf and forgot we had, it’s a good sign we don’t need to keep it. For example, that china from your grandmother you’ve had for years but never used. You may feel sentimental about it but if you don’t use it anyway, someone else may. Reaching out to family members can make it easier for you to let it go.
7. Shred unneeded paperwork
No one wants to move with boxes of old papers you don’t need. So take time to find shred events in your area to get rid of any old paper work, and put things like tax documents and important documents in a safe place that’s clearly labeled.
8. Donate freely
As you go through each room and declutter, set aside items to donate. Remember, you’ll be able to donate almost anything, including clothing, shoes, books, DVDs, and appliances, to furniture and outdoor recreation equipment.
Places to donate include:
9. Pass it down
When you have sentimental items, it can be tough to part with them, but if you’re downsizing, you may not have a place for them in your new living space. In this case, ask family members if they want the items and pass them on.
10. Consider climate
If you’re moving from a state where you get cold winters like NY to a warmer climate like Florida, for example, there’s a good chance you’ll be safe ditching that heavy coat and winter clothing, and you probably will be safe giving away the snow shovel. As you go through your house, keep the new climate in mind and get rid of anything you won’t need.
Downsizing for any reason can be challenging and can take an emotional toll. Some of it is due to uncertainty and fear, and some may be from the feeling of leaving it behind. One way to help is to find things about your new home that you’re excited about and focus on what you have to look forward to there. It can be an exciting and adventurous time.