Have you been thinking about downsizing your home? If yes, then maybe now is the time to finally do it.
Like everything else in life, moving into a smaller home has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Yes, you’ll have to put up with living in a more limited space but you should be able to save money each month – a fact that eventually tips the scales in favor of downsizing for many people.
It’s never easy to declutter your life, but once you summon the courage to do it, you’ll be thankful that you did it. So, what is the best way to downsize your home?
Follow these 10 steps to downsize your home when moving:
1. Understand the benefits of downsizing
Downsizing to a smaller home has a number of indisputable advantages that are too substantial to ignore. Interested in enjoying greater financial freedom and much more free time to do the things you love?
- Financial freedom. Reducing the square footage of your home will mean that you should be able to save much more money in the long run. A smaller place usually means a lower mortgage payment or monthly rent so you’ll save cash every month. The property taxes should be lower too.
- Lower utility bills. A smaller home will be easier and much cheaper to heat during the cold months and cool down during the hot months of the year. And that automatically means reduced energy bills for you.
- More free time. How do you get more free time when downsizing your house? It’s simple – you just spend less time on maintaining the properly, both inside and on the outside, including cleaning it on a regular basis.
2. Sense the right time to downsize your home
Before you decide to move to a smaller home, you have to be sure that downsizing your home is the right option for you under the circumstances. In other words, you need to make sure you’re not making a mistake that you will come to regret after the move.
When is a good time to downsize your home?
- Your disposable income seems insufficient to cover all the bills and you’re struggling financially as a result.
- You just retired or are retiring soon, and you’re looking for a good way to have your pension and savings last for a long, long time.
- Your current home is too spacious for your needs.
- You crave for more free time but are unable to find it due to the constant tasks of maintaining your large home.
You should be able to feel the right time to downsize, and when you do, there’s really no point in putting off that crucial decision for any longer – just get it over with and you should be thankful later that you did.
3. Use a moving checklist to manage your time
One of the best tips for downsizing when moving is to start working on the required tasks as early as possible because it’ll be a mad race with Time as soon as your decision to move to a smaller home has become final.
To manage your time in the best possible way, you’re going to need a MOVING CHECKLIST – a detailed to-do list with all the move-related tasks that you have to do to finish the move successfully.
Downsizing to a smaller house can take a long time to complete because of all the clutter you’ll need to take care of before moving into a place with more limited living area and storage space.
Don’t lose precious time wondering what you should do next – instead, follow a personalized moving checklist to declutter and downsize your home on time.
4. Create a floor plan of the new place
Before you move out of your place, it’s important to know which larger items will actually fit in the new home. Remember that the new house or apartment will have a more limited living space than your current one, so you can’t possibly take all of the household items with you.
One good way to avoid making any critical mistakes is to create a floor plan of the new home. Ask the estate agent or the landlord for a layout sketch of the space in the place you’re moving into and use it to make an accurate 3D model with the help of an online tool or a specialized mobile app.
Then, measure up your furniture pieces, household appliances, and other big items in your current home and see whether and how they will fit into that new smaller place. Bear in mind that a floor plan will give very valuable information before the move and prevent costly judgment errors on your part.
5. Sort out your things into 5 categories
A floor plan will only tell you what you already know – you won’t be able to pack up and move everything you’ve got in the current home simply because the new place is not big enough. Therefore, the only logical solution is to sort out your things in advance and get rid of anything that you don’t really need or never liked much in the first place.
Go into each room and sort out the items, one by one, into one of these 5 categories:
- TAKE. Those are all the must-take things that you won’t leave behind no matter how small the destination place is.
- SELL. The cash from selling some gently used items which you don’t need anymore will go toward your moving budget.
- GIFT TO FRIENDS. If you know for a fact that a good friend of yours will be happy to have an item you’re not moving, then gift it to them as a token of your friendship.
- DONATE. Do the right thing and help your community or complete strangers by donating gently used things that you won’t be moving to the new place.
- RECYCLE. Throw away for recycling things that are too used up or broken to serve anybody any good.
6. Use the 12-month decluttering rule
You’ve already made up your mind to downsize your home and there’s no going back now. During the must-do decluttering task, you’re bound to find yourself unsure what to do with specific items – on one hand, you’ll want to hold on to them because you might need in the future but on the other hand, you know that moving them will increase the moving costs and you’ll have a hard time finding enough space to store them after the move.
When unsure about whether or not to take something with you, ask yourself if you’ve used that thin in the last 12 months or so. If the answer is NO, then moving experts advise that you get rid of it prior to packing simply because you don’t really need it.
Use that 12-month decluttering rule as a guide but don’t be afraid to disregard it in some special cases.
7. Don’t move any furniture
One of the things to consider when downsizing your home is that most furniture pieces are too large and as such, they will take plenty of space in the new home. And since you’re downsizing to a smaller house or apartment, the living space there will be somewhat or very limited, so you may wish to seriously reconsider your decision to move furniture items into that new place.
In addition to the insufficient space issue, moving furniture to a new home is a pricey decision as well due to the enormous weight and huge dimensions of some of the furniture units. Also, some furniture pieces may not even match the interior design of the place you’re moving into – yet another reason to leave large furniture behind, especially when you’re moving long distance.
A floor plan can help you visualize which furniture items will actually fit the new place if you do make up your mind to move some of them with you when downsizing to a smaller home.
8. Get rid of all unwanted items
Downsizing your home is all about reducing the number of items you move between the two homes. And now that you’ve inventoried and sorted out all of your possessions, it’s time to get rid of the ones you’re NOT taking with you.
If you’ve got enough time until Moving day, then think about organizing a profitable garage sale where you’ll try to sell all the things you don’t need or you had to let go due to space shortage in the new house. Selling some of the items online is another option that should bring in some fresh cash during an expensive house move.
Donate to charity gently used items so that you show that you care about your community. Don’t forget that helping people in need is always a noble thing to do. Needless to say, don’t hesitate to gift items in good condition to some of your friends if they happen to be interested in them or you know that they will enjoy them.
9. Pack by yourself to reduce moving costs
Downsizing your home to save money in the future is a wonderful idea – an excellent opportunity to get greater financial freedom in the long run. However, you should also be frugal during the house move and try to cut moving costs any way you can.
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to save money when moving house is to pare down your belongings and move only the things you do intend to use in the future. And assuming that you’ve already done that, the second-best cost-saving advice is to pack your stuff by yourself.
Seriously, why should you pay professional movers to pack your clothes, shoes, and books when you can manage it perfectly fine on your own? Don’t pay for professional packing services unless you’re moving specialty items that do require special packing care.
10. Manage the storage space in the new home
Because the living space and storage area in the new home will be less than what you’ve had until now, proper space management will become critically important as soon as you move into the smaller house or apartment.
There are several tricks you can use to create extra space in the new home:
- Use multi-functional furniture with built-in storage space inside – beds with drawers underneath, tables with storage room inside them, and so on.
- Make use of the vertical space in the rooms – install floor-to-ceiling shelves or cabinets, install shelves over doors to use that overlooked space, place storage containers under the bed or on top of long furniture units, etc.
Maximizing the storage space after downsizing is an important task that may take months to bring to a successful end. Be open to new space management ideas that will let you keep more things in your living space without making it look too cluttered.
Bonus tip: Use a good mover to transport your items
One thing is sure – you’ll have plenty of things to worry about when downsizing your home. So, save yourself some extra worries by using the services of a professional moving company to transfer your items to the new home quickly and damage-free. Get a free moving quote and let top-rated moving professionals take the stress of moving off your shoulders.