The Only Guide You’ll Need on How to DOWNSIZE Your Home
6 Tips on How to Downsize
Are you planning to downsize your home but don't know where to start? Downsizing can be a daunting process, but with the right mindset and strategies, it can also be a liberating and rewarding experience. One of the most important things to keep in mind when downsizing is to give yourself enough time to plan and declutter your belongings. Rushing through the process can be overwhelming and lead to poor decision-making. Read on below as we share with you our top 6 tips for making your downsizing journey a success.
Create a Timeline
When downsizing your home, staying organized and on track is key. Creating a timeline with important milestones and decluttering goals for each week can help you stay on top of your progress. By breaking down the process into manageable steps, you can ensure that you're making steady progress towards your overall goal of downsizing.
For instance, if you plan to downsize your home in one month, you can break it down into four weekly goals. Here’s an example:
Take Inventory of your belongings
Sort through smaller spaces (laundry rooms, bedrooms, kitchen, etc.)
Decide what to keep & what to toss (Create 3 piles : keep, throw away, donate)
Sort through bigger spaces (attic, basement, garage, etc.)
Decide what to keep & what to toss (Create 3 piles : keep, throw away, donate)
Continue decluttering as needed
Schedule what you need for the things that aren’t coming with you to your new home (rent a dumpster, start a yard sale, donate, etc.)
Pack items for new home
Take Inventory of Your Belongings
When downsizing to a smaller home or moving to an apartment, taking inventory of your belongings is crucial. As you sort through everything, separate aspirational items from what you actually need. Any items that haven't been used in the past year should be considered for removal. For things you no longer need, consider selling, donating, or discarding them.If you're moving to a space without a garage or office, think about how you can relocate or sell these items. Instead of packing what you want to get rid of, pack the items you plan to keep.This will make it easier to identify what can be shared or donated. Remember that downsizing is about simplifying your life, so be mindful of only taking what you truly need.
Start Small! Sort Through One Room at a Time
Downsizing can be overwhelming, but starting small is the key to success. Begin with an area that doesn't hold much emotional attachment, like the linen closet or laundry room, before moving onto bigger rooms. Take stock of your needs based on the size of your new home and be ruthless in getting rid of anything you no longer use or need. For instance, if you're moving to a smaller space with 2 bedrooms, consider limiting yourself to just 4 sets of sheets and donate the rest.
Don't underestimate the difficulty of decluttering bigger spaces like the garage, attic, or basement, as these spaces tend to accumulate clutter. Keep in mind that these areas may be uncomfortable to work in due to extreme temperatures or humidity, so plan accordingly.
Decide What to KEEP, DONATE, and DISCARD
When decluttering before a move, it's important to set ground rules to help overcome the urge to hold onto unnecessary items. Start by sorting your belongings into three piles: KEEP, DONATE, and DISCARD. To make decisions easier, use the 6 and 3 rule: if you haven't used an item in the past 6 months and won't use it in the next 3 months (excluding seasonal items), it's time to let it go. Use designated sorting boxes or piles to separate items for donation and disposal, and only pack what you're choosing to keep. By following these decluttering ground rules, you'll be able to streamline your move and make room for the things that truly matter.
Create a Plan to Get Rid of Unwanted Items
Once you have identified the items that you will not be taking with you to your new home, there are several ways to dispose of them:
DONATE or FREECYCLE: Give away items that are still in good condition to someone who could use them. Local charities usually accept clothing, shoes, and other household items. You can also consider posting on websites like freecycle.org or Facebook resale groups.
HOST A YARD SALE: One person's unwanted belongings can be another person's treasure. If you are downsizing many of your belongings before moving, consider having a yard sale to earn some extra money. Furniture, toys, books, children's clothing, power tools, and lawn equipment are usually popular items at a garage sale.
RENT A DUMPSTER: Not everything you are getting rid of will be in good enough condition to donate or sell. Renting a dumpster is a hassle-free option if you have a lot of items to declutter or if you need to dispose of large household items, such as broken appliances or worn-out furniture.
PASS DOWN TO LOVED ONES: Letting go of sentimental items that you no longer need but that hold special memories can be difficult. If there are family heirlooms in good condition that you feel a family member or friend would enjoy, offer to give them as a gift.
Consider Your New Space
When downsizing to a new home, it's important to consider the layout and storage space of your new space. By doing so, you can get a sense of what will fit in your new space and will help you make informed decisions about what to keep, donate, or sell.
Measure your current furniture to ensure that it will fit in your new home. If it's too big, sell it and use the money to purchase smaller items. It's much easier to figure out ahead of time if you'll need to part with any of your furniture than to move it all and realize it doesn't fit. Additionally, avoid buying new items until you have a better understanding of the space and the overall style of your new home, to prevent purchasing items that are too big or that don't fit your new home's aesthetic.
Benefits of Downsizing
Downsizing offers several benefits that can greatly enhance your quality of life. These include having less responsibility and a smaller workload, increased cash flow, greater flexibility, and reduced stress levels. Additionally, downsizing can free up your time for fun activities, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying your home without feeling overwhelmed by its upkeep. It can also provide you with a fresh start, a significant cash infusion, and the opportunity to live in a home that complements your current lifestyle and future goals. Let’s explore the various benefits of downsizing that you might not have considered!
More Time for Living
If you love to travel and enjoy exploring different places, downsizing your living space might just be the solution you're looking for. With a smaller, more manageable home, you can bid farewell to the hassle of finding someone to look after your house while you're away. You can choose from a variety of living spaces such as a cute townhome, a modernized apartment or a cozy community setting that will offer you the freedom to explore all the adventures life has to offer without worrying about the maintenance and upkeep of a larger home.
Moreover, if you are transitioning into a senior living community, downsizing can also provide benefits for you. In senior living communities, team members can look after your home while you're away, giving you peace of mind that everything is being taken care of. Simply lock your door and leave, knowing that your home will be in good hands when you return.
Lower Utility Bills
Downsizing can bring significant cost savings by reducing monthly expenses. With a smaller home, you'll be heating, cooling, and powering a much smaller area, resulting in noticeable reductions in energy bills and maintenance costs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), heating and cooling account for over 50% of a household's energy consumption, particularly in the less temperate Northeast and Midwest regions. By downsizing, you'll require less energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, meaning you can maintain your usual habits while still saving money on your monthly power bill. Additionally, a smaller home can also reduce insurance costs, resulting in overall monetary savings.
Increased Cash Flow
Living in a smaller space can be a cost-effective solution that frees up money for other things. Downsizing offers numerous benefits, including significant cost savings on monthly expenses like the mortgage, utilities, and maintenance costs. This means that instead of pouring all of your hard-earned money into a larger mortgage, you can start to enjoy the fruits of your labor. By redirecting these cost savings, you can build up your savings, pay off your mortgage faster, travel the world, or even start a new business venture. Downsizing helps you focus on what is most important to you and take concrete steps towards achieving your goals.
Downsizing to a smaller living space can alleviate the stress caused by clutter. With a limited amount of space, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of possessions, making it easier to stay organized. As we age, sentimental belongings and furniture accumulate, which can become overwhelming. Moving to a smaller home forces us to prioritize our possessions and let go of anything that no longer serves a purpose. This process helps in freeing oneself from the burden of excess possessions and creating a simplified living space, giving more clarity and peace of mind.
Less Cleaning, More Time for Life
When you downsize to a smaller living space, you'll not only declutter your life but also simplify your cleaning routine. With less stuff and a smaller area to maintain, your household chores will be significantly easier and less time-consuming. You'll have fewer square feet to vacuum and mop, smaller surfaces to dust, and less to tidy up overall. Not only will downsizing save you time and effort if you handle your cleaning yourself, but it can also save you money if you hire a cleaning service.
Less Financial Stress, More Financial Flexibility!
By downsizing to a smaller home, you can gain more financial breathing room and reduce the physical and financial toll on your life. With less space to maintain, you can potentially save on mortgage, utility bills, and maintenance costs, which can reduce your financial stress. The benefits of downsizing, however, extend beyond just financial savings. The reduction of stress in your life can lead to several positive health changes, including improvements in mood, sleep, focus, and relationships. You may also experience fewer physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and muscle tension, and boost your immune system. Downsizing can help you create a more manageable and balanced lifestyle, which can have long-term benefits for your overall well being.
Don’t hesitate to Ask Help From Your Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can be a valuable resource when it comes to downsizing homes. Here are some ways a real estate agent can help:
- Offer Direction: A real estate agent can offer direction and support throughout the downsizing process by providing valuable insights and expertise on the current market trends, available properties, and the ideal time to buy or sell. They can also provide guidance on how to stage your home for optimal appeal, as well as offer tips for efficiently packing and moving your belongings to your new home.
- Find the Perfect Property For You: A real estate agent can assist you in locating the perfect property to fulfill your downsizing requirements, whether it's a cozy home, a condominium, or a retirement community.
- Market Your Home: A real estate agent can assist you in effectively marketing your current home to potential buyers. They can help take professional photos, create engaging listing descriptions, and utilize various marketing channels to reach a larger audience, such as social media platforms and real estate websites.
- Selling and Buying Process: With the help of a real estate agent, you can navigate the negotiation process for both the sale of your current home and the purchase of your new home. They have the expertise to ensure that you get the best possible price for both transactions, maximizing your investment and minimizing your stress.
- Seamless Moving Process: An agent in real estate can assist you in coordinating the relocation to your new home by linking you up with reliable moving companies and other service providers. This helps to ensure a seamless and stress-free transition.
Tips on How to Make the Most of Your New Space!
Now that you’ve settled into your new space, creating a comfortable and functional living space in a smaller home requires thoughtful design and clever organization. The key is to strike a balance between a cozy atmosphere and a clutter-free environment. Here are some practical tips on how to make the most of your new abode. Let’s explore the various benefits of downsizing that you might not have considered!
Use Space-Saving Furniture
When furnishing a downsized home, it is crucial to choose furniture that is both space-saving and appropriately sized. Bulky and heavy furniture pieces can create a sense of tightness in small rooms, so go for functional and sleek pieces instead.
Along with selecting the right furniture, it is essential to avoid overcrowding your rooms. Leaving some space between the walls and furniture creates an impression of spaciousness. Utilizing long, clean lines and light colors can also create an illusion of a larger space. Additionally, considering investing in furniture with hidden storage or fold-away features, such as a bed with built-in drawers or a storage ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, can save a lot of room.
Opt to Rent a Storage Unit
Renting a storage unit can be a viable option for keeping items that are not in use all year round, but still have sentimental or practical value. Many moving companies offer short-term and long-term storage solutions, including climate-controlled units that can preserve the quality of seasonal decorations or keepsakes.
With the money you save from downsizing, you can cover the cost of a storage unit, which can serve as a temporary or supplemental storage space. Keep in mind that renting a storage unit should not be a permanent solution. You can use the space to store items that you are unsure about keeping and set a deadline to clear it out. For example, give yourself a timeframe of six to twelve months and pledge to dispose of anything you haven't used or needed by the end of that period.
Have Rooms That Can Serve Multiple Purposes
In a larger home, each room often has a designated purpose. For example, there may be separate bedrooms for each person, a guest room, a home office, a dining room, and a playroom. However, in a smaller home, it may be necessary to have rooms that serve multiple purposes. For instance, children may need to share a room, or their bedroom may have to double as a play area. If you work from home, you may need to set up your desk in the dining room or your bedroom.
To make the most of your downsized home, take inventory of the rooms in your old home and their purposes. Then, compare that list to your new home and look for ways to combine spaces. By incorporating multipurpose rooms, you can downsize without sacrificing productivity or leisure.
Design Your Space To Look Bigger
Being intentional with your interior design can make your home look and feel bigger. Although furniture choice is important, it’s not the only thing to consider.
For small spaces, focus on high-contrast colors and natural lighting. Bright white can make a small room seem more spacious, while dark or bold colors can provide an illusion of depth—especially in a room with no windows. What you don’t want are the in-between colors. Medium shades will make your space feel smaller.
Let in as much natural light as possible with breezy, sheer curtains or blinds. Draw the eye upward with visually interesting light fixtures and emphasize vertical or horizontal lines with shiplap or paneling. In a room with small windows, use a mirror to reflect whatever light does make its way inside. White fixtures can also help reflect light.
When choosing decor, remember that less is more. The room will look bigger with a few high-quality pieces than with lots of little clutter. For instance, you might choose one large painting rather than designing a gallery wall.
In Conclusion . . .
For some people, the idea of downsizing can be daunting, particularly for those used to living in spacious homes. Nonetheless, it can be a smart financial move and a liberating experience. Downsizing has proven to be beneficial for many homeowners, who realize they gain more than they lose.
Transitioning into a smaller home entails preparation and strategic planning, but it’s a process worth investing your time in. With thorough planning and mindful design decisions, you can effectively declutter and move into a more compact space without having to compromise the things you value most.