Moving house is often ranked as one of the most stressful experiences you can go through. Downsizing adds the extra challenge that you can’t just pack up all your belongings and move them to the new house, but instead you have to work out what items you have to say goodbye to, and work out what to do with them.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help and in this article we’ll give you advice on how to make this experience go as smoothly as possible.
The process is going to take longer than you think. Even if you’re already living in a fairly small place you’ll have more boxes, trinkets, books, ornaments and general paraphernalia than you’d expect.
While downsizing you’ll have to spend a little time considering whether to take each item. And, if you’re not taking an item to the new place you’ll have to quickly decide what to do with it, as selling an item can take time that you may not have budgeted for. Because of this, we always recommended starting this process as early as possible.
Go Room by Room
Going room by room is a more effective way to plan your downsizing. This way you can set yourself a target to have a particular room cleared by a particular day. Without targets like these you can spend a lot of time packing boxes here and there, without making as much progress as you could otherwise.
Make A Note Of Your Most Used Items
When you’re going through your daily life try to notice all the things you’ve used. This will show you the most important items to take with you.
Most of this will be obvious to you, however, there will be the occasional gadget you thought you could do without, but it turns out you use it more than you thought.
Conversely, Make A Note Of Your Least Used Items
If you haven’t used something in over a year, then the chances are you don’t need it and might not want to take it with you when you downsize.
This goes for clothes as well as tools, and gadgets. There’s a trick you can do if you know well in advance that you’ll be planning on moving. You can turn all your coat hangers in one direction, then when you use an item of clothing turn its coat hanger in the other direction. If after a year a coat hanger is still in the original direction, you’ll know this is an item of clothing you can get rid of.
Sell Or Charity Shop As Much As Possible
You’d be surprised at the amount of things people will be willing to buy second hand. This is great for the environment, and is fighting against today’s throwaway culture. You can even sell things that are broken but fixable by someone who knows what they’re doing.
You’re going to have to be ruthless to get rid of the things that won’t fit in your new place. There are plenty of items that will carry sentimental value, some of these won’t make the cut.
You could see if friends or family could look after them, but if not there’s only two options, self storage or getting rid of it.
Keep Multi-use Items
If you’re getting rid of furniture, keep items that have multiple uses. This includes things like a coffee table with storage drawers or a sofa bed.
Items of furniture with built in storage, like ottoman beds, are great for smaller homes so these should be on your “to keep” list.
Don’t Keep Buying New Things
This is fairly obvious but depending on your personality might be easier said than done. You’re going to have to face the fact that you won’t be able to fit all your things in your new place, and buying new items won’t help that.
Pass On Heirlooms
If you’re thinking about leaving a particular treasured heirloom to a family member in your will, then it might be better to do this during the downsize, assuming it’s not something you need for the time being obviously.
Scan Your Photo Albums
A lifetime of taking physical photos can lead to you having boxes and boxes of photo albums of your memories over the years.
You can either pay for these photos to be professionally scanned, or you can do it yourself if you have the time. Once you’ve done this you can pass on your photo albums to family members who’d love to go through those memories with you.
Test Out Rented Accommodation
While this approach isn’t always ideal, for those of you who aren’t sure how much space you’ll need to downsize into, you could consider renting a property of roughly the size you’re looking for.
While you’re in your rented accommodation you can keep your belongings in storage. That way if you realise you need more space you can fill it with the items you already own rather than having to buy new.
Use Self Storage
Depending on the timeframe that you have to move out, you might not have enough time to get rid of your belongings before the moving date is upon you.
In this case self storage is your best friend. While you’re waiting for things to sell you can leave them in self storage so they aren’t blocking up your new home.
Hopefully you’ve found this advice useful, we wish you the best of luck in your new home, and if you ever need any space to store your belongings, Space Self Storage is here to help.