Downsizing Tips: 8 Tips for Easing the Move to a Smaller Home

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Happy couple unpacking (Photo: @ijeab via Twenty20)
Moving is the epitome of a mixed bag. It’s so exciting to move to a new home, and start fresh with a new and exciting space. It’s also a daunting task to go through the process of packing up everything you own, moving it from one space to another, and then unpacking it all and setting everything up. There’s a reward at the end, but you certainly have to work for it, and that work is stressful.
That’s doubly true when you’re moving from a large space into a smaller space. If you’re downsizing, you not only need to move everything from your old home to your new one, but you also need to either get rid of some stuff in the process, or find a way to make your current possessions work in a smaller space. That might sound daunting at first, but it can end up being a rewarding and cathartic process. Here’s how to ease the move to a smaller home.

1. Declutter

In the days, weeks, and preferably months leading up to your move, start to declutter the home you’re moving out of. Don’t wait until moving day to start getting rid of things; instead, leave a box or bag in your home for donation items. Anytime you notice something that you don’t like, need, or use anymore, put it in the donation box. By the time you get to moving day, you’ll have a much more manageable amount of stuff to move.

2. Take it room by room

It can feel overwhelming trying to pack up a whole home, so take it room by room. Spend one day packing the kitchen, and another packing the bathroom. That keeps you organized, and makes it easier to assess what you have, and what you need.

3. Consider every item

As you pack, consider every item you pick up. Do you need this? Will you use it in your new home? You don’t always have to have an answer. In fact, when you’re packing it’s a smart strategy to have three piles: a pile for things you’re keeping, a pile for things you’re getting rid of, and a pile for things you’re not sure about.

4. Be honest with broken, seldom used, or sentimental items

It’s easy to hang on to items because they have sentimental value, or because you think you’ll get around to using them one day. And that’s totally fine. But when you come across those items, try and be honest with yourself. Are you just going to keep them for a few years, unused, and then get rid of them down the road?

5. Take stock of your furniture situation

Consider all of your furniture, and where it will fit in your new home. If you don’t have a place for a piece of furniture, don’t bring it. You also might want to consider multi-functional pieces of furniture, like a dining table that doubles as a desk, or a sofa that is also a guest bed.

6. Take advantage of storage opportunities

Just because you’re moving to a smaller space doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice how much stuff you can store. Get creative with storage opportunities in your new home. Hang wall-mounted shelving units, and get storage compartments for under your bed.

7. Use furniture to create sections in your home

One way to make a small space emulate the bigger space you’re moving out of is to use furniture to help create sections. A dresser doesn’t need to be placed against the wall; instead, it can be placed in the middle of a room, creating some depth and sections within the room.

8. Put everything away as you unpack it

Once you’re ready to unpack in your new home, put everything away as you unpack it. Unpacking everything at once will leave you with overwhelming chaos, and it will be impossible to organize in a space-efficient manner. Instead, unpack one item, put it away, and then move on to the next item.