Welcome back to Chrissy from Organise My House, she does an amazing job keeping us all organised. This month she is sharing her tips on how to take the stress out of downsizing as it can be a very anxious time.
12 easy to follow tips to make downsizing much easier
Moving house can be a stressful time.
Yes, there’s excitement for the move, but there are also the practicalities to consider and the logistics of moving everything you have.
But the one thing that’s more stressful than moving house, is moving to a smaller house
than the one you’re currently living in.
After all – downsizing means you’re being forced to look at absolutely everything you own to decide what has earned its place in your new home and what you need to let go.
Tough to say the least.
So, whether you’re downsizing because you’re older and want to have less maintenance to do, or you’re moving from the country into the city, or you’re just wanting to live a simpler life – then here are my top tips to make it as easy as possible.
12 Tips to make downsizing easier
1 – Have a vision for your new life
Moving house is a huge adventure.
So many of us think of downsizing in a negative way – but it can be exactly the right thing to do for so many – and it’s important to know what your new life may entail.
Think about things like day to day life and hobbies – as all of this will help you when you start to decide what you need to take and what you shouldn’t bother with.
2 – Have a plan
When you know the home you’re moving to – then make sure you have a floorplan
of the space.
Also have a floorplan of your current home – ideally the same scale….
Being able to see both spaces in this way will make it a lot easier to decide how much extra stuff you’ll have to get rid of before you move.
It also takes away some of the sentimentality from looking at your things – because you’re in planning mode rather than walking around you home and seeing all the memories there are…
3 – Sentimental items can be kept in different ways
Your home becomes a part of you, with lots of things bringing back precious memories you may find hard to leave behind.
There will no doubt be lots of sentimental items that you won’t want to part with
– things that you’ve collected over the years, but think about taking them with you in a different way…
I love taking photos of clothes and larger items – or scanning childrens artwork, and then creating photo books as a keepsake.
These are often enough to get the same feeling as if you bought the real items with you, but for a fraction of the space.
4 – Ask yourself - what would you miss if you came home and nothing was there?
This is an exercise that can focus you on what you think is important and essential to take with you.
It can be very eye opening how much you really don’t worry about…
5 – Downsizing your home usually means downsizing your furniture
Have you ever seen a sofa in a showroom and fallen for it – only to find that when it’s delivered to your home it’s way too big?
Scale is important to make a home not feel too cluttered – so if you have a large home now, you may find that your furniture won’t fit
properly or look right in the new one.
Looking at your floor plans will help you decide (create scale pictures of each large item and move it around the new home plan to see if it fits) – but you could also take the opportunity to start again and sell the old furniture and buy new items your next home.
Some great examples of downsizing furniture would be: -
- A love seat rather than a full sofa
- A dining table that folds away
- A bed settee instead of a separate bed for guests
6 – Use multi functional furniture
Along with downsizing your furniture, you can save even more space by using furniture
items that work hard to deserve their spot in your new home.
Examples would be: -
- Storage bed – ottoman beds hold so much underneath them that you won’t know what you did without one! I use them for every bed in my own home.
- Storage coffee table
- Use a footstool with a tray as a coffee table
- Dining table with storage drawers
- Cube seats that have storage in them
7 – Storage is key
When you downsize – there is no getting away with the fact that you will have to declutter to some level or another.
You simply won’t be able to put what you have in a larger home into a smaller home and feel happy…
BUT – you do still need some amount of stuff, and that stuff needs a place.
As such – there will always be need for good storage – and in smaller homes this is more important than ever.
Ideally, fitted furniture would be perfect because it maximizes the storage space available – but if you can’t afford this more expensive option, a few other ideas are as follows: -
- Add hooks to the back of cupboard doors and doors.
- Add extra shelves to cupboards, alcoves, or above doorways.
- Use double hanging rails in wardrobes
8 – Curate your new house
You can make your smaller home feel really special
(and make decluttering more enjoyable) by only letting in items that are truly important to you and reflect your life and loves.
It’s amazing how much stuff we have that we simply own.
We don’t need it and we don’t even see it anymore – but it gets moved from home to home with us and added to over the years.
Downsizing can be a really special time to get to grips with this stuff, and decide what’s important once again.
Act like a curator of a museum and only allow in what you will truly love to see each day.
9 – Rent or borrow instead of owning
There are some things
that we have in our homes that we use very infrequently
. This could be things like hedge cutters, carpet cleaners, specific hobby equipment.
Instead of owning them – can you borrow from friends of family, or rent when needed?
10 – Earn from the stuff you don't want
You can make a bit of cash by selling all the stuff you don’t want
to take with you – and with that money can come less stress because you may be able to pay for a few things you need for the new home.
11 – Gift items to others
If you want to see the stuff you don’t use anymore going to a good home – then think about who could really use and want it instead.
Family members, friends, charity – all of these would be good ideas – but with one massive caution….
DON’T MAKE THEM TAKE IT IF THEY DON’T WANT IT.
The last thing you want is to make other people feel they have to take on your old stuff – as this will just cause clutter in their homes instead.
12 – Stop clutter coming back
Once in your new home, you will have done so much good work to make it feel fantastic, and only have in what you truly want there – so why let any new clutter come into the space?
Do things like: -
- Opt out of junk mail
- Go paperless with your bills
- Stop subscriptions to magazines/newspapers you don’t really read
- Use online TV rather than DVDs
- Listen to the online music and podcasts rather than CDs
to keep things to a minimum.
So, there you have it!
I really hope your move goes well, and that these tips have helped you focus in on what you need to do to make things go smoothly when it comes to downsizing.
Good luck – and I hope your new (smaller yet perfectly formed!) home brings you lots of joy once you’re settled in.
Great advice as always Chrissy. Thank you.
If you're helping a loved one downsize you may like to read our post 'How to help a loved one downsize'.
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