Downsizing the Dos and Don'ts of a smaller home

For many people there comes a time in their life when a large family home or similar is surplus to their requirements. Family have grown and left the nest or entertaining large groups is no longer a part of your current lifestyle. When this becomes apparent many couples or indeed individuals feel that it would be best to downsize. This can be a tricky undertaking as it can be a long process not only deciding where you would like to live but what to do with all your extra belongings that will no longer need to be in your current home.

Where to begin?

It’s always a good idea to have a thorough inventory of your goods. Go through it room by room making decisions on what is key to you in terms of furniture that needs to be kept and that which needs to go. Also look at personal belongings such as ornaments, painting and photos. These are often time consuming objects to go through as waves of nostalgia often overtake people when they start looking at individual items. As a general rule ornaments can be sold or given away. Photos are nearly always worth keeping. They are your history and your family’s history and often don’t take up a lot of room. People who have thrown away photos have often regretted it at a later date. This is why you should allow yourself plenty of time to go through items carefully so you can assess what things are important and not so important in your life.

Going to good homes

When you are going through your possessions and are unable to keep as many items as you wish it is always prudent to think about what things other family members may want to have of yours. A painting or an ornament might not have to disappear from your life for good. It can find a new home with a relative where you can see it when you visit. It is always worth asking whether a relative or friend actually likes the possession you are giving them or you may be putting them in an awkward position. Don’t forget those items you no longer need can also be sold. This can be done either at a car boot sale or online. There are opportunities to make some money out a good clear out!

Evaluate your new home

When you have chosen your new home it is always good to check out exactly its size so that you can have an accurate idea of the layout and space available to you. Knowing what will go where and what won’t, can help the decision making process about what’s good to keep and what’s not. Take the dimensions of your furniture, look at whether your bed will work in your bedroom to be and also what other things can fit too such as bedside tables and lamps.

Keep asking questions

Take a look at the rooms that you don’t use or go into much. The attic is a good place to start together with the laundry room or even the garage and basement. Belongings in these areas are often stacked and not used so much. Therefore, it can be a good place to start when you want to get rid of unwanted goods. Don’t be too overwhelmed as you go through the process so it can be a good idea to pack as you go along and stack things to the side or the middle of the room to help with access. It is still your home so being able to move around is important. Be sure to label clearly as you go along, a headline title such as “bathroom” followed by specific content names can be helpful when you get to the other end.

When deciding what should stay and what should go there are key questions to ask yourself. These include:

  • Have I used this in the last year?
  • How often do I use this item and why?
  • Do I have similar items fit for the job already?
  • Is this something I can’t live without?
  • What condition is it in?
  • Will I use it in my new home?
  • Who else could benefit from this item?

Moving is a tricky and highly emotional experience for many people which is both physically and mentally challenging. This is a tough enough time for those moving into similar sized or bigger properties but even harder for those who are downsizing. Try to be kind to yourself and to others who are moving with you. Try to be patient with those around you it isn’t easy for them either. Try to give yourself plenty of time to come to terms with giving up, throwing out or selling items. The longer you give yourself to adjust to the new process the easier it will be for you when the big day actually comes.

Get someone to help you, a friend or family member can often be quite happy to assist with the process. Having someone with you to bounce thoughts off such as whether to keep one item or not can be very helpful. It can also make an emotional experience more fun.

Needless to say for many the process of downsizing can be a tough, mental and physical journey. It is also a cathartic one as it gives you a chance to make sure that you clear out the old to welcome the new. In the end this can be an exciting and refreshing process. It is often one that sets you up for the joys of a new chapter in your life. A chance to welcome in the new and say goodbye to the old all in all it can be a very beneficial process indeed.