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Essential Tips When Preparing to Downsize

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The new year can bring with it some new goals, and one of those goals might be to move home. More specifically, it might be to downsize. When you reach midlife, and children, if you have them, have grown up and left the home, then the need to have such a large home isn’t there anymore. As long as you are comfortable, have the space that you need, and are in the location that you want to be in, then that is all that matters.

Downsizing can not only free up some cash as you head into the retirement years, it could make you mortgage-free. And reducing your overall expenses makes it easier to travel, indulge in new hobbies and/or help family and friends when they are in need.

Just selling your home and looking to move somewhere like a condo 2 bed room won’t happen overnight, though. There is a lot of planning that will need to occur, and a lot of decluttering.

There are a number of things that you can acquire over time that you don’t need to take with you to a new home, or things that could be passed onto family members. Children might have things that you’ve been looking after. However, if they have moved out with homes and families of their own, it can be a good idea to give them those things back, rather than you holding onto them anymore. 

So if downsizing your home looks like it could be for you in the coming years, then here are some of the things that you can do to prepare yourself and to declutter ready for the move.

Mentally prepare yourself for a smaller space

One of the trickiest things about moving home into a space that is smaller than you’re used to is dealing with a lack of space. Instead of wondering how you are going to fill each room, you are then looking at what will now fit in each room. Some of your current furniture could even be too big for your new home. For some people, this change in space will be something that they embrace and thrive with. However, there are many people who will find it a real struggle. 

So to get yourself ready mentally to do this, it is a good idea to focus on the positives of living in a smaller space. They are much easier to maintain and to clean, which can save you a lot of time, as well as money. This can mean less chores for you to do, and more time for hobbies, work, or family.

There tends to be more of a community feel in some smaller home communities, especially in something like a condo environment where people are living physically closer. This can be a real positive, especially if you are single or widowed and looking to downsize; some company and new friends could be a great thing. 

Another angle to take with this, in order to get yourself mentally prepared, is that it has actually been proven that the fewer belongings that you have, the happier you will be. Studies have shown that when you spend your money on things like experiences, rather than things, then it does help you to be happier.

Many of us can get attached to our belongings, but we also get used to them. Over a short period of time, this can actually mean that they start to not bring us joy anymore. But if you spend that money on doing something like a meal out, a vacation, or a hobby or experience, then those memories and the joy from that experience far outweigh the happiness of having a lot of stuff.

So if you are planning to downsize, it really can be a positive thing in your life. It can be a good time to shift how you think and your focus, and help you to have less but start doing more.

Decluttering what you have

That brings us on nicely to the next step in getting ready to downsize, decluttering or purging your belongings. Have you ever realized that no matter the size of your home, there always feels like there is no storage space? The reason being is that we tend to expand our belongings to fit the space that we have. So if you’ve had a larger home, it can take you a little while to cut down on what you have when there is less space to store them. 

If you want to declutter, then here are some of the things to think about as you do it, and how to get started with it all. 

  • You need to fully commit to the process. Don’t just decide to have a bit of a tidy or a declutter here and there. It is about going full-throttle and committing to the process of purging your belongings. As a result, it will involve some time, so plan it out and set aside a day or a weekend, at least, rather than just doing it half-heartedly on a whim.  
  • There is a method of decluttering from Marie Kondo which is about items that spark joy. If you look at something and unsure if you keep it, you ask yourself if it sparks joy. This means that you get to interact with your items, and really get to think about the value that they have in your life. 
  • It can be a good idea to not just go room by room. The logic behind this is that when you do that, it just moves things from room to room. A book might just go onto another bookshelf, because it belongs there, rather than being boxed up to give to a thrift store. So start decluttering the clothing in the home, and then think about books or furniture. Find them all, and go through those categories, rather than room by room.
  • Rethinking how you store things can be a good idea too. For instance, storing things vertically. This is something that a lot of home professionals  tend to do, which could be anything from shoes to boardgames. When they are vertical, they are easy to see, and as a result, easy to take out and use. This will help to keep things much more organized in a home that is shorter on space, too.

As you go through this process, it is important to remember that it does take time. So if you know when you will be moving, start to clear things out sooner rather than later. It makes sense to clear out before you move, rather than taking it all to the new home and then having a clear out.

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