If you’ve become an empty-nester, are retiring, need to scale back your budget, are looking for a simpler way of life, or are moving into a smaller home for some other reason, it may seem daunting. With less space than you’re accustomed to, you’ll probably have to let go of some of your home furnishings and belongings. Plus, adapting to tighter quarters can be a bit of a lifestyle adjustment.
Here are some downsizing tips to help make the process and the adjustment more manageable.
Smart Downsizing Tips
- Begin the process of going through your belongings and getting rid of them as soon as you know you’ll be downsizing. It’s much less stressful when you can take your time, reflect on your decisions, and not have to deal with a large amount of stuff at the same time.
- Get rid of extra duplicate stuff. For example, you don’t need as many bed sheets in a one- or two-bedroom place as you do in a three- or four-bedroom place. You probably don’t need five spatulas, either.
- When you’re sorting through things to keep or get rid of, just make “yes” and “no” piles. Don’t fall into the trap of a “maybe” pile; you’ll just end up bringing items you don’t need to the next place.
- Don’t rent a storage unit unless you absolutely have to. It’s another trap that will enable you to be less discerning about what you truly need, and more often than not, it’s just a waste of money.
- Find the strength to take only a few favorite items from large collections you’ve accumulated over the years.
- If you’ve had it packed away for years in your current home, you won’t miss it if you don’t bring it to your next home.
- Give legacy gifts early. If you have vintage furniture, collectibles, family photo albums, or other items you plan to bequeath to loved ones, you can always give them away prior to your move instead.
- Go through all that old paperwork. You don’t need tax forms from more than 7 years ago. You don’t need all those monthly statements that you can access online. You don’t need instructions and warranties for appliances and equipment you don’t even have anymore. And anything can be scanned and stored digitally these days. Chances are, your filing cabinet could actually just be a folder or two. Remember to shred any paperwork with sensitive information.
- Don’t pack and move things you don’t have a designated space for in your new, smaller home.
- Invest in space-saving furniture options, and/or multi-functional furniture pieces. For example, here are some beautiful, highly functional, solid wood space-saving furniture pieces from Heywood-Wakefield.
- When planning to move your current furniture or buy new pieces, make sure you know how to choose furniture that fits appropriately in its space.
- Don’t overdo it with lots of décor items or busy patterns in smaller spaces. While you might be used to these in your current home, they can easily make a home with significantly less square footage feel hectic and overwhelming.
- Embrace vertical space! Wide furniture eats up square footage while wasting space above it. For example, Heywood-Wakefield’s Encore Double Chest dresser works better in a small bedroom than a wider dresser. A tall bookcase makes more sense than two shorter ones.
- If a small room makes you feel a little too closed in, mounting a large mirror helps make it feel larger.
- Create extra storage space. Wall-mounted shelves, hanging racks inside cabinets, and plenty of other tricks can help you get much more storage capacity out of your existing space. A few Google searches can provide endless ideas and inspiration.