If you are seriously considering downsizing your home, either to a smaller house or maybe even an apartment, then you’ll want to plan for the life change, as some things will be a little different. If you’re used to living in a very spacious house, but need to downsize for financial or other reasons, it could take some getting used to and will likely require a few sacrifices.
In this post we’ll cover a few key tips on how to prepare for downsizing and moving, and also how to make the transition a little easier and smoother.
Get Rid of All Your Clutter
Too much clutter – just too many possessions in general – is the enemy of successful downsized living.
Early on, one of the first things you should do is declutter your life. Go from room to room in the house and list all the things you could get rid of and do without.
Now, you don’t have to toss these items away, not unless they’re just junk. Instead you could:
- Have a yard/garage sale
- Donate them to a local charity
- Give some things away to people you know
- Sell some stuff to family and friends
Whichever course you take, you’ll get rid of a bunch of clutter that you don’t have to pack and move, and you’ll either make a bit of extra cash in the process, or know that you’ve helped someone out.
These are all positives.
When you do move into your new, smaller place, you’ll have far less stuff taking up valuable space, and that’s really important when you’re downsizing.
Make Decisions On Your Current Furniture
This is all about whether you’ll keep any furniture items you currently have, or whether you’ll sell them off and purchase smaller versions for the new, smaller home or apartment.
Chances are you’ll need to switch out at least some of your current furniture.
An example might be in the living room. If you have some giant sectional or U-shaped lounge that simply consumes way to much floor space to fit in your new place, then you’ll need to sell off the lounge and look at buying a smaller one.
Check out some of our best of lists for ideas:
- 12 of the Best Couches for Small Spaces
- Best Sectional Sofas for Small Spaces and Apartment Living
- Best Sofa Beds for Small Spaces
The same could be said for every room in the house; from bedrooms, to dining room, even the kitchen appliances, such as refrigerator and so on.
When you live in a big home with lots of space, it’s only natural you’ll buy bigger (and possibly more) furniture items to fill the space. When you transition to a home with much smaller rooms, all your furniture is likely not to fit.
Some changes here are inevitable.
If you can get measurements of the rooms in your new place, you’ll then be able to measure up your existing furniture and get an idea of whether a piece is just too big or not.
You could even take things a step further and start drawing up rough floor plans of the rooms in the new place and mark in where you would place any of your current furniture, or furniture you plan to buy.
Work Out a Budget for Your Overall Move
It’s always good to have a fair estimate of how much something is likely to cost. When it comes to moving home, downsizing or not, there are always expenses involved.
In this instance you’ll want to work out all the possible moving related expenses, along with expenses for buying new furniture items for the new house.
Once you’ve worked out the potential overall cost, then you can roughly work out how much money you might make from selling off some items and subtract that to be left with a likely expenses total.
When you’ve arrived at this figure, add an extra 10% to cover unexpected costs, things you might not have thought of.
Make a List of Things To Do
Everything is much easier and more streamline when you have a plan. Writing a “to do” list will help you to remember everything you need to do, prioritise your tasks, as well as ensure things run smoothly, within budget and without unnecessary headaches and stress.
“Those who don’t plan, plan to fail”
It’s a common quote, and very true. Without a plan or guideline, everything becomes guesswork and you have to totally rely on memory recall to remember everything and get yourself and those involved organised.
To do lists should be always evolving. Start a list as soon as possible and keep adding to the list every time you think of something that needs to be done. As you do things, just cross them off. This also gives you a sense of progress.
It’s definitely worth having a to do list, and it will probably prove to be the most important tool you can have when organising yourself for a downsizing move.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute To Pack
After going through the declutter phase, you can actually start packing a few boxes quite a while before the actual moving date. Once again, if you go from room to room you’ll discover a number of items that you likely won’t use between now and then.
These can be packed earlier, which gets you ahead of the game. That way, when the moving date draws closer, you’ll have less packing to do at the time, which means a lot less hurrying, last minute things to do and stress.
Obviously you won’t be packing things you need to use day to day early, but it’s all about organising as much as you can ahead of time.
Another handy tip is to clean everything as you pack it so it’s free of dust. This way, when you unpack it all on the other end, everything is nice and clean and shiny, just like your new place.
Mark Boxes and Make Lists
As you pack your boxes, get a marker pen and write on the outside either what’s inside the box, what room the box is from or, better yet, just give the box a specific number. Write the number on the top and at least 2 sides so you can recognise it easily even when they’re stacked.
Every time you go to pack a box, write the number on it, get a notepad and start a list for that box number. As you pack the box, write each item down on your list. This way, if you find you need something in one of the boxes before you actually move, you can easily locate exactly which box it is packed in.
The same goes for after the move. You might leave a few packed boxes in storage, either in your new house or elsewhere. Numbered boxes with corresponding lists make it super easy to quickly locate what you’re looking for.
Don’t Forget To Change Your Address
This could be a to do list on its own, as you might find you need a bit of time to recall all places you’ll need to change your address for.
Often address changes can be done conveniently online these days, even for your bank accounts, if you have internet banking enabled.
Some addresses you might be able to change before you move, such as places that you don’t receive physical mail from.
Once you do move, just in case you’ve forgotten anywhere, simply forward on your mail for the next month. If you receive anything forwarded, you’ll then know that that’s a place you still need to update with your new address.
Remember To Tell the Utility Companies
This is probably not something you are likely to forget, but you’ll want to let the electricity, internet, landline phone companies know ahead of time of your moving date so everything is organised and ready to go when you get to your new home.
When it comes to moving day, even if you plan to hire professional removalists, in order to save some time and money, move some of the smaller and more fragile items yourself if you can. It’ll save you money with the pros as well as ensuring that your more delicate items arrive at the new destination intact.
Get the removalists to handle all the big and awkward stuff, and make sure their price includes carting all your furniture and possessions inside the new home or apartment. You don’t want somebody who just unloads it all on the street and leaves you to deal with it.
Remember Why You Are Downsizing
Moving can be a stressful time, particularly if you’ve been in your current home for many years. You’re moving because you are downsizing, so keep the advantages of downsizing in mind while preparing for the move. The money you’ll save, the simplified lifestyle you’ll lead.
This will help to reduce stress and keep you positive, even when faced with a frustrating situation.
Downsizing and moving house doesn’t need to be a super stressful situation. With preparation, planning and organisation you can actually do it all quite easily.
The trick is to get started as early as possible and not to leave too many things until the last minute.