How to Downsize Efficiently

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Sell Items of Value


This step is most likely to vary for homeowners. While everything holds some value to you, remember not everything will sell. If you have the time and patience, selling might be a smart idea for you. If you don’t think you have the time, there’s always donating and giving away.


Measure Furniture & the Rooms in your New Place.

You don’t want to go through the trouble and expense of moving bulky furniture into your new place, just to learn it won’t fit.

“The big thing for furniture is, it’s really heavy and harder to get rid of on the other end of the move,” explains award-winning professional organizer Anna Sicalides.

To avoid making any unnecessary hauls, take the time to measure the furniture you already have, as well as the dimensions of the rooms in your new place.

Simply follow these steps:

Sketch out the layout of your new home, including proper dimensions for each wall and room. The Spruce has a guide to measuring rooms with good old paper and pencil and a metal tape measure, or you can use a room measurement app like PLNAR or Easy Measure.
Measure your existing furniture (take note of Carolina Chair’s guide to getting proper furniture measurements), compiling the dimensions into a spreadsheet where you can note the piece’s future destination in your home. With a clear idea of what can fit where, you’ll have a stronger understanding of what can stay and what won’t physically fit in your smaller space.



Eliminate Items not Necessary for your New Lifestyle.


With your piles neatly grouped, it’s time to take a critical eye to the “Keep” pile. This is when your imagination comes in. Think about the new life you’re taking on, and what your life might look like.

Downsizing often includes a lifestyle change that homeowners don’t consider, explains Sicalides. You might be headed to a place with a smaller yard, and “we know in that case that they’re not going to need a shovel.”

Additionally, you might be heading to a new city or climate, which could mean ditching most of your winter wear and keeping you temperate gear.


Create a Storage Plan for Your New Place

Since you have a comprehensive floor plan of your new place and an inventory list, you can start moving in without actually moving. Check out closet organizers from Wirecutter, making the best use of clear plastic containers, and the importance of a label maker (or at least neat handwriting) in your new storage spaces.

If you have the budget, you might consider hiring a professional organizer to help you plan storage in your new home. National storage pros at the Container Store offer consultations and planning for any size space.

Creating a storage plan before you move can create peace of mind before the move. It can also be a good gauge as to whether you’ve downsized enough for your new space.

However, don’t hang onto something just because you found a smart way to store it. Ask yourself if it genuinely has a use in your life and if not, save the space for something that does.


Plan and Execute on your Move

Downsizing comes with all the same regular challenges as moving in general and most people are also juggling the sale of their existing home.

Make sure you’ve got plans laid out to:

-Coordinate move-out and move-in dates

Unless you’re prepared to juggle two mortgages, you’ll want to try and close on the sale of your existing home before you buy a new residence. If there will be a gap in between, be sure to have temporary housing lined up for the interim.

-Collect no fewer than three professional moving quotes

Try to get no fewer than three in-person moving estimates after you’ve already pared down your stuff. The less you have, the less time it will take for your movers to haul it all… and that saves you money.