Downsizing is the mark of a new beginning, which may spark enthusiasm, trepidation or mixed emotions. You don’t have to worry. Explore our tried-and-true tips for downsizing your home, painlessly.
Why Are You Considering Downsizing?
Downsizing is not just for empty nesters! There are plenty of reasons to downsize.
- Clutter: If your home has become a museum of fine goods that you rarely use, maybe it’s time to downsize.
- Financial freedom: If you have financial goals or challenges that would be helped by reducing your mortgage, tax and utility payments, consider downsizing.
- Travel: If you’re thinking about traveling more frequently or having a more urban — or international — lifestyle, you may want to downsize.
- Less stress: The constant need to clean and organize all your belongings leaves less time for leisure and fun … maybe it’s time to downsize.
Is This a Move?
Moving is sometimes needed when downsizing your home, and it is a great time to take a closer look at all your belongings. If this is a temporary move, consider what you’ll want or need after that period is over.
How to Downsize to a Smaller Home
Consider What Must Come With You
To get started, consider the big items that are coming with you.
- Will you have fewer bedrooms in your new house? Which bedroom sets will you keep?
- Will you have less square footage? Map out your floor plan and/or walk through with a tape measure to select the couches, tables and chairs that will fit the best.
- Do you watch all of your TVs? Use all your computers? Ride all your bikes?
Keep, Store or Get Rid Of
Whether you’re moving or not, the next step in the decluttering process can be the most aggravating. You may be tempted to just get rid of it all, but rushing through may find you selling or giving away things you’ll need in the future. So take it slow with lots of breaks.
Sort things into three categories: Keep, store and get rid of (sell, donate, recycle or trash). Work with each family member to empty each shelf, cabinet, closet and drawer one at a time, organizing before you move on to the next.
Look at each item and ask yourself six questions in this order to determine which category your things will fall into:
- Do you use it regularly? It will come with you.
- Will you use it seasonally or need it in the future? Store it for easy access.
- Does it have sentimental value or “spark joy”? Store it for safekeeping.
- Is it worth a high value but you don’t use it? Sell it.
- Is it still useful to someone else? Donate it.
- Everything else you can recycle or toss.
Take a hard look at the items you rarely use. The garage and attic are usually the two biggest hiding spots for these items, but they can be anywhere throughout the house. What should go into your new home, what should get stored until you need it, and what should go?
Tips on Downsizing to a Smaller Home
Try to keep the number of “regular” items to two per person: Two towels, two forks, two tablecloths, two sheets per bed, etc. Keep the best, store or get rid of the rest.
- Be ruthless to your junk drawer and medicine cabinet. Keep the unexpired medications; they can be expensive.
- Trash old papers: stacks of old bills, newspapers and magazines no longer needed.
- Family heirlooms can be difficult to emotionally detach from, so spend some time thinking about if it truly does inspire good memories. If not, will it spark joy for someone else you love?
- If you’re getting rid of electronics, be sure to wipe away all your personal information.
- Keeping old photos may seem like a chore, but they may also be an important part of your history that are irreplaceable.
- If you are ready to let your collections go, take pictures of each item and create a collage or photo album for reminiscing.
- Books are treasures — keep your favorites and store, sell or gift the rest.
- Kitchenware is always useful unless you have duplicates. If Grandma would roll over if you gave away her china set, store it carefully.
- If you use it once a year, store it. Move your Christmas trees or Halloween inflatables to storage until the holidays arrive.
- If it has been more than two years since you’ve fit into an item, it’s time to donate.
Store Your Infrequently Used Items
After the decluttering process is over, you will have a sense of how much stuff you need to put away, which in turn will help you decide how large of a storage unit you need to rent. Moving the items you rarely use to off-site storage will make life a lot easier at home, but cluttered storage will drive you batty.
Prepare your items for storage as you would if moving them:
- Dismantle all large objects and use bubble wrap, packing paper and packing tape for breakable items.
- Use new or slightly used boxes that still have structural integrity so they can be stacked and have an area to label for quick reference.
- Label each box with a name and unique box number.
- As you’re packing, make a master list of items by box number so that you can easily find it later.
Plan an organized layout of the storage ahead of time:
- Measure all items you’ll be storing and map out potential storage setups. This will help you determine the size of your storage.
- Call a storage expert, like the managers at Big Tex Storage, to help determine the right size storage unit for the items you will be storing.
- Keep the map and master contents list at the front of the storage.
- Adding shelves will keep the floor open and easier to map your contents.
- Organize your storage back to front by order of need. For example, heirlooms can go toward the back; holiday gear can go toward the front.
Need Help? Call Big Tex Storage!
Our team at Big Tex Storage are here to help you during every step of the downsizing process. With locations in River Oaks, Montrose and Garden Oaks, we provide multiple options for secure, climate-controlled storage to make your move or downsizing adventure even more convenient. We even provide a moving truck free of charge! Contact us to learn more about storage options near you.