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Downsizing Helps You Set Limits as You Move to a Smaller Home

Are you getting ready to move into a smaller home and feeling stressed out? You’re not alone. Downsizing your home seems like throwing away items that no longer spark joy or donating your precious memories. When you downsize the right way, you can lessen your stress and ease into this next part of your life.

Step-By-Step Checklist for Downsizing Your Home

Taking the life that you’ve built and trying to downsize it for your smaller space can be overwhelming. Our checklist considers the time and attention you need to get started downsizing your home the easy way. 

  • Consider the amount of space you actually need
    • Now that your children are long gone from your home, you no longer need all of that extra space for living. So, you need to consider the amount of space you actually need to live comfortably.  
  • Plan out your storage needs before downsizing
    • Create a plan for your new home so you know where all of your items are going and which ones you can place in storage. 
    • Storage isn’t just placing items in a storage unit; it can be as simple as adding storage to your walls and closets. This is a way to organize your new home with the belongings you keep.
    • You always have the option to get rid of more items later that you currently can’t part with.
  • Downsize your furniture
    • Make sure to measure your new place before you move, if you can, so you can figure out which and how much furniture will actually fit in your new space.
    • Even if you haven’t measured, when you move to a home with less square footage, you have less space for the amount of furniture in your current home. This will help you figure out what furniture you will use in your new space.
  • Take the time to go through all of your old boxes
    • People tend to move many times throughout their lives without ever going through all of their boxes. You may find things that no longer fit your life once you go through all of your boxes, such as your childhood report cards and outdated paperwork.
    • After you go through your old boxes, you might find some smaller items that you could throw out or sell. 
  • Plan to take the smaller items with you
    • If you are running low on time to go through everything before moving, take smaller items with you. Once you have time to go through all of your smaller items, you can figure out if they have a place in your new home.
    • You might discover that you have a lot more space in your new home, but if you don’t, you can always get rid of more items.
  • Follow the one-year rule for downsizing
    • When you are going through your belongings, you haven’t used items in a year or more, it is highly likely that you won’t use it next year either. Your cherished keepsakes are not included in this.
    • Since you have limited space, you don’t need to keep items that are no longer useful for you.
  • Keep items that can go to your grandchildren or your children or re-home meaningful items 
    • Keep the belongings that you are already planning to give to your grandchildren or children.
    • If you have belongings that you have no use for but know that someone else would love, gift it to that person. Let someone else enjoy what use to give you joy. 
  • Take inventory of belongings that you don’t mind giving to family
    • Create a list of items you want to get rid of before you move. Send your family an email to come get whatever items they want from the list before you toss them or sell them.
    • Sometimes, you end up with multiple sets of items. So you don’t accidentally get rid of them all, taking inventory can help you downsize them to just one set.
  • Sell some of your unwanted belongings online or in a yard sale
    • Selling unwanted belongings help you not only to declutter your space but also to put extra cash in your hand for moving.
  • Digitize what you can to free up physical space
    • Digitize your old CDs, tapes, pictures, movies, tapes, and more. You can save them to an external hard drive or a cloud service that provides you easy access.
    • Digitize your personal records to help you free up even more space, and you'll have back-up copies.
  • Create limits for yourself about how many new items you can bring in after your move
    • Now that you’re in a new home, it is important to keep it from getting re-cluttered. Set limits for what you bring in, such as when you bring in one new piece of clothing, you get rid of one old piece of clothing.
  • Make a plan and check your personal finances
    • Making a plan will ensure you are ready to downsize.
    • Take your time finding an agent who is right for what you are looking for.
    • Check out a variety of neighborhoods to decide which one gives you the quality of life you are looking for and whether that includes an HOA or not.
    • Moving is expensive. Make sure you can cover moving expenses. On top of that, you’ll want to make sure that in your new downsized life, you can afford to live comfortably.
    • Since you don’t want to live beyond your needs, be sure to factor in your new cost of living, which includes your new monthly expenses.
  • Be sure to tell your children
    • It is sometimes hard for children to let go of their childhood home. Every so often, children will even offer to buy their childhood home from their parents.
    • However, each family is different. Telling your children that you are selling the home where they grew up brings out a lot of emotions that you have to wade through.  

What are Common Downsizing Mistakes?

The stress of moving makes it easy to make mistakes in downsizing your life and moving. This includes rushing to downsize and pack up your home because you didn't give yourself enough time. Some of the common downsizing mistakes are below as well as how you can avoid making them.

  • Getting rid of items that you are currently using
    • It’s easy to “over-downsize.” So, don’t find yourself left with fewer plates and silverware than you need. It can be costly to replace the items you accidentally throw out. 
  • Keeping furniture that won’t fit in your new home or keeping belongings that could easily go to a new home 
    • Just because some pieces of furniture are sentimental, you don’t want to find yourself with furniture that literally doesn’t fit in your smaller home.
    • It is a fine line between what are sentimental items that can go with friends and relatives and what sentimental items you should keep. Don’t get rid of the items you will truly miss.
    • This applies to the one-year rule. There are certain sentimental items that you haven’t used in a year that you don’t actually have to get toss.
  • Tossing your old physical records that were digitized
    • After digitizing your records, don’t toss the old records you still need a physical copy of.
  • Waiting too long to make the move
    • When you are ready to move, making it in a timely fashion to make it easier for yourself.
    • Remember, it is harder to move the longer you wait to do it!
  • Not making a thorough plan, including not being financially prepared to move
    • There is a lot of planning that goes into moving, and when you add downsizing to the move, it makes it more complicated. 
    • Doing things such as packing one room at a time can make moving less stressful.
    • Depending on your current lifestyle, downsizing doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be cheaper for you.  
    • Be sure not to forget to factor in the lifestyle you want to lead when you calculate your new cost-of-living.
  • Moving just to discover you don’t love the lifestyle offered by your new home or community
    • If you are planning to move to a 55+ community, make sure you are comfortable living in that area and that you are comfortable in your new neighborhood. This includes finding a home and community that offer you an amenity-rich and maintenance-free lifestyle.
    • Make sure that the location you move to has a lifestyle that works for you or is near the things you enjoy doing. 

Now That You Are Prepared to Downsize Your Life, Contact Us Today!

Now that you are prepared to downsize your life, you have the tools that help this process go so much more smoothly. You can get more out of your space to make the life you are imagining. Contact us today to schedule a tour of Serenity at Meridiana with our top quality and efficient two and three-bedroom single-story homes designed with the 55+ active adult homeowner in mind.