Maybe your kids have grown up and moved out on their own. Maybe you’re looking for ways to save money for your retirement. Or maybe you’re just tired of cleaning all of those rooms in your house.
Whatever your reason, there is likely to come a time in your life when you decide to downsize.
And while it’s always exciting to move into a new place, moving to a smaller place can be tricky. Inevitably, you’ll need to get rid of some things.
Before you hire movers and start packing, check out these seven tips for downsizing your space.
1. Think About Your Current Lifestyle
For many people, downsizing doesn’t just mean moving into a smaller place — it also means that their lifestyle is about to change.
Think about what you envision your new lifestyle to be. Think about how your life is going to change and which of your items will or won’t be important or relevant in your new place.
You won’t be able to keep everything you have. Prepare yourself mentally because you’re going to have to make some big, difficult decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of.
2. Declutter Every Room
The first step in downsizing is to declutter every room.
Go room by room throughout your current house or apartment and make three piles in each: things to keep, things to donate, and things to toss.
The trick to decluttering is, to be honest with yourself and to commit to getting rid of anything you don’t need or want. This includes everything from books to kitchen accessories to the clothing hanging in your closet.
Once you’ve done a thorough decluttering, reassess the items you’ve decided to keep. Depending on how small your new space is, you may need to thin out your keep piles a bit more.
3. Get Rid of Duplicates
As you’re decluttering, pay special attention to duplicate items.
Do you really need 30 pairs of jeans, or can you pare down your collection to the three or four pairs you like the most?
Do you have multiple sets of dishes in your kitchen cabinets? If so, keep one everyday set and one “good” set for special occasions. The others should go!
Is your linen closet piled high with multiple sets of sheets for every bed in your home? Get rid of all that excess and keep only two or three sets for each bed that you’ll have in your new space.
Getting rid of duplicate items is a great way to scale back on what you have without feeling like you’re getting rid of things you actually need.
4. Choose Quality Over Quantity
As you decide what to get rid of and what to keep, place an emphasis on quality over quantity.
Keep high-quality items that have held up well over time or that you paid a lot of money for. Keep family heirlooms and items that have special meaning.
It’s the cheap, disposable items that you’ll want to get rid of.
It’s best to move into your new place with as few things as possible. If you find that you do have room for some additional things, it’ll be a lot easier on your wallet to replace cheap items rather than expensive ones.
5. Invest in Multipurpose Furniture
When you live in a large house or apartment, it’s easy to buy furniture just to fill the space. But when it comes time to downsize, you’ll probably realize that you no longer have room for all of those tables, cabinets, and chairs. In fact, you may have furniture you love that you simply cannot take with you.
Many people living in small apartments find great value in multipurpose furniture. So when you’re downsizing, be open-minded to the idea of dual-purpose furniture, such as tables that have hidden storage compartments or a sofa that pulls out into a bed.
The smaller your new space is, the more important you’ll find this. Before you pay for the expense of moving your current furniture, consider investing in a few new double-duty pieces instead.
6. Learn to Maximize Storage Space
The organization is key in a small space, and the only way to get and stay organized is to have plenty of storage.
In your new home, look for opportunities to maximize storage space. This includes mounting shelves on walls, buying storage boxes, and making use of every bit of space in kitchen cabinets and closets.
In a small home, you’ll quickly realize how essential it is not to let storage space go unused or wasted!
7. Make Sure Every Item Has a Purpose
When it’s time to actually pack your boxes and physically move your stuff, be sure that every item you’re taking to your new home serves a purpose.
For example, do you have boxes full of crafting supplies but haven’t done any crafts in decades? Do you have tons of camping equipment but haven’t been camping in years? Are you packing pool floats and outdoor toys even though your new place doesn’t have a pool?
It may be difficult to get rid of certain things, but if it no longer serves a purpose, donate it, or sell it.
When you get settled in your new home, there may be a whole bunch of new things you want to buy. Save room for new items by not filling your closets with useless stuff from your old home.
There are pros and cons to downsizing, but it can be especially tough to have to get rid of items that you want to keep.
In a hurry to move and don’t have the time to sort through every single item you own? If your current space is packed with family heirlooms and sentimental items that you aren’t sure what to do with, there is another solution:
Rent a storage unit near your new place.
Then, when the stressful move is over, spend some time analyzing each item to decide whether or not it’s something you want to have in your new home.
Caitlin Sinclair is the property manager at Harmony 3900, a luxurious apartment community in South Salt Lake, Utah.