Tips for Downsizing Before a Move

Written by Meghan, Healthy Living Expert on Monday, July 25, 2016

If you’re planning on moving into a smaller home – whether it’s a little house around the corner or an assisted living facility – you will likely need to winnow down your possessions to fit into your new space. Downsizing a lifetime of possessions is easier said than done, so start with a clear plan and the help of friends or family members.

Whether you are downsizing your own stuff or helping an older loved one sort through his or her possessions, the most important thing is to remember your primary goal: a clean, uncluttered new home. Perhaps the hardest aspect of downsizing is parting with items that hold sentimental value. Get used to saying goodbye, but also remember to keep a few special items to decorate your new place and remind you of fond memories. Here are 10 more tips to abide by while you prepare for moving into a smaller place.

  • Start early and clear out often: If you know you’re going to be moving to a smaller place in the future, start downsizing now. Pick a strategy – for example, do one room a week or make a list with daily to-dos.
  • Stay organized: As you sort through your things, choose an organization system. Get boxes that you label with names like “to sell,” “to keep,” and “for charity.” For big items, colored stickers can help you keep your decisions straight.
  • Visualize your future home: Do you want a tight, overcrowded apartment or a spacious, clutter-free oasis? Imagine your new home when you are sorting through your things and ask yourself: does this item really fit into my dream space?
  • Quality over quantity: Instead of packing your twelve banged-up pots, choose one or two high-quality cookware items to take with you to your new place. If you can, opt for items that can do multiple tasks in order to save space.
  • Be bold and decisive: “Maybe” is a dangerous place to be when you’re making decisions about whether to keep or toss an item. Indecision can keep stacks and piles waiting in limbo for weeks, months, or even years.
  • Focus on what you use: Think about your day-to-day life and what you use most. You may realize that many of your things you hardly use at all. Instead of asking: “will I ever use this?” ask yourself: “will I use this enough to justify the precious closet space it will inhabit?”
  • Start gifting family heirlooms: If you have prized possessions you no longer use, consider giving them away to family members and friends now, instead of bequeathing them in your will.
  • Turn downsizing into a moneymaker: While you can certainly give most of your possessions to family or charity, some items may be worth selling. If you have expensive or rare items you want to unload, consider auctioning or selling the items online on eBay or craigslist (or find someone who will sell your items for you). Alternately, get a receipt from the charities you donate items to. This way, you can get a tax deduction for your donations.
  • Ask someone else for help: It can be hard to make decisions about items that you feel attached to. If you are having trouble making a decision, ask an objective friend or family member to make the choice for you.
  • Hire a professional: Yes, there are professionals who will help you organize and downsize your possessions. If you are having trouble going it alone, consider hiring an expert help you sort through your belongings.

Downsizing is hard work, both physically and mentally. Always remember the end reward: a new, clutter-free home that better fits your needs. If you are not yet ready to move into a new home but are considering options for yourself or a loved one, remember that Paying for Senior Care can help address concerns about how you can afford long-term care, whether you need it now or might in the future. Reach out to us today with your questions, comments, or stories!