How to Downsize Prior to Moving to a New Home
Downsizing is a major step when moving. It’s not just a change of place, but potentially a major change of lifestyle as well. It means having fewer things to worry about, but also fewer things you might rely on. Perhaps you have so much that you won’t notice losing a few extra items and spare appliances. Whatever the reason you’re downsizing, know that it’s an involved process. It’s less about throwing old things away and understanding what makes something important enough to take with you into a new home.
Here’s a breakdown of the steps you should work through to prepare yourself for the work of downsizing before the move actually occurs:
Start Pretty Early
Time flies when you’re hard at work preparing for a new home. If you know when the move-out date is when all your utilities will be off, when the address will be changed for all your mail and services, plan 3 months ahead, at least. It’s a good idea to give yourself a long window to work with and not wait until the last minute when there’s too much to handle on top of all the physical and mental strain of moving in and out and around. Three months leaves you with plenty of time to think about what you need and take action.
Making Tough Choices
Going through all the things you own can be daunting. You may be surprised to see just how much you’ve been holding onto over the years. There are a few different organizational methods you can use to make the process easier. You can pick one thing every day to throw away until you can’t justify it anymore, or limit your options by only what you can bring in four boxes. For clothes, turn them all one way in your closet, then turn them around once you’ve worn them. Anything you never wore between starting and moving out, donate. Go room by room and determine what the most crucial components of each room are, then leave the rest for removal.
Start Planning Layouts
It’s easier to know what you’ll need when you can tell how it will look in your new space. If you have the dimensions for your new home, plan around them and understand how much you can fit in any given space or series of spaces. Your physical space isn’t all you should plan around. Consider what kind of life you plan on living from now on. A downsize isn’t just reducing what you own, it’s also your neediness, your wants, and your future plans. It’s about living an easier life with less in it, in order to reduce overall stress.
Keep Hard Rules
You want to make sure you don’t make too many exceptions. It’s easy to think that it won’t hurt to just take one thing that isn’t useful or helpful but looks nice. A couple of knick-knacks are fine, but things can get out of hand quickly. Keep an emphasis on decluttering and staying decluttered. Generally, think of the things you may keep, down to these simple criteria: Have you used it in the past six months? If you have, also consider, does it fit in your new home? Keep those items. If you haven’t used it or noticed it in that timeframe, is it at least sentimental and worth keeping for value other than immediate practicality? Keep that. And if it makes you plainly happy, you can keep that. Otherwise, consider giving it away to the family if it still works or is good, donating or selling it if no one wants it, or trash it if there is no further use and no one wants it.
Digitize Paper Goods
If you have a lot of papers and documents that need to be kept, you can either find some way to externally store them or consider digitizing them so they will no longer take up physical space but data space instead. Digital organization and decluttering is an entirely different skill set worth learning. As more and more of the world turn to online infrastructure, they will start requiring digital paperwork more than physical forms and hard copies. While it’s good to stick with formats that are easy to call on and not prone to corruption, it still takes a lot of space to hold onto papers. They’re light by themselves, but a bundle of paper can weigh you down.
Reuse What You Can’t Store
There may be some items or curios you definitely don’t want to part with but may be too complicated or bulky to stay with you in a smaller living space and lifestyle. Collections or art pieces can be especially tricky to consolidate, but it’s not impossible. Consider more creative outlets to keep your more memorable goods. Turn wardrobes into quilts so they can stay with you. Adapt art pieces to fit in new places in your next home, even outdoor art can find a good place indoors to be appreciated. Some items have obvious alternate uses, such as old trunks and chests being reused as general storage or whole dressers to replace the bigger, bulkier ones.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Moving is hard work, and it’s never easy. Just ask any of your friends or family that had to do it. And ask them for help first. Your friends and family members will likely have some insight or input into the things you might want to keep or help you get rid of. They can also be the first outlet for relieving you of your items as they may want them. Play to your strengths and be a guide or just a strong set of arms for others to direct and coordinate to make the move as efficient as possible. You can hire movers to help with the heaviest stuff, such as furniture and major appliances, on moving day to save everyone else the hardest job of all.