How to Downsize To A Smaller Home

Moving --- the one word that brings stress to the most level-headed person. The average person moves at least twice in their lifetime.  There are many reasons why people move from relocating for a new job, new school or opportunity to needing a larger home or downsizing to a smaller home. In the last few years, there has been a trend to moving into smaller homes or micro apartments.  This is especially true for young professionals who want to live in a desirable neighborhood, closer to their jobs or want to live downtown closer to amenities they desire. Moving and the thought of going through all your belongings, deciding what to keep, what to store, what to donate, or what to give to family members, can make the entire moving process overwhelming.

How to Downsize Your Belongings

Part of the downsizing process is determining which items can be stored, donated, given away to family members, sold or thrown away. Knowing the plan or layout of your new home will allow you to determine what furniture you can bring along and how much extra storage space you’ll have. It’s always best to figure out whether your belongings will fit in your new space in advance of moving day.

  1. The first step for downsizing to a smaller home is sorting through your current belongings. When moving to a smaller home, keeping everything may not be ideal.
  2. Take an inventory of what you have and what would you replace if it was gone. Don’t forget the items in the basement, attic or closets. From your inventory, create lists of items that you must have, items that you can live without and things that can be replaced. The items that you can live without can be donated, sold or placed in storage.
  3. Set a limit to the amount of space that you are willing to give to a certain items like books or collectibles. Once you fill the allotted space, then the rest goes in storage. Rotate the books or collectibles on display every few months for a fresh look.
  4. Letting go of certain personal belongings or items is the hardest thing to when downsizing. Be selective on what children’s projects and schoolwork to keep. Keep a few wonderful original drawings and “My Family” items, but the less personal ones can go.  There are items that are really hard to let go of, but something that might not have any use in a smaller home. Take a picture of these items and let the original “go”.  Keeping antique furniture or certain family heirlooms that does not fit in with your new décor or style is not a good idea.
  5. When downsizing to a smaller home, everything in your new space must have a purpose. Make use of the space that you have by adding a shelf or cabinet or storage solutions. Make use of walls for storage and keep things off of the floor.
  6. Pick storage containers wisely. Square or rectangular storage boxes makes better use of a limited space. Use decorative wicker or canvas baskets for storage. Cubes can double as storage and extra seating.
  7. All furniture should serve a multi-function: sofas and chairs should convert to sleeper beds or coffee tables need to double as work space and meals tables.
  8. Be selective with the amount of clothing that you need to keep in your closet.  Limit the amount of clothes, shoes and accessories that you can have and stick to it. Once you buy something new, get rid of an item in your closet.

Staying Clutter Free in Smaller Spaces

Adopt a stringent and ruthless approach to what comes into your home. Don’t let the smaller space get cluttered again. Make sure that everything you bring in, everything you buy or order online is something you can store in a small space without too much effort.  Do not let the clutter into your new space.  Cut back on magazines or catalogs, freebies or take-aways that you receive at events. Recycle the magazines that you currently have immediately after reading.  Living in a smaller space will not allow you to keep a large store of bulk items. Limit how much you buy in bulk and utilize recycling and reusable containers.  The biggest challenge is to stay clutter free. A general tip is if you haven’t used something in 6 months, get rid of it.

Belongings that need to be kept, but will not fit in the smaller home can easily be stored in a storage unit. Renting a storage unit close to your new home is a great idea, so you can easily access the items when or if you need them. ezStorage has 46 storage locations in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas that offer a variety of household storage options from climate controlled to non-climate controlled storage units to outdoor RV and boat storage.  Our storage professionals can help solve your downsizing storage needs.