The kids move out, and your house feels too big and empty. Maybe you’re tired of the effort it takes to maintain your property. You might lower your mortgage or save money on utilities if you move to a smaller home. All are good reasons to consider downsizing.
Even so, downsizing can be daunting, especially if you treat it like a once-and-done event. Instead, take a deep breath and remind yourself that downsizing is a process. These tips will help you get started.
Tip 1: Ease into downsizing
When we live in the same place for a long time, we tend to accumulate a lot of possessions. A process that took years, maybe decades to unfold won’t be easy to reverse overnight. Downsizing can be stressful if you suddenly feel rushed to do something about all the things you own. If possible, start downsizing well before you make your move.
If you’re not sure how to begin, find some books to help ease you into the process, like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo or Downsizing: Confronting Our Possessions in Later Life by sociology professor David Ekerdt.
At the very least, start an inventory of what you own. It’ll come in handy when deciding what to keep and what dispose of before you move.
Tip 2: Talk to your children about downsizing
Downsizing is an emotional process as much as a physical one. By the time you decide to move, you’ve come to terms with the change. But your children may have mixed feelings about the loss of their childhood home. You can help them with the transition by talking openly about your plans and signaling your intentions beforehand. In other words, try not to spring a decision on them without warning.
Before the move, it also may help to share memories with each other as a process for letting go. After the move, explore ways to make your new home a comfortable place to make new memories.
Talking with your children beforehand makes downsizing easier for another reason: When you’re ready to declutter and organize your possessions, they may want something you’re trying to get rid of.
Tip 3: Use your inventory to organize
Your new home will be smaller, so you can’t take everything. As you start downsizing, make a list of what you have. It will help you decide what to take and what to leave.
Consider separating your possessions into three major categories:
- Things you don’t want or won’t need. This category includes anything that isn’t going with you. It could include furniture that won’t fit in your new home, for instance. Or if you’re moving from a house with a yard to someplace without a yard, you won’t need your lawnmower, rake, hose, and so on.
- Things you need and won’t replace. In this category, you might include furniture that you need, like a bed, but that you’d rather move to your new home than replace. It would also include your cookware, utensils, and similar items.
- Things you want and can’t replace. Not everything we own can be categorized by its utility. This category includes things you love and things that have special meaning to you, like mementos, keepsakes, and photo albums, for example. If you won’t have room in your new home to bring all that you want in this category, see if you can find these items a new home.
Remember that downsizing is a process and you don’t need to get rid of everything at once. If you have a place for it in your new home, you can bring a possession with you and decide what to do with it later.
Tip 4: Get help with your move
A full-service mover can help smooth your downsizing process, from expert coordinating to packing to relocating. The moving professionals at JK Moving Services are trained in a fully furnished training home facility before they ever come to you. On move day, you can trust that they’re skilled in protecting your home and belongings from damage. To learn more about our residential moving services, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.