You’ve been living in a large home since you can remember, the kids have grown up and rooms are sitting unused, gathering dust. Sounds like you?
At some point in your life, we all desire to live a simpler life, with less cleaning and maintenance involved so we can spend our time doing the things we love doing. Or you moved cities and house prices are higher where you are going and you cannot afford to buy a property as big as the one you currently live in.
That happened to me when moving from New Zealand to Australia. House prices meant we had to downsize from a 3 bedroom house with a large garage to a small 2 bedroom apartment in Sydney’s East Suburbs.
Moving is already stressful, downsizing is even more exhausting, that’s why Posch & Silva has created this quick and easy list based on feedback from hundreds of customers that have been through this process.
How to Prepare for Downsizing Your Home
1. Remember the ‘why’
You are going through this process for a reason, it might be because your bedrooms are unused most of the time or the house feels too big now the kids have moved out. Whatever the reason for downsizing, ensure to remain focused on why you are moving. It will make it easier to dispose of items you don’t need anymore and break that emotional attachment with clutter that will probably not fit in your new place.
2. Minimize duplicate items
You’ll be amazed on how many duplicate items you’ll find when packing to move. Your new smaller home will probably not have room to accommodate double ups. The packing process is perfect for disposing of these duplicates.
Your kitchen utensils drawer is bound to have two of something. Remember that you don’t need two potato mashers or two sets of measuring cups that do the same job. Keep the one you like the most and donate the unwanted item.
Wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, tool sheds, etc are known for duplicates that will just take up space and make your new space feel cluttered.
3. Consider the size of closets and cabinets as much as the size of the rooms
One common mistake is to consider room sizes and forget closet and cabinet spaces.
If you are downsizing from a 4-door to a 3-door wardrobe, you’ll need to sort through your current wardrobe’s contents to ensure all the items you want to keep will fit at the other end.
Make notes of how much hanging space and how many drawers and shelves there are in the new wardrobe, then assess contents and plan ahead how you’ll organize it within the space you have. You might need to store items you are not wearing this season but don’t forget that a storage plan will be required also.
4. Think about how you use your current space
Assess how you use your current space and draw a plan of how you can make your smaller space work based on your needs.
When I moved to the 2-bedroom unit It was important to have a home office as I work remotely but I could not dedicate an entire room to be used only for that purpose because a guest bedroom was also a necessity. The solution was to create an office/ guest bedroom space that could function for both of my needs and replace the guest bed with a sofa bed. Not only did the space feel like an office, it also provided extra sitting space for conducting meetings.
5. Work out your non-negotiables
Think about elements of your daily life that are absolutely essential. Before choosing your next home, make sure you have a list of things and spaces you need to perform your core daily functions.
If you do several loads of washing a week, a space for a washer and dryer is a must and not having this facility might truly impact on your happiness.
I never understood the necessity of a linen cabinet until I had to live several years without one. Even though this seemed like a small issue for some people, it was a constant frustration for me.
6. Start de-cluttering now
De-cluttering is a process. It takes time (a lot of time!) and effort.
Don’t leave it to the last minute as you are likely to keep items you don’t really need that might have to be disposed of at the other end.
Take your time and go through every room slowly and don’t forget to sort through the garage, shed and storage spaces.
You might find few treasures that have the potential to make you some money. Social media channels such as Facebook, provide great tools to help you get rid of your unwanted items and in the end, you might be able to cover a chunk of the cost of moving with the money you make from these items.
7. Do not rule out a separate storage
If there isn’t enough space for things you want to keep, don’t be afraid to put them in storage until you know how you feel in the new space.
Downsizing is an emotional process and making decisions on what to keep, throw or sell can be quite stressful.
If you feel overwhelmed and require more time to think through throwing or keeping an item, storage is a great cost-effective option. Storage facilities often allow you to access your items easily but remember that if an item has been in storage for too long, you might not need it after all. Give yourself a timeframe to determine if it’s worth keeping those items.
Change is never easy. Downsizing is tiring but it doesn’t need to be tough. Once you move into your new place and start living the simpler life it will all be worth it.