“It’s so much more than just a move… Making a move at any age can be difficult and stressful. After 30, 40, or even 50 years in your current home, the process of rightsizing and relocating to a new home is overwhelming.” ~ NASMM
I used to assume that people who downsized to a smaller home, condo, or apartment did so later in life when they found that maintaining a large home became too much. It turns out that is not necessarily the case. For example, a friend in her early 50s sold her 3000-square-foot house and moved into a 1500-square-foot apartment. After many years of saving and scrimping for their dream home, she and her husband decided to downsize and move. Their two children no longer lived at home, and they didn’t want the work and expense of maintaining a large house. And recently, yours truly downsized from a 3-bedroom home to a 600-square-foot apartment.
In fact, these events made me think about the work involved in downsizing because it is so much more than just a move. So, I’ll share these four downsizing tips in case you’re considering doing the same thing in the future.
Start early – much earlier than you think you need to.
One client started working with me five years before she sold her family home and moved to an apartment. While some people might think this is a little extreme, it was actually a good idea. We had the time to gradually sort, categorize, and downsize her belongings without the stress of a looming deadline. And gave her lots of time to prepare (mentally and emotionally) for the big day. In the end, she still took a few boxes of pictures and family mementos to her new home. However, she has since decided to pass them along to her children because she doesn’t want to keep them in her smaller apartment. It is not easy to give up many (or most) of your possessions when you are rushed to downsize and move, so being able to take your time is a huge benefit.
Buy a lot less in the months leading up to your move.
Reduce your shopping in the months before you move. Use as much of your current stock as possible and purchase only the essentials. You will have less to move, and stocking up in your new home will be much easier once you see how much room you have.
Get rid of home maintenance items.
The items you need to maintain a house, such as lawn and garden equipment, power tools, paint, lumber, etc., can be tedious and time-consuming to get rid of. Start selling or donating these items as far in advance as possible using services like kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. My philosophy is that giving away times for free is a great deal if someone will come and take them away. However, if you still have them when it comes time to move, you’ll have to pay someone to take them away.
Plan – in detail – where your furniture will fit in your new space.
Trying to fit large pieces of furniture into a condo or apartment sometimes proves difficult or impossible – and you don’t want this to happen on move day. Also, note the amount of storage space you have and try your very best to take only what will fit in that space. If you need to, use painter’s tape to mark the dimensions of your storage space on your living room or garage floor. Then, you can see how much “stuff” fits within the lines. Of course, you will likely want your new smaller space to feel open, airy, and comfortable. And you will only achieve this by taking what you genuinely love, use and need. It will be totally worth it, I promise!
Downsizing is so much more than just a move, so if you have a downsizing story to tell or tips to share, please leave a comment.