Downsizing Your Home With a Plan
At some point in life, you may find yourself wanting to move out of a larger home for something smaller and more manageable. Whether you are an empty-nester or just simply looking for something more suited to your current needs and lifestyle, it’s important to have a solid plan in place before going down this path. With proper care, patience, and planning, you can get rid of unneeded items and keep what you value — without sacrificing anything along the way. If downsizing your home is on your to-do list, here are some tips to guide you through the process.
Pull out your measuring tape, and measure the size of your rooms, so you know how much storage area you actually have. Once you’ve got those measurements, consider where items belong — kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and so on — and how many items should ideally be in each room. It’s better to underestimate than overestimate here; that is, don’t assume that all of your pieces will fit in your new home. Some things will simply have to go, especially when it comes to furniture.
This process will give you an idea of what should stay and what might need to go once you move into a smaller space. For example, if there are six chairs in the dining room but only four people who regularly eat at home, then maybe you need a smaller table with fewer chairs and more storage space for linens or dishes instead.
Go One Room at a Time When Downsizing
If you are downsizing your home, it can be a daunting task to begin getting rid of items. But it doesn’t have to be. The secret is to go one room at a time when deciding what to keep and what to sell or donate. Start with big items such as furniture, and work your way down to small items.
Ask yourself: What are your needs going to be? Do you need space for entertaining? Is it important that you have an established outdoor space? Are you downsizing due to health reasons, or are you just ready for something smaller? Consider your “must-haves” as you determine which pieces will still be functional and which ones are best donated or sold.
Once you have an idea of what you want from your new home, then it’s time to start making decisions on what to keep and what can go. As you move from one room to the next, think about how each item fits into your plans — and literally, how it will or will not fit in a smaller space. Also, consider whether items should go to Goodwill or another local charity, or if they are valuable enough to sell on consignment or pass along to another family member.
Sort All of Your Belongings
Once you have an idea of which larger items you plan to keep, sell, or give away, it’s time to sort through your smaller belongings. We recommend making “yes” and “no” piles to help you quickly organize your things. Get rid of any multiples of things you have, like china and coffee pots, along with any clothes you haven’t worn in over a year.
If you’re unsure about what to do with an item, ask yourself: Do I love it? Do I use it enough? Is this something I would buy again if it were lost/broken? If the answer is no, then chances are good that it can be donated or sold. Many organizations offer free pick-up services for donated items; call first to be sure they can manage your donations, particularly if you plan to donate furniture.
You’re just learning how to downsize, but you might not have mastered the art of getting rid of sentimental items such as photos. For these precious memories, consider digitizing photos to save on physical space. A digital picture frame that rotates photos in and out is a great option for keeping memories front and center without taking up a lot of room. You can also take photos of items you can’t take with you but may bring up good memories.
When it comes to storing and sharing your digital files, consider creating a shared folder on a cloud storage provider that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection. This way, you have access to all the files you need from any device.
Take Your Time for Downsizing
Downsizing your home can be an emotional process, especially if you have lived there for decades, lost a loved one, or simply need a safer living space that’s free of stairs and other obstacles as you get older. Be kind and patient with yourself, and take your time as you clear out your home. If you have help from loved ones, make sure they understand the importance of not rushing through this process. The last thing you want is to get rid of things you later regret eliminating or, on the flip side, go through the hassle of moving things you should have gotten rid of instead.
Think of downsizing as an opportunity to declutter your life in the most literal sense possible — less stuff means more room for happiness. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring joy into your life, and make sure what remains will have a proper place in your new home and downsized lifestyle.
Final Thoughts on Downsizing Your Home
While downsizing your home can be overwhelming, it’s also an opportunity to clear out any excess items and only hold on to the things that you want and need in your life. If you have questions on how to downsize your home, our experts are here to help with anything you need. At Midwestern Realty, we’re here to guide you through the process of downsizing and help you find a smaller home that’s more suited to your current lifestyle. Contact us today online or call us at (517) 278-6400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation with us, and we’ll be happy to get the process started.