There are many life changes that lead people to downsize their homes. Maybe the kids have flown the nest, or you’re retiring, or you just don’t have the energy for yardwork. Whatever the reasons, sometimes it just makes more sense to find a smaller, more affordable home. If you’re looking for a house that better suits the life you want to lead, here are some downsizing tips.
1. Take pictures
Before you downsize, take pictures of your beloved home. This has a dual purpose. First, once you’ve moved you can relive precious memories in your old home. Second, take a look at the photos and notice what catches your attention. These are the things that you should bring with you to your new home.
2. Take what you need
Moving forward, what kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? Once you’ve thought about it, you should only bring the things that fit into that lifestyle. Leave all the furniture that will no longer fit in your new home. Get rid of the treadmill that you haven’t used in ten years. Don’t be tempted to keep something you no longer use regularly just because it cost a lot.
3. Get rid of unnecessary furniture
Take a good, hard look at your existing furniture. Many people tend to fill and sometimes overfill a room with furniture, but an overfilled room will appear smaller. More furniture also means more surfaces to clean and more areas to store and display things. Remove one or two pieces of furniture from a room and see if it makes a big difference. If it’s not essential, don’t take it with you when you move.
4. Eliminate off-site storage
If you have an off-site storage space, then you’re definitely not using any of the items that you’ve stored there. All of your stuff should fit inside your home. There’s no good reason for you to hang on to a vintage furniture set because one of your grandchildren might want it. After a few years, you can give them the money you save from storage fees so that they can buy their own furniture sets.
Many younger people would rather have experiences than items, so let go of whatever items you’re planning to pass on that no longer have a place inside your home.
4. Don’t bring something if you don’t have a designated space for it
Perhaps you’re downsizing from a house to a condo, and your beloved large sectional couch will no longer fit in your new, smaller living room. Let it go. This also applies to tables, buffets, and even beds. If you don’t have a designated space for something in your new home, then it’s time to sell it or give it away.
5. Get rid of old papers
You can throw away tax returns after seven years have passed. Pay your bills and do your bank transactions online, so that you no longer need to keep old bills or bank statements. Shred private papers that you no longer need but that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. If you no longer own a certain appliance, then it’s time to get rid of its warranty. You have to be very strict about the papers that you do decide to keep.
6. Take a long, hard look at your kitchen appliances and gadgets
If it’s been almost a year since you last plugged in your fancy bread maker, it’s time to let it go. The same goes for the waffle iron you were given as a wedding gift but never use. Edit your kitchen appliances and culinary gadgets and only keep the ones that you use on a regular basis. While you’re at it, get rid of old spoons and forks and any tableware that doesn’t match.
7. Keep objects that bring you joy
Don’t throw your beloved possessions away. Keep objects that make you happy, or have sentimental value, such as an heirloom plate from your parents or the artwork that hangs on your walls. However, make sure to throw away old items like threadbare towels and chipped mugs. Use your good china and linen instead of saving it for a special occasion.
Downsizing can be an emotional process, but once you get rid of stuff that you no longer need, you’ll be amazed at how much better your home looks and how much lighter you feel.
For more downsizing advice and other local real estate tips, get in touch with us, Kathy Danais at 860.214.1295 and kathydanais(at)gmail(dotted)com and Lisa Gordon at 860.805.7722 and lgordonrealtor(at)gmail(dotted)com. With over 15 years of experience, you can count on us to make the downsizing process as easy and pain-free as possible.