The number of Americans looking to downsize to a smaller home is skyrocketing.
According to a Zillow report, 46% of baby boomers who sold their homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing.
Whether because of retirement, kids moving out, a drop in income, or other reasons, it often makes financial sense to find a smaller and more affordable place to live. With that said, the process of downsizing can be a daunting idea. These steps and suggestions will help make the downsizing process as smooth as possible.
1. Take Photos Of Your Home Before You Downsize
As you’re preparing to move to a smaller place, take photos of all the rooms in your house. This is helpful for a couple reasons. First of all, it can feel intimidating to have to part with belongings in order to fit into a smaller space. Taking photos helps you distance yourself a little bit from the process. You can take time to look through the photos and decide what you want to keep and what you should probably part with.
Additionally, taking photos helps alleviate the feelings of nostalgia that come with downsizing. Chances are, you’ve lived in your current house for many years and made a lot of memories there. Taking photos will help preserve those special memories and make the downsizing process a little easier.
2. Purge Your Paperwork
Purge any paperwork you don’t absolutely need when you downsize. Even if you’re not downsizing any time soon, this is a step you might want to get started on now.
Throw out receipts that are years old. Go ahead and throw out tax returns if they are seven years or older. Don’t keep bank statements you can access online. Be ruthlessly selective about which papers you actually keep.
3. Stop Acquiring Knick Knacks
Be conscientious about what you buy when trying to downsize. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy anything new, but now is not the time to start collecting items you don’t need. Think through your purchases. Maybe make a rule for yourself that for every new item you purchase, let go of something else in your house.
This will make your move to a smaller home less overwhelming.
4. Only Make Yes Or No Piles—No Maybes
When you’re going through years of possessions, some things are going to tug on your heartstrings. You’ll probably be tempted to hold onto things you simply don’t have room for. You could easily end up with a giant “maybe” pile. When that happens, you really haven’t made any progress in sorting, just moved it to a different location.
Hazel Thornton from New-Mexico-based “Organized for Life” says, “If you already weren’t using it, or didn’t like it, why on earth would you want to pack it up and schlep it to your next house?”
Take a hard look at every item you pick up. If you use it regularly, keep it. But it’s time to let something go if it’s been sitting in a closet or on a shelf for a year or more.
5. Use Your Tape Measure
If you’re downsizing to a smaller home, you might not have enough room to fit all the furniture you want to keep. During the downsizing process, measure your furniture to make sure it will fit properly into your new place.
The last thing you want is to move your large sofa into your new home and discover that it doesn’t fit. Measuring your belongings will give you a clear picture of what you can take with you and what you’ll need to part with.
6. Get Rid Of Duplicate Items
Over time, it’s easy to accumulate duplicates of items. Look at what you have multiples of and only keep your favorites. The kitchen is a hotspot for duplicates. Do you really need ten wooden spoons? Probably not.
Also, while you’re in the kitchen, look through your pantry and spice cabinet. Toss out any food or ingredients that have expired or you haven’t used in a while. You might be surprised how much you can get rid of.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Sell Some Things by Yourself
Craigslist, Ebay, consignment shops, and yard sales are all great ways to sell belongings you don’t have a use for anymore. Ebay and Craigslist have very wide audience pools for potential buyers. Consignment stores are great if you’re looking to get rid of high-end furniture, handbags, and other accessories. With a yard sale, you’ll probably be able to sell items quickly, but you might not make as much money off them.
Determine what items you want to sell where and then follow through with that plan.
8. Make A Plan For Moving Day
Once you’ve actually downsized your belongings, decide how you want to make your move. Are you going to need family members to help you pack and drive a moving truck? Will you pay for a full-service moving company to pack, ship, and unpack your things?
It’s important to keep your options in mind as you downsize because it might change your mind on whether to keep or sell certain items.
Get Help From A Local Agent
If the downsizing process sounds intimidating, don’t hesitate to contact experienced agent, Kim Clark. With over 15 years of experience, she knows exactly how to assist you in any step or your housing journey. Make the downsizing process easy—contact Kim today.