What to Consider When Downsizing

by Anna Dellani

A big house requires a lot of money and time for upkeep. Sometimes, people feel they can’t do it anymore, especially when they no longer need so much space. Increasingly, many couples, especially those whose children have moved out, are choosing to downsize to a smaller home. However, this sounds much easier than it actually is- there are many factors to take into account, including figuring out the size of home you now need and what to do with excess belonging. Here are our top tips for homeowners considering downsizing.

Should You Really Do It?

Even though you’ve probably made up your mind, ask yourself once again – what is the reason to move into a smaller home? Some of the main questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Have your children moved out a long time ago?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by too many things and a huge house?
  • Do you need extra space for a hobby?
  • Does your family visit often and sleep over?  
  • Do you organize big family dinners?

Answering these questions will help you decide if you still need to keep the bigger home, or whether downsizing is a better idea instead.

Does Your Family Agree?

Unless you’re moving on your own, downsizing should be a decision made by the whole family. Since your whole family has memories in your home, you should discuss with them before making the move.

Are You Ready to Leave?

Leaving your old home is not always easy, for both sentimental and practical reasons. You may have raised a family or spent hours with close friends and loved ones in your home, meaning your home is filled with memories - and your belongings. 

The Finances

Maintaining a smaller home is cheaper, and the mortgage rates are lower. However, be sure to take into consideration the costs related to the relocation, the difference in the price of the old and new house, packing, security deposits, etc. Make sure to calculate whether downsizing really pays off for you.

Effects on Your Lifestyle

Unless you’re moving next door, downsizing and relocation will probably affect your current lifestyle. Think about how your move may affect your daily routine, transportation, shopping, hobbies, etc. The proximity to your favorite places in town may change, so you may travel longer. Try to imagine your life after the relocation and ask yourself if your new neighborhood is right for you. 

All of the Work

Let’s be real – downsizing takes a lot of work. This should definitely be one of the things to consider, especially if you plan on doing everything on your own. Moving to another home requires decluttering, cleaning, and packing, which can take weeks. Make sure you’re ready to do it – that you have both the time and the strength to finish all the relocation tasks. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the new home:

  • Plan your relocation – Doing things in a hurry can leave you overwhelmed and maximize the risk of losing something or hurting yourself.

  • Sell or donate the items you no longer want to keep – You can earn some money or make someone in need happy!

  • Hire a moving company – Professional help may be necessary for this big project, and it will make the whole experience easier.

  • Pack wisely – make sure you label all of your boxes and color-code them. This will make unpacking much easier.

  • Make an inventory – This will protect you in case of accident or theft during transport.

  • Use what you already have as packing materials – Don’t forget to use your drawers, gym bags, suitcases, etc. to pack your items to save money on packing supplies.

Tips for Decluttering when Downsizing

  1. When it comes to moving to a smaller home, the biggest issue is, of course, space. When you start decluttering your house, you need to start with the big items. However, don’t give up on items if you really need them.  Consider renting a storage unit for big items you may need again later or seasonal items you don’t want to keep in your home.
  2. Next, go through your smaller items. Remove the general junk items first, and then consider what you want to do with the rest; there may be items you can sell to help finance your move or things your friends and family need. Think about what you’ll really need to avoid re-buying items later. 
  3. Get rid of the items you haven’t used in a year or longer. Excluding sentimental items, this will help you declutter.
  4. Think of the storage space – the number of items you’ll bring depends on the storage space you will have in your new home. Plan your storage use wisely (and get measurements beforehand if possible).
  5. Digitize – nowadays, you can scan your documents and pictures and upload videos and music to online cloud storage. It’s a huge space-saver.

About the Author

Anna Dellani is a blogger who writes posts for companies like IPS NYC Movers about how you can make your life easier during moving. She gives tips on packing and home organization, as well as interior décor. Anna also enjoys reading in her spare time, and she owns an impressive book collection.