Just hearing the word “move” can bring about immediate feelings of anxiety. The stress of it all is compounded when thinking about the packing, organizing, and transport from one dwelling to the other. Especially if you have to downsize to a smaller home or an apartment. Getting rid of the stuff you don’t need can also be a tricky feat to master. Who knows-one day we may just need that collection of “high school team t-shirts and jackets”.
Your reasons for moving may be exciting! You’re starting a new job and want to be close to work, so downsizing is your best option. Maybe due to the housing market crash you can no longer afford your existing square footage and you need to find a more formidable living space. No matter the reason, there are a few tips that can help you keep your sanity in the midst of the transition.
First of all, ask yourself this question. “What could I replace if everything I have was gone? This is where you should take close inventory of all your possessions, even before you know the amount of space in which you’re moving. Imagine if they were all lost in a flood or fire-what would be the most important things you would want to salvage?
Start with a list of the things you simply can’t live without and then the things you could easily replace. Some of the unnecessary things could include items you could donate, sell or throw out. Decide which ones should be the first to go. Reserve your replacement list for those things that can be sold and replaced with smaller versions, like a TV or piece of furniture. Taking inventory can serve dual purposes that benefit your move, as well as provide needed information for your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. When moving in with someone else, comparing your inventory lists will help in placing your belongings and figuring out how you can blend with the other household member.
As you prepare to sell unwanted items, think ownership. Those things that you own that may not fit your smaller space are the items you want to sell for as much cash as possible. Bulky furniture pieces, appliances, computer accessories, and old books are perfect items to sell for cash. Organize a yard sale or make a detailed listing on Craigslist, social media, or in your local weekly classifieds. By focusing on making as much money as you can, you can buy newer smaller versions of these items and enjoy the fact that they will fit perfectly in your new living space.
Other items that are sellable may include the things you keep in the garage for “just in case”. Maybe you have an extra mattress, keyboard or ping pong table that you no longer use and was saving to re-purpose. These are specialty items primed to sell. The money you make from these items can later get you the extras you may need for your new lifestyle. Whatever doesn’t sell, you can always donate to charity as long as it’s in good condition. Remember, you’re downsizing.
If you are moving in with someone else, it is important to compare inventories, as mentoned earlier. Avoid duplicating items like chairs, couches, flatware, desks and glasses. More than likely they have these same items. Instead of bringing them with you, you might consider placing them in a storage unit until they are needed again. Storage units can be rented at a reasonable monthly cost.
Duplication of these items should still be avoided if you’re not taking a roommate. In the smaller home or apartment you will only have room for one set of everything. If it’s you and your partner, for entertaining you will have to change your mindset of serving large gatherings. You don’t have to neglect entertaining, maybe just your entertaining style with a smaller guest list. You must recognize that downsizing is a lifestyle change as well.
As you make the transition into your new home, allow for as much storage space as possible. There are several interesting options for storage that save space and should blend well with your choice of decor. Wall-mounted shelving can serve as a bookcase. You will have an interesting focal feature as well. In fact, you can make great use of your walls for storage where shelving can hold anything from art to clothing. A stylish ottoman that opens on top can serve as a sitting area for guests and a place to hide your nicknacks when company comes over. Under-bed storage boxes are super handy where you can store seasonal clothing without stuffing a smaller closet and don’t forget those shelves.
Downsizing may become a little emotional getting through the process, but try to focus on the new life you will get. You can look forward to a shorter work commute, a chance to save money or make a few new friends. Whatever the reason, make it happy experience.