Tips on Downsizing to a Smaller Home

  • Grandparents go for a fall hike with their grandkids.
Let’s scrap the word downsizing and replace it with a better term—rightsizing.

You’re moving to a place that’s right for you right now—a place that will give you the freedom to spend your time the way you want to without having to worry about maintaining space you don’t need.

There’s only one thing standing between you and your freedom—and that’s a house full of stuff.

Here’s how to tackle it all.

Plan Ahead

This is isn’t always possible, but the more time you give yourself, the easier (both emotionally and physically) a move will be. In fact, from the moment you first start thinking about rightsizing, it’s time to take action.

If you’re like most of us, you may have decades worth of stuff packed away in your house. Giving yourself adequate time will allow you to make decisions without feeling the pressure of a looming deadline.

Go Room by Room

This is a big project. Break it in to chunks by tackling one room at a time. Spend an hour a day working on that room until you’re done. If you’re feeling nervous, start with an easy room like a guest bedroom. If you’re feeling ambitious, go ahead and dive into your office or attic.

Set up a Sorting Table

In each room you work in, set up a folding table and chair, along with all the supplies you need, including boxes, trash bags, packing tape, and markers. You’ll be separating items into four categories: move, donate, keep for family members or trash.

Preserve Memories

Collect all your old photos in one place and then come up with a plan to preserve them—without taking up tons of space. Consider choosing your favorites and using a service such as Shutterfly to have memory books made. The rest can be saved digitally or on DVDs or—if there aren’t too many—simply stored in a box.

Hire a Pro or Have a Garage Sale

If you have a lot of larger, high value items to get rid of, consider hiring someone to help you host an estate sale. Yes, they’ll take a cut of the profits, but they’ll also catalogue your items, attract people to your auction and take care of all the paperwork. If, however, you’re just looking to unload a few old couches, some clothing, and more ordinary items, consider hosting your own garage sale.

Don’t Take Things Personally

You may have art or antiques that you want your children to have. Or maybe you’ve been saving favorite books or toys from their childhood to give to them. Despite all your effort and good intentions, they simply may not want these things.

Instead of assuming that your kids will want anything, ask them first. And don’t be offended if they turn you down. They’re not rejecting you or family memories; they’re simply saying they don’t have a use for those particular items.

Consider Self Storage

A self storage unit could be the bridge you need to transition into your new home. Maybe you have artwork or collectibles that you need time to sell. Or maybe you’re just having a hard time parting with certain possessions. If that’s the case, give yourself a deadline of six months or even a year. If you haven’t used something in that time period, you’ll know it’s OK to let it go.

At StorageMart, we offer affordable self-storage units that can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are clean and well-lit. Check out our storage unit size guide or rent a unit online today.

Rightsizing takes effort, but the end result is more time—and freedom—to enjoy what’s really important to you.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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