how to successfully downsize your home

Home Selling

How to Successfully Downsize Your Home

August 13, 2018 | by Ben Mizes

how to successfully downsize your home

Ready to downsize your home? If you’re like most Americans, that means getting rid of a lot of stuff. We tend to keep items that we will use “one day,” like extra chairs, gift wrapping, clothes that no longer fit, or gifts you simply feel bad tossing.

Although it seems like a daunting task, it’s much easier to downsize with a plan! Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered with 7 easy steps.

Decide on a Space

Whether moving in with family members or buying a new house, you’ve got to choose your space first. When choosing your space, make sure the location is great and it has everything you need. Many people take a look at their items before choosing a home. When you’re downsizing, you want to do the opposite. Choose a property that will give you enough room to live happily without allowing you to bring unnecessary items that will just take up space.

If you need help finding and deciding on a property that fits your needs, ask a local real estate expert. They have access to many homes through the MLS and can help you find one that fits your needs fairly quickly. They can also help you list your current home for sale. Many real estate agents will also be willing to negotiate their commission when helping you both list and buy a house.

Take Inventory

Before making the big move, you’ve got to figure out what you need to take with you. Pick up a notebook that is dedicated just to downsizing and consider these three things:

What furniture will I need?

You know you’ll need a bed, but what type of bed will work best for the space you have? You may decide that you need all new furniture, or you may have some that will work perfectly. Walk through the house and take note of the pieces you think will work and take measurements of them to refer to later.

What types of storage options will I have?

You may have a walk-in pantry now, but will your new place have that much storage for food? If you have some pieces that double as storage, such as an ottoman that stores games, make note of it in your notebook to refer to later.

Is there anything I can get rid of right now?

As you walk through your house, you may discover that you haven’t used your piano ever, that stair climber is just gaining dust, and many books haven’t been off the shelves in years. If this sounds familiar, you may have just found the first items on your to-do list. Make a note of anything you can for sure get rid of right off the bat and save yourself some headache later on.

Clean Everywhere

When it comes to cleaning out your house, leave no cabinet unturned. Look under beds, empty drawers and reach into the depths of the closets. You want to get a feel for the number of things you have, and how much you actually need to get rid of.

Make a Floorplan

Obtain or create a floor plan of your new space. This is where the measurements of your furniture come in handy. Start playing with where you will put your furniture and other items. This will help you gauge the space you’ll have left over and help you decide which pieces you can actually keep and those you’ll need to find a new home for.

Some sites will help you see your floorplan in 3D, allowing you to get a feel for what the space will really feel like when you get there.

Get Rid of Items

Once you decide on what you’re going to get rid of, you have several options for getting rid of them.

  • Try selling larger items like furniture and weigh sets in local online groups like Craigslist or OfferUp, if you have time. You’ll likely get more money for them than your typical yard sale, and you won’t have to worry about moving them!
  • You may consider renting a dumpster if you have quite a bit to throw out. Your local waste management company can help you with options if you’re unsure of what size you’ll need.
  • If you have items of sentimental value that you can’t take with you, try gifting them to relatives or friends. You may even take a picture of the item so you can still recall the memories without needing a lot of room to store them.
  • If you have a lot of items that you need to sell rather quickly, consider holding an estate or yard sale, or taking your collectibles to an antique store.
  • Everything else can be quickly and efficiently donated to your local thrift store for others to enjoy

Pack It Up!

Once you’ve decided what is going, it’s time to start packing the boxes! Make sure you label every box with the room it’s going in and the major items inside. For the boxes that you’ll need right away, make an Open First label. Some things that would go in these boxes would be:

  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Toiletries
  • Soap
  • Towels
  • Clean linens
  • Any medications

Labeling each box will help the movers help you to the best of their abilities and make the process run efficiently.

Furniture First

Move the big items first, such as the couches, bed, tables, and chairs. Get a feel for where these items will go before bringing in any smaller items. If you have pieces of furniture that are going to double as storage, make sure to unpack straight from the boxes into these storage spaces.


As you unpack, make sure you find a place for each item. You should have only brought the items that have an intentional use to your new space, and therefore everything should have a place to go. Take the time to put away pots and pans, cutlery, and each of the food items in the kitchen, and hang up each piece of clothing as well. Organizing now will ensure less stress and decluttering for you in the future.

After following these steps and taking a look at your new space, it’s likely you’ll feel relieved. To keep that feeling, take the time to declutter regularly. Keep each item put away in its designated space and enjoy the light feeling of downsizing.

Need help finding a house? Use a Clever agent. Clever uses the top agents in your area to give you the best experience at a greatly discounted rate. Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.

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