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Downsizing is like any other move, except you have to get rid of a lot more things. If finding a new place, selling your old one, and purging many of your items has got your head spinning, fear not! Here are seven great tips for downsizing to a smaller home (without the stress!).


Before going into any sort of downsizing purge make sure you know how much space you are going to have. Make or obtain a floor plan of your new space to really get an idea of what will fit, and what needs to find a new home. Keep in mind that some furniture has overhang and decorative items that add a bit more space than you think. Knowing this will allow you to add a few extra inches onto the measurement of each piece as you decide if it’ll come along to the new place.

Take Stock

Know what you have, as well as what you’ll need. As you go through your house, make a note of what you do have and write it down in a notebook. It’s also a good idea to make a list of the things you are for sure taking with you so you can know how much room you’ll have after. Taking stock of your items also helps you to see what you can get rid of, which is something we’ll cover more in detail a bit later.

Get Organized

Having spaces to store things in is crucial when you are downsizing. Make the most of the closets by installing shelving and drawers and buy or reuse containers that will help organize the space even more. You may even choose to use furniture that doubles as storage, such as a hall table that doubles as shoe storage or a trundle bed that gets tucked away under the bed during the day. Having a designated spot for everything and getting creative with it will help you feel less stressed in a smaller space.

Decide What to Live Without

Deciding what to keep and what to discard is the more difficult task when it comes to downsizing. We like to accumulate things that are attached to memories, and getting rid of those items can be painful. It may help to remind yourself of the reason you are downsizing and take a look at the things you absolutely need in your new place. Remember, though, that while you are downsizing to a smaller home, you still need to decorate the house. Make sure to set aside unique items to decorate with to make the home feel less like a hotel room. Small pieces are great for this, as they can be put on shelves or hung easily, and still, don’t take up much of a footprint.

Downsizing means cutting back on those things you have multiples of. You know what we’re talking about: those ten vases you swear you’ll need later or the coffee maker you never got rid of after getting a Keurig. Pare down your belongings to items you’re sure you’ll use regularly, and, in the case of the vases, only bring one or two. Decide which items do the job best and stick with your answer to get the most out of your new space.

Gift Heirlooms

If you inherited several heirlooms that only won’t fit in your new space, but you can’t convince yourself to get rid of, gift them to someone else. By giving them to a family or friend, you’ll still be able to visit the items and enjoy the memories attached, without holding a space for them in your own home. An excellent example of this would be a china hutch. While they may make for a great space to hold and display your fine china, they are often bulky and impractical for smaller spaces. By gifting the hutch to your sister who regularly uses her fine kitchenware, you not only save space in your home, you also help make your sister happier. Definitely a win-win!

Bonus: Host a Sale

If you’ve developed a rather large pile of items that you aren’t able to use any more but are still in fair condition, you might host a sale! Selling your items at an estate or yard sale helps you make a few extra bucks while getting rid of your items. If you have some especially rare or antique items such as some old toys or books, you might try taking them into your local antique store to see if they would give you a good price for them. Some other places to try and sell your unwanted items are eBay, OfferUp, and Craigslist. Whatever you don’t end up selling, you could always sell to your secondhand store or donate.

Although downsizing has the potential to raise your blood pressure, it doesn’t have to. Taking the time to measure your space and take stock of what you have will help you prepare. Getting organized, deciding what you can live without, and discarding doubles will help further the process along. And finally, gifting your heirlooms and selling/donating your leftover items will help make the process run as smooth as possible.

If you’re looking into downsizing to a smaller house, you’re going to need the help of a local real estate expert. Clever has got that covered. At Clever, we work with the top agents in your area to make sure you are getting the service you need at a price you can rest easy with. Call us today at   1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.


Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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