Downsizing? 5 Steps You Should Do Before You Start

Whether you’re downsizing an empty nest or just want fewer rooms to clean, moving from your large home to a smaller space can be an emotional process. It’s not just the reduced square feet that you have to contend with – it’s the decreased room for storage. And that often means getting rid of a lot of your belongings. If you’re in the process of downsizing your home, here are five steps you should do first:

1. Make a Plan

First, make a rough floor plan for your new home. This will help give you an idea of what will fit in your new space and can point you in the right direction of where to start before sorting through your belongings. For instance, you will be able to tell whether you can keep your china cabinet (and all its contents) or not.

2. Purge Your Belongings

Once you have a general plan, begin trimming down your possessions. Start with less sentimental areas, such as the kitchen, the laundry room or the spare room. Ask yourself a few questions: When was the last time I used this? Can I get by without it? Does it serve a purpose in my new home? If you haven’t used it within a year or it won’t be functional in your new space, get rid of it. Likewise, if you have more than one of the same object (like five spatulas) pick your favorite and move on.

Check out our Vine video on which shoes to stash vs. trash when downsizing:

3. Ask for Help

If you’re having trouble deciding what to keep and what to toss, enlist the help of a friend or family member. An objective party can make those tough decisions for you and help you decide if you really need that circa 1970 vase. Ask your friend to make three piles: keep, toss and donate/sell. You can then go through these piles to make the final decision.

4. Opt for Self-Storage

Getting rid of your possessions isn’t easy. For sentimental objects that you just can’t part with, opt for self-storage. Renting a storage unit can help give you the best of both worlds. You won’t clutter up your new home, but you also won’t have to part with family heirlooms and valuable items.

5. Pack as You Go

Gather your packing supplies and pack each room as your sort it. Use a color-coded system to organize your boxes. Choose a color for each room and mark the boxes designated for that room with a coordinating sticker.

Downsizing doesn’t have to be a horrible experience. With a positive attitude and a little organization, moving can actually be fun!