4 Tried And True Downsizing Tips For Your Next Move

Dated: 02/03/2018

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4 Tried and True Downsizing Tips for Your Next MovePhoto by Fraher Architects

For many people, the prospect of downsizing from a larger home to a smaller one can be quite the challenge. Sorting through possessions takes time. It can be emotionally taxing. It can be liberating.

We asked people to share their best downsizing advice. We gathered some of the best tips below.

Step 1: Get into the right mindset

Many acknowledged that shedding belongings can be stressful, and several had thoughts on the benefit of doing so. Even if you've made careful measurements and found new homes for the furniture that clearly wasn't going to fit in your new place, you may not realize until you move in that what you've brought just isn't going to work. The upside is, You have the perfect excuse to go shopping for new furniture. 

Downsizing is a wonderful time to change to a more minimal style and change your style and interior colors.

Keep in mind that you may have a few regrets when your sorting is through. There may be some things that you wish you had kept, but the rewards of having less stuff will be worth it!


Step 2: Decide what to get rid of

Often the most difficult part of downsizing is deciding what to let go of. Holding on to our past, whether in the form of corporate work clothes or grad school books, can be tempting because it feels comfortable.  Spend some time thinking of your goals for the next few years. What are you still holding on to that doesn't mesh with those goals?


In the kitchen, it's wise to keep appliances that are multipurpose and frequently used. If you entertain at all, don't scrimp on the table and chairs. 

Downsizing is also an opportunity to adopt a minimalist mindset with your wardrobe. Keep on hand only enough clothes for a three-week rotation or if you will be living in a place with seasons, three weeks per season. 

Some people advised not burdening family members with discarded possessions, while others noted the wisdom of at least asking your family members if they would like any of the belongings before you toss them.

Photo By Erin Carlyle 

Photo by Juliet Murphy Photography 

Step 3: Make the process as easy as possible for yourself

Given the mental work involved in deciding what to keep and what to pass along, you might as well take steps that will make the process easier for you. Having a place to sort through possessions is key. To keep your job organized, you might want to create as much empty space as possible. Pick a category, perhaps holiday decor, and then pull every item from that category out of hiding and place it in the staging area.

It can also be helpful to involve an organized friend, someone you can trust to help you decide what to keep and what to let go. For seniors who would be comforted by a sense of familiarity in their new surroundings, take a photo of the furniture layout and replicate it as best as possible in the new place. And on that note, taking photos of prized possessions, whether parts of a collection or simply something with a lot of memories, can make the letting go a little easier.

Pack what you have used in the last year and get rid of everything else.

Photo By Erin Carlyle 

Photo by Atelier SOFI(A) - Sophie Lallias Architecte DPLG 

Step 4: Maintain a lifestyle of less stuff

When you're living in small quarters, excess items will stick out like a sore thumb. Use smart solutions, such as under bed storage and built-in wardrobes. Just because you're downsizing doesn't mean that there won't be upkeep. A smaller house does not mean less work. It gets dirtier fast because you are using the same room over and over. Buy better quality furniture to last.


A final word

Go easy on yourself. Be proud that you're tackling a downsize. It will take some effort but you'll get through it, with a reward of a lighter lifestyle on the other side.

Blog author image

Pat Kiel

As an Associate Broker of Exit Realty Plus in Salt Lake City, Pat Kiel has enjoyed helping clients reach their real estate goals with purchasing, selling and investing for over 20 years. She has lived....

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