If you’re looking to downsize your home, you might feel overwhelmed by decluttering and letting go of cherished possessions. Perhaps you’re unsure what to do with furniture that won’t fit in your new, smaller space, or maybe you’re struggling to eliminate years’ worth of accumulated clutter.
There’s a solution that can make downsizing to a smaller home easier. By enlisting the services of an interior designer, you can navigate the downsizing process with grace and style.
With their expertise in space planning and creative solutions, designers can help you navigate the downsizing process while ensuring that your new, smaller space still feels comfortable and stylish. Let’s dive into how interior designers can provide you with decluttering tips and take away all the overwhelm.
How to downsize your home
According to a survey by the American Association of Retired Persons, 77% of adults aged 50 and over aspire to stay in their existing homes as they age; however, empty-nesters and retirees may find downsizing a better option. A smaller home requires less cleaning, effort, and maintenance.
Downsizing your home can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to do it all yourself; these guidelines will help make the transition easier.
Understand your reason for downsizing
Your decision to downsize your home might have been prompted by various factors such as retirement, pursuing a minimalist lifestyle, cutting costs, relocating to a different city, or coping with an empty nest when children go to college.
Despite the challenges of relinquishing possessions and adapting to a smaller living space, maintaining awareness of the underlying reason for your move can ease the transition to this new phase of life.
Declutter Your Home
Downsizing to a smaller home means you will have to get rid of some items so that everything else fits comfortably. So go through your belongings before you move.
An important question people ask during the downsizing process: What exactly should you do with your stuff after getting rid of clutter before a move? What’s the best way to discard things after sifting through years of household items?
One great decluttering strategy is using the Four-Pile Sorting System – Giveaways, donations, sale items, and trash. As you’re decluttering, create four separate piles for:
- Giveaways: Share these no-longer-needed items with anyone who may find a use for them. While it may be challenging to part with items you’ve had for years, you’ll feel better giving them to others who will enjoy using them.
- Donations: These include items you or your family members don’t need but can still be used. You can take them to a local donation center, and there are organizations that will pick up items from your home if you arrange it ahead of time.
- Sale items: This is an optional pile, but it’s also a simple way of getting extra money that you can use to fund your downsizing project. Consider tag sales, Facebook Marketplace, and other online marketplaces.
- Trash: Even if some belongings have served you well and even have sentimental value, there are some things you will not use again. Give these items in this pile a home.
Create these piles in four distinct corners or different rooms to avoid mixing them up.
Remember to start small when decluttering. Avoid starting with the biggest rooms in your house with the most attachment, like the garage or kitchen. Start with areas like the laundry room or closet, where there aren’t many things to tug at your heartstrings and divert your attention.
Eliminate bulky items you’ll have no place to store
Moving from a house to an apartment means you no longer have the luxury of a garage or office where you can store large items like bulky furniture or equipment. You can find a new home for these items by selling them through garage sales, online marketplaces, or social media groups. Alternatively, you can donate them to local charity organizations.
Categorize your items into ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ piles
When it comes to sorting through your belongings, it can take time to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of indecision, creating a third pile of items you might want to keep if you have the space. This is known as the Maybe pile, which can quickly become bigger than the other two.
Avoid this trap by taking a hard look at each item before deciding whether or not it should stay. Ask yourself if you use it regularly, and if so, keep it. Otherwise, ensure that everything goes into the Yes or No pile – no Maybes allowed!
Downsizing home checklist
Downsizing your home can be a big task, but it can help simplify your life and reduce stress. Whether you’re downsizing from a house to an apartment or just looking to declutter, having a checklist can help you stay organized and ensure you take all the important steps. Here are some items to include in your downsizing home checklist:
Set a timeline
Determine a realistic timeline for your downsizing project, keeping in mind any deadlines you may have, such as a move-out date. Downsizing is a journey, so give yourself more time than you think you will need for your decluttering plan.
A simple guideline for setting a timeline includes considering the following actions that need to be done before your move-out date:
- Thinking about your location options and ideal lifestyle – for example, do you want an ocean or forest view? Do you want to move closer to family or stay in the area you’re familiar with?
- Decluttering items and storing away important documents or valuable possessions
- Preparing your house for sale by tidying it up to make it presentable to potential buyers
- Making final arrangements such as booking moving companies, contacting utility providers, packing or buying new items, and paying the final settlement for your new residence
Create a budget
Downsizing your home can be expensive, so creating a budget is important before you start the process. By creating a budget, you can establish clear spending limits for different aspects of the downsizing process, such as buying a new home, paying for moving expenses, buying furniture for your new home, and hiring interior designers to help with decluttering and organizing. This helps ensure you stay within your overall budget.
Make a list of things you want to move with
Before you start packing up your belongings, list items that are important to you and that you want to keep. This will help you focus on what’s important and make it easier to decide what should stay and what should go.
Measure your new space
Measure the rooms in your new home and compare them to those in your current home. Taking this step ahead of time will help you determine which items you can bring with you and which items you’ll need to discard.
Organize important documents
Make copies of important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, and financial records. Keep the copies in a safe place, and consider digitizing them for easy access.
Label boxes with the room they belong in and pack items you won’t need right away at the bottom of the box. This will make unpacking easier and more efficient.
If you’re moving to a new home, research and hire a reliable company to help pack and transport your belongings.
To find a reliable moving company, ask for recommendations from family and friends who have recently moved. Next, research the companies you’re considering by checking their reviews on Yelp or Google.
Make sure the company is licensed and insured, and ask for a written estimate before agreeing to anything. Finally, be wary of companies that require large deposits or ask for cash payments, as these can be signs of a scam.
Remember to notify utility companies, credit card companies, and other important services of your change of address.
By following this checklist, downsizing your home can be a manageable process. You can create a more streamlined and stress-free living environment with a little planning and organization.
How an Interior Designer Can Help
An interior designer can help you make the most of your space while retaining your sense of style and comfort. Here are some ways an interior designer can help you to downsize your home:
Interior designers can help you determine how best to use the space in your new, smaller home. They can create a layout that maximizes the available space and helps you to maintain a comfortable and functional living area.
An interior designer will also walk you through some decluttering ideas and tips, such as:
- Starting with a plan and setting clear goals for what you want to achieve.
- Using a sorting system to help you stay organized and make it easier to decide what to do with each item.
- Clearing out clutter and being ruthless when it comes to letting go of things you no longer use.
- Creating storage solutions using tools like storage containers, shelves, and others to keep things neat.
- Making it a habit to regularly declutter and reorganize your home to keep it looking and feeling clutter-free.
Custom storage solutions
Interior designers can create custom storage solutions. They can help you identify which items are essential and create a storage plan to solve challenges such as crowded kitchen space, untidy pantries, cluttered hallways, or tiny closets.
Color and lighting
If the house you’re moving to has limited space and natural light, an interior designer can help you choose colors that create the illusion of a larger space and provide appropriate lighting solutions to make your home feel bright and airy.
Wondering what to do with furniture when downsizing? An interior designer can help you choose the right furniture that fits your new space while retaining your personal style. They can help you choose stylish and functional pieces, ensuring your home remains comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Interior designers help you find creative ways to accessorize and decorate your new, smaller space. They can offer suggestions on how to create a cohesive look while minimizing clutter and keeping a clean, organized space.
By working with an interior designer, downsizing your home with style can be a stress-free and enjoyable experience. They can help you create a comfortable and functional space that meets your needs while maintaining your unique style. They do this by establishing the space needed for decorative items and determining the right colors, materials, and lighting to match your style.
When downsizing your home, enlisting the help of an interior designer can make the process more manageable and less stressful. Their expertise and eye for detail can help you create a comfortable, functional, and visually pleasing living space that reflects your unique style and personality.
In addition to their design skills, interior designers can provide valuable advice on maximizing storage, minimizing clutter, and repurposing items you already own. They can suggest innovative storage solutions and help you decide what to keep, donate, or sell.
Furthermore, working with an interior designer can save you time and money in the long run by helping you avoid costly design mistakes and unnecessary purchases. By trusting in the expertise of an interior designer or professional downsizer, you can downsize your home with ease and confidence, knowing that your new space will look and feel just as good as your previous one, if not better.
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