When you live in a larger home, it’s all too easy to feel like you need more things to fill it up. And the more stuff you accumulate, the more you might feel overwhelmed by it. If you’re planning to move to a smaller space because your current home is too big for your needs, chances are you’ll need to downsize your stuff.
But even if you’re moving to a similarly sized home, downsizing your belongings can make your upcoming relocation significantly easier. That also holds true if you’re helping an elderly relative move.
If you’re unsure how to downsize efficiently, our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing is here to help. Read on for eight tips that’ll help you efficiently declutter and downsize your home while you pack.
1. Start Downsizing Three Months Before Your Move
If you wait too long to start your downsizing process, you won’t have enough time to do it properly. Downsizing is a time-intensive process for most people, and with all of your other move-related tasks, it can feel overwhelming if you don’t start about 90 days before you move.
Ideally, you should aim to finish up downsizing about 30 days before your move date. This way, you’ll have adequate time to handle other move-related tasks with as little stress as possible. If you’re hiring a professional moving company, downsizing early will also ensure your movers and packers can pack up your home as efficiently as possible.
2. Take a Full Inventory of Your Belongings
Chances are you have way more stuff than you even realize. And that’s why taking a home inventory is so important when you begin the process of downsizing. An inventory not only helps you see exactly what you have but also helps you formulate a preliminary plan of attack for organizing your things and getting rid of stuff.
How do you create a home inventory? Taking photos is the easiest and most efficient way to get the job done. Room by room, take photos of everything. You don’t need to take a photo of each individual item you own (that’d likely take days), but you should take photos that feature groupings of items. That way, you can zoom in on them later and see what’s there. If you keep lots of stuff in your garage, attic, or storage shed, don’t forget to take photos of those things too.
You’ll start to get an idea of the number of duplicates you own, as well as the amount of stuff you have that you rarely or never use. From there, you can start thinking about what you should probably get rid of.
For more ideas, check out Make Your Move Easier: Tips for Creating a Home Inventory Before You Relocate.
3. Don’t Keep Stuff Just Because You Think You “Should”
There’s no shame in the downsizing game. Seriously. Whatever you’re choosing to get rid of, you’ve probably had it for some time, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about your decision.
If you’re hanging on to a bunch of hideous sweaters your Grandma gave you for Christmas (for the last five years) just because you don’t want to hurt her feelings, let them go. The same idea applies to anything else you no longer want, no matter who gave it to you or where it came from.
It’s your house. You’re not obligated to keep anything in it that you don’t want. Remember that.
4. Begin With the Big Stuff
If you’re moving to a smaller home, chances are you won’t need some of the furniture you currently own. It’s usually easiest to begin with larger items as they’re easy to identify and will help free up space for further downsizing activities.
Some large items you may want to consider getting rid of include:
- Extra dressers, nightstands, and beds if you won’t have as many bedrooms
- Large shelving units
- Credenzas, end tables, and hallway tables
- Patio furniture
5. Consider Renting a Storage Solution
When you’re moving to a smaller place but can’t bear to let go of certain things that may not fit in your new home, a storage solution can be a lifesaver. Though putting things in storage isn’t technically downsizing, it will help keep your new home clutter-free, so that’s a definite plus!
If you know you plan to find a storage solution, here are some tips on how to find a great one:
- Look for a facility that provides robust security, including cameras, regular security monitoring, and inventory checks.
- Tour multiple facilities in your area to find the one that best meets your needs.
- Determine whether you’ll need climate-controlled storage or a standard unit.
For more tips on how to find a secure, high-quality storage solution, check out our blog, Questions You Should Ask Your Self-Storage Facility.
6. Digitize Important Documents
Do you have stacks of documents and files piling up in your current home? Not sure which ones are actually important and which you can toss? You need to sort through those mountains of papers and digitize everything you can.
Digital copies of your important documents are immune to temperature and humidity damage, and they’re also convenient to access from an external drive. More importantly, when you go digital, you significantly reduce the risk of losing important paperwork when your professional movers come to call.
7. Sort Your Belongings Into Categories
After you’ve downsized your large belongings, it’s time to get started on the small stuff. Smaller items can be much trickier to downsize as you likely have loads of them and they often hold sentimental value. But sorting your belongings into categories can help!
First, create piles, bins, or boxes for items you plan to keep, donate, sell, and throw away. Sort through your belongings and don’t hesitate to be ruthless about what constitutes clutter and what you really need. This process can take quite a bit of time and for most people, it gets pretty messy too.
To keep your home as organized as possible during your decluttering, start with the rooms you use the least. As you get closer to your move date, begin decluttering areas that see more traffic, like your kitchen and living room.
8. Only Keep What You Need, Use, and Enjoy Looking At
One of the best strategies for downsizing is to only hang to items you use frequently, need to have, or love to look at. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used an item in the last six months — seasonal decorations excluded — chances are you don’t really need it.
If you own things that make your space messy, like too many pieces of old wall art, a bunch of knick-knacks, or damaged household items, get rid of them. When you downsize, it’s important to identify which items make your house a home and which do nothing more than cluttering it up.
For decluttering inspiration, check out Things You Should Seriously Consider Getting Rid of Before You Move.
Ace Moving & Warehousing: Your Minneapolis Source for Comprehensive Moving Services
If you’re planning an upcoming move, let our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing help. Even after you downsize your stuff, you may still need help packing and transporting it, and that’s what we’re here for! Since 1958, we’ve proudly served Twin Cities residents with an extensive variety of moving services, including full packing services, storage solutions, custom move plans, and more.
To learn more about how we can help you, get started by requesting a free quote or giving us a call at 763-755-2045. You can also send us a message to request more information.