People downsize their homes for countless reasons – maybe your children have all moved out, or you’re just looking to save money and get rid of unused space. Whatever the reason, downsizing can be a beneficial but stressful experience.
The team at Essex Removals have come up with this guide to help make the downsizing process simpler and easier for you. From reassessing your lifestyle and needs to decluttering your home, keep reading for some top tips for a successful downsize.
When should I downsize my home?
Many people decide to downsize once they no longer require a bigger property. However, there are a number of reasons why downsizing might be the right option for you.
Your current home is too big
One of the most common reasons people downsize is because their current home no longer meets their needs. If your children have all moved out, you may be feeling like you’re rattling around in a large, family-sized home. Similarly, if you’ve recently separated from your partner or they’ve passed away, a home suitable for a couple may no longer feel right.
You’re moving abroad
If you’re thinking about moving abroad or travelling for a while, downsizing could be a great option for you. Most people travelling or moving abroad prefer to downsize, as it ensures they still have a home in the UK but can significantly cut down their costs.
You want to save money
Downsizing can help you save money on monthly utilities or by making a profit on your current property. This extra money could then be used for all sorts of things, whether it’s to supplement your pension, pay off your mortgage, or send your child to university. Not only do smaller homes often require smaller mortgages, but they are also typically cheaper to run and maintain.
Remember to carefully research the property market in the area you wish to move to, as property prices can vary greatly.
Your health or mobility has changed
Bigger properties – especially those with multiple floors – can be extremely challenging for those with limited mobility or other health issues, as it can be difficult to move around and make use of the available space.
This is precisely why many elderly and/or disabled people choose to move to bungalows or apartments – downsizing can make everyday life far more manageable, ensure people feel comfortable in their homes, and that their property caters to their specific needs.
Top tips for downsizing your home
Downsizing can be a lengthy, daunting, and stressful process. To ensure you’re prepared for what lies ahead of you, we’ve created a list of useful tips to help you downsize your home easily and efficiently.
You should start the downsizing process as early as possible in order to give yourself enough time to properly sort through your belongings without feeling overwhelmed. A general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to start at least 3 months before you plan to move, though it won’t do any harm to start earlier if you want to.
Sorting through your stuff can be a long and difficult process. Starting early gives you plenty of time to ponder what to keep and what to get rid of. Leaving yourself time to plan ahead can also help you be strict with yourself and get the job done without getting too stressed.
Have a big clear-out
We know how easy it is to accumulate lots of stuff – it’s what makes a house feel like home. When downsizing, you need to be even more cutthroat than usual when sorting through your belongings. Not only will you have a major problem trying to fit everything into your new property, but more belongings to transport also requires more packing materials, more time to pack, more space in the removals van, and more money to spend on the moving process overall.
So, the first thing you need to do when downsizing is work out exactly how much stuff you have. It can be helpful to break it down into categories, for example, sorting your belongings by room or by their function (e.g. soft furnishings, appliances).
It can become very easy to make exceptions, especially when it comes to nostalgic items or little mementoes of days gone by. To avoid just moving items from one place to another when sorting through them, set yourself some ground rules or come up with a strict organisation method.
Some popular methods for sorting through your stuff include:
- One-A-Day Method – An option well-suited to starting early, this method involves getting rid of one item per day, or the number of items that corresponds to the date (i.e. getting rid of 10 items on the 10th day of the month).
- KonMari Method – This involves categorising your items and sorting through them methodically. Ask yourself if each item “sparks joy” – if not, it’s time to get rid of it.
- Four-Box Method – This method involves giving yourself four options when it comes to the fate of your belongings: keep, donate, bin or recycle, and sell.
- Hanger Method – Another method that is ideal for starting early. This involves facing all hanger hooks away from you in your wardrobe and only turning them the other way when you wear the item on the hanger. Donate any clothes whose hangers are still facing away from you after a certain length of time.
Tackle one room at a time
You can also make the process of decluttering and organising your stuff less daunting by tackling one room or section of your home at a time. This is especially effective if you’ve started the process early, as you can sort through your belongings in smaller chunks over a longer period of time – pacing yourself is key to staying stress-free.
Small, manageable tasks might include:
- Sorting through your books
- Dealing with any “junk drawers”
- Working your way through the cupboard under the stairs
- Deciding which of your clothes to donate
- Organising small electrical appliances
Familiarise yourself with your new space
Downsizing can be made much easier if you know the dimensions of your new property and each individual room within it. Ideally, you’ll know the square footage and shape of each room – the last thing you want is an annoying, unexpected alcove or fireplace getting in the way of your plans.
Another good idea is to try and get photographs of the rooms, so you can visualise where things might fit and how you might arrange the room once you’re all moved in.
Both of these ideas will help you figure out which large pieces of furniture you want to take with you and which ones you can probably do without. It’s far easier for everyone if you can get rid of such items before you move.
Rather than trying to recreate your current home design in a smaller space, take the opportunity to try new things and find a new design that works for you and your space.
Take your new lifestyle into account
Many people downsize due to a lifestyle change, such as children moving out, a divorce, or just getting older. As well as working out what you want your specific home design to look like, it’s worth considering the bigger picture – i.e. what this downsize means for you and your life, and what you’re hoping to gain from the change. Downsizing is a chance to reset and make big changes if you want to – take advantage of it!
Understanding your reasoning and goals can also help you not only stick to your plan but become more excited about the process. Take it a step past the standard reasons of saving money and space and ask yourself why you’re doing this. Maybe you’re hoping to travel more with the money you save or help with sending your grandchildren to university? Or maybe you want to spend less time maintaining your spacious home and more time with your loved ones or picking up a new hobby. The more specific your goals, the more effective they are in motivating you.
Some questions to ask yourself include:
- What are your top reasons for wanting to downsize?
- What opportunities will downsizing create for you?
- What will you miss most about your old home or local area?
- Are there any new hobbies or activities you’d like to explore?
- Is there anything specific that interests you about your new area or that you want to discover more about?
- What are you most excited about going forwards?
- What are you most nervous about? Are there any steps you can take to help?
- What is the first thing you want to do when you’re settled into your new home?
- Do you have any friends or family in your new area that you’d like to reconnect with?
Make downsizing simple with Essex Removals
Here at Essex Removals, we want to make your move as stress-free, convenient and efficient as possible. Our reliable services are very varied and are suitable for domestic, commercial, and/or international moves. We can do everything from curating checklists for you and packing your items, to storing them and moving them to your desired location. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, we are well equipped to keep your belongings safe throughout the entire moving process and get you settled into your new home. Contact us today for more information.