Start early.

It’s never too early to start looking into your downsizing options with regard to selling your home and where you’ll be relocating.  I meet with people who are still in the “thinking about it” stage all the time.  The more information I can give you to aide in your decision, the better.

It’s also never too early to start downsizing your belongings.  It is always better to be ahead of the game and move when you want to not when you have to.  If downsizing your belongings is just something you don’t want to handle, I work with reputable companies that will do it for you. They will hold estate sales, and even handle trashing or donating your unwanted items. Want to tackle it yourself?  Follow my tips below.

Don’t get overwhelmed.

Write a list of everything that will need to be done.  Then don’t look at the list as a whole and get overwhelmed!  One of the advantages of starting early is that you can break down each thing on your list to smaller manageable tasks.

If a certain room or area of your house seems overwhelming, go through one drawer a day, or one closet a week.  That you can do!!  Let’s say it’s your attic and you have 20+ years of “stuff” up there.  Don’t avoid it or have anxiety attacks over getting it all done.  Break it down into small doable goals, “I’ll start in one area and go through 3 boxes per week.  Then I’ll just move to the next area and do 3 more boxes the following week.” And you will get through the entire attic, without feeling overwhelmed by putting undue pressure on yourself.

Giving can feel great.

The less you keep, the less you pack, the less you move.  It’s simple math.  Ask yourself how often do you really use an item.  If you only use it once a year, say at a holiday, maybe it’s time to pass it on to a family member and let them carry on the tradition.

Another thing to ask yourself is do you really need to own the item?  Is it something that you could borrow or rent instead?  Above all else, be realistic in what you absolutely need versus want.

Which brings us to the topic everyone loves, clothing!  You know the rule here, it’s been said thousands of times.  If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it.  But, now you might have to purge even further due to limited closet space.  If you are relocating to a warmer climate, obviously you won’t need those heavy winter coats any longer.  Over the period of two months, pay attention to the clothes you were regularly.  These are your favorites so keep those and donate the rest.

Choose furniture wisely.

You may not be able to keep your current couch or bed because of limited space.  When choosing new furniture for your smaller place, find ways to use it for different purposes.  For instance, cubes can be used for storage, extra seating and even as your coffee table.

Can you make due with one nightstand to share instead of two?  Can one chair be both a sitting chair and the chair you dine in simply by sliding it 5 feet over?

Decisions like these will keep your new space feeling open instead of crowded.

Condense your photos.

Those family photos that are on your walls probably won’t have a home in your new space.  Condensing them into a pretty photo album means you still can enjoy them while taking up minimal space.  Consider having them put on a CD or DVD.  Having one or two digital photo frames with all those photos on them allows you to enjoy your photos and even add new pictures without the need for lots of wall or table top space.

Home Décor Items

Only keep home decorating items that you completely love.  If it’s sentimental but you don’t absolutely positively love it, consider taking a photo of it for the sentiment and donate the item.  Everything about your new home should make you smile, so if the item doesn’t bring you great joy when you see it, give it away.

Following these tips will help you have a great downsizing experience and allow you to focus on enjoying the next phase of your life.  Remember to think about why you’re moving, what your new lifestyle will be like, and what items you’ll need to make it possible.  Look forward to your new goals and how you want to live and then go for it.