Downsizing your home will mean a change in your lifestyle. Look at it as a lifestyle change for the better. The ultimate and practical guide to smooth the transition.
Downsizing your Home | Lifestyle Change
Reasons you may be downsizing your home
- Mortgage stress is reaching breaking point – Tip: If you need to sell, make the decision yourself, don’t wait until the bank/lender takes over.
- Your present house is larger than your needs – the children may have all left home to make their own homes.
- The yard may involve a lot of work that you don’t want to or can’t spend the time doing. Cementing a large lawn area may be tempting but not practical.
- Wanting to downsize your house while you are still physically able; not wanting for someone else to have to make your decisions.
- The desire for a simpler lifestyle with less stuff and less stress.
- To have a smaller place as a base, and to park your possessions while you travel.
- The present rent is too expensive, and so a smaller home may be the answer to relieving the financial pressure.
- Your job is gone and you need to make changes to find a new job in a different area.
- You’re ready to downsize, shift and take up the blogger’s lifestyle.
Tips for downsizing your home
These tips are mostly about downsizing your possessions to fit into your downsized home. They come from our practical experience in downsizing. We downsized to a two bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and a balcony. We downsized from a four bedroom, two bathroom, two living area and an outdoor entertainment area and a good sized garden with a double lockup garage.
1. If possible, start the downsizing process about three months before you shift. This way it won’t be so stressful and emotional, you can take it in small manageable stages.
2. It helps if you know what size your next home is going to be. For ourselves, we did not know until about two weeks before we shifted. This did not stop us starting the process well in advance.
3. During this pre-shifting process keep a mental picture of where you will be shifting to. Even if you are not sure, you will have an idea of how your new home will be smaller e.g. it may have two bedrooms less than you have now.
3. A good place to start is with clothes.
Most of us have a heap of clothes taking up space, and we never wear them. If you are moving to a different climate, this will influence your choices. Sorting clothes is a chore that can be done without upsetting the function of your household. Have a suitable bag to put your clothes in to take to a charity. Separate the clothes that are in excellent condition from the clothes that will just be suitable for rags. As soon as you get a couple of bags full, deliver them to the charity so that your house does not get blocked up with bags. If you are planning on having a garage sale, you may want to put some items aside for that purpose.
4. Consider a Garage Sale
When planning a garage sale, set aside a room or space in the garage to collect these saleable items. Start thinking about where you are going to advertise your garage sale. This sale could go a long way toward paying for your carrier.
The next area to sort is cupboards, sideboards, kitchen cabinets. Again this should be achievable without disrupting the function of the household. Sort the unneeded items into a charity box, garage sale box or the rubbish bin. By this time you are already getting tired of making decisions, so take it slow and steady. Every item in your house requires a decision of stay or go.
The cupboard items that are staying with you, just leave them in the cupboards for now, so that you can still function quite well. Again when boxes of unwanted items are ready, take them to a charity or put them out of your way in the garage sale area.
6. Draws and filing cabinets
It is now time to start going through draws or filing cabinets where you collect all the papers, bills, photos, memorabilia, etc.
a) Documents: It helps to have a good shredder to correctly dispose of them. We spent about a week just shredding; it felt so good when it was done.
b) Photos, slides, disks, and cd’s etc. For what we wanted to keep we used plastic storage boxes, some were of a size that would easily fit under the bed if need be. Go through all of your photos and if you can write on them what, who, when and where they were taken. If you don’t do this, the next person who is sorting them will just throw them out. If some photos don’t mean anything to you, then put them in the shredder right now.
c) Books can cause some heartache as we choose between our emotional attachment and what is practical. We did donate hundreds of books. These days we tend to use digital books that don’t take up space or collect dust.
d) I kept one storage box for memorabilia, the kids school reports, their artwork, whatever they may treasure. A few things of our own that we thought they or the grandchildren may cherish in later years.
As shifting gets closer, it is time to consider your current furniture and your future furniture needs. Nothing is worse that a small living space that is cluttered with excess furniture. Take each item and picture it in your next home. If you can, have measurements of your new place to know if furniture pieces will fit or not.
One important item is the refrigerator. Firstly, if it is old and uses a lot of power, it may be better to leave it and get a new one when you shift. This could save you in the long run. You will have a new fridge under warranty. It will cost less to run. You can be sure to buy a fridge that fits the fridge space. You are not paying the carrier to cart an old fridge. The same considerations should be given to the washing machine and dryer.
We had two lounge suites, and we liked them both, but we could only take one. We put them both up for sale and kept the one that did not sell.
8. Bulky or heavy items
Make decisions on other large or heavy items. I had an old faithful sewing machine, it was so heavy, and I did not sew very often, so it had to leave us. Another item was the BBQ; we were not sure if our new place would have room for it or not. We decided to give it away.
9. The garage and garden shed
The garage and garden shed. Will you have a lawn to mow or a garden to dig? Time to make some more decisions here. Will you need tools?
10. Do you have the right vehicle for your new lifestyle?
Would it be wise to think about downsizing your vehicle? Another decision.
11. Get ready for the packing
Buy lots of packing tape, packable boxes, it does help when shifting to have them of a uniform size. Don’t forget bubble wrap or other padding materials.
12. Book the carrier
Book your carrier as soon as the large items are sorted and you have more of an idea how much you will have to shift.
This was a thrifty method for us
We hired a small truck and moved all the smaller items ourselves; this saved us a lot that we did not have to pay the commercial carrier. We took this load to the new place a couple of days before the larger items, so we had a head start on unpacking.
Our lifestyle has changed since we downsized our home and we love our new lifestyle; we don’t miss all the things that we got rid of. There were only a couple of small items that I threw out and later wished I had not, but they were replaceable.
I trust when you are downsizing your home that these tips may make the transition a little easier. Also that you will love your new lifestyle.
Don’t sell your home until you know how to get the best price. See this very valuable information How to get the best possible price when selling your home.
Join us – we uplift and encourage each other –
Enjoy these interesting posts