A person in a blue T-shirt holds a sorting box while decluttering: SAM Conveyancing discuss how to downsize your home
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How to Downsize Your Home

(Last Updated: 14/09/2023)
9 min read
Key Takeaways

The benefits of downsizing include reduced maintenance, lower expenses and a simpler lifestyle. Many tiny home advocates claim that downsizing has given them more time, more freedom and more peace. However, downsizing your home is not the right choice for everyone. It's important to carefully consider the Pros, Cons and Considerations before you list your house!

Whether you're an empty nester looking to simplify your living space or you're simply aiming to cut costs and declutter, if you've decided to go ahead, downsizing requires thoughtful planning and execution.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to downsize your home effectively, ensuring a smooth transition to a more manageable living situation.

1. Assess Your Current Needs

Before embarking on the journey to downsize your home, take the time to evaluate your current needs and goals. Consider factors such as your family size, lifestyle, and future plans. Are you retiring soon and want to maximise your liquid cash? Do you have children who you want to have over to visit? Can you manage without outside space? Will you need the extra room in a few years when you finally start that home business? Do you need to make sure your small home has wide corridors for wheelchair access in the future?

Understanding your requirements will help you determine the appropriate size and type of property for your next home.

2. Declutter Thoughtfully

Downsizing presents an excellent opportunity to declutter your belongings. Begin by sorting through your possessions, categorizing them into items you want to keep, donate, sell, or discard. By categorizing, you'll be able to see where you have more than you need. Be honest with yourself about what you truly use on a regular basis. For those wondering how do I downsize & where to start? - box or bag items you're not sure about in storage for 6 months. Anything you didn't miss in that time, you probably don't need.

3. Plan for Sentimental Items

While downsizing involves letting go of many possessions, some items hold deep sentimental value. Consider designating a special space in your new home to display these cherished belongings, or taking photos of them to keep in a photo album or digital photo display. This way, you can keep the connection to your past, while enjoying your streamlined new lifestyle.

For large items you cannot bear to part with, you may find that some of your items are sentimental to your loved ones for the same reasons. It may feel better to know your items are being cherished by someone else who shares your connection to them (and who has more space) than to sell or donate items to strangers.

4. Create a Floor Plan

Once you know where you're moving to or roughly what square footage you plan to buy, create a floor plan. This will help you visualise how your furniture and belongings will fit into your new home. It's also an opportunity to identify any furniture that may or may not work in the new space, so you can avoid getting rid of items you'll want later, as well as moving items that won't fit.

5. Assess Furniture and Appliances

Take a closer look at your existing furniture and appliances. Will they fit well in your new space, both in terms of size and style? Downsizing might require you to let go of bulky pieces that won't fit or complement your new home's aesthetics. It is quite likely that the appliances in your current place suit the size of the property. It may be better for everyone if you negotiate to sell large fridges, ovens, coffee machines and even the kitchen table, to your buyers and purchase more compact items for your new home.

6. Consider Storage Solutions

In a smaller living space, efficient storage becomes crucial. Look for new furniture that serves multiple purposes, such as ottomans with hidden storage or bed frames with drawers. Utilise vertical space by installing shelves or cabinets. Maximise your closet space with organizing systems, to ensure everything has its place. This is also a good time to consider updating and digitising media. Could your DVD collection be replaced with a subscription service? Imposing TV with a roll-down projector screen? Books with an E-reader? Music collections and larger sound systems with a WIFI speaker system and streaming service?

7. Embrace Minimalism

Downsizing generally requires adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Embrace the philosophy of "less is more" and focus on quality over quantity. Choose versatile pieces that serve multiple purposes and prioritise functionality and aesthetics. If your old house is full of art and antiques, not only will actual space be a factor when cutting down, but you'll also find that you need to reduce the concentration of pieces, as smaller spaces can't support the same ratio of items as a larger space without feeling too 'busy'.

Minimalism is all about having just a few curated pieces and giving them the space to fully appreciate them. (Alternatively, you can embrace maximalism, but this still requires considered curation to look stylishly eclectic, rather than uncomfortably cluttered.

8. Organise and Pack Systematically

Once you know what's coming with you and what's not, packing for a downsizing move requires a systematic approach. Start with items you use less frequently and gradually move to essentials. Use a labelling system to keep track of each box's contents and the room it belongs to. This will make unpacking much less stressful. As with any move, you want to pack some creature comforts in with the essentials and make sure to mark them up properly so that they are immediately accessible when you move in (and all you want is to put your slippers on and make a cuppa in your favourite mug).

9. Be Patient with Yourself

Downsizing can be emotionally and physically demanding. Give yourself ample time to make decisions and adjust to the changes. If you find the process overwhelming, don't hesitate to seek support from friends & family. If you have items of quality which you can sell, it may help to focus on a goal budget which will fund something else. Remember the reasons for downsizing and imagine the new memories and opportunities which will be made possible by this big change.

10. Choose excellent professionals

When it comes to the legal and logistical aspects of downsizing, pick your team wisely. We are conveyancing experts and treat your home move like our own, happy to guide you through the legal process, ensuring a smooth transition.

When you're sacrificing your beloved old home to downsize, you can't afford to be surprised by expensive defects after your purchase, especially if your main motivation is financial. Our RICS surveyors are placed all over England and Wales, to provide reliable home surveys with essential local knowledge.

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

Packing your old life up is emotional and time-consuming. Even if you do all the boxing up yourself, you want to know your carefully selected, most prized possessions are in good hands. Our nationwide movers are chosen by us for quality service. We know they'll take care of you and they can pack your old home up for you if you can't manage it after all that decluttering.

Competitive Quotes | Local Movers | Pack & Rebuild | Secure Storage | Worldwide Delivery

If you have more stuff than you can manage, a professional organiser may be able to ease the burden of an otherwise overwhelming task.

Downsizing your home can change your life and enhance your well-being. Assess your needs, declutter thoughtfully, and plan strategically and you can lose the clutter and keep the comfort. Remember that downsizing is a unique journey, and with the right approach, you can create a new living space that aligns perfectly with your goals and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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