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Top Tips On How To Effectively Downsize

Gina Narramore

Gina Narramore



Are you ready to move somewhere smaller? We lend our expert advice and explain how to effectively downsize.

When heading into retirement, a lot of people choose to downsize their homes. Afterall it’s a move that makes a lot of sense. Firstly, it frees you from the burden of maintaining a large family home and, secondly, it can free up cash that allows you to live a dream retirement without financial strain.

But, if you’ve spent your entire adult life accumulating items and mementos, it can be hard to get rid of objects that hold precious memories. To help you with the downsizing process, here are our top three tips to make your next move into a smaller property as comfortable as possible..

Determine What You Want To Keep

Before you downsize, it’s essential that you have a clear picture of what you’ll be taking with you to your new home and what you intend to get rid of.

If you’ve lived in your current home for a long time, it’s likely that you’ll have accumulated a large amount of furniture, home accessories, personal items and more. But to downsize effectively, being able to strip back your belongings is essential.

If you want to downsize effectively, then stripping back your belongings is essential. Remember, downsizing is largely a lifestyle decision and you can free up a big amount of space by decluttering.

Before you start the process, sit down and make a list. Ideally, you should split this list into three parts: ‘keep’, ‘get rid of’ and ‘undecided’. You can then use this to guide your decision making and make the process less emotional.

Remember, if you like something but don’t necessarily need it, you can always take a photo of it rather than keeping the item itself. This way, you’ll keep the sentimental memory but save the space.


Start To Strip Back On Your Belongings and pack with structure

Once you’ve decided what to keep and what to leave behind, you can create a structure that helps the downsizing process and saves you time.

Following the steps below, will help to make the process much quicker and easier. Plus, you’ll limit the chances of becoming confused and overwhelmed.

  • Before you start packing, set labelled boxes aside for each room or purpose. You may choose to have a ‘keep’, ‘donate’, ‘sell’ and ‘dispose of’ box as well as boxes dedicated to individual rooms.
  • Use downsizing as an opportunity to make some extra cash. There may be local second-hand furniture shops interested in buying and selling your unwanted items.
    For smaller things such as clothes and trinkets, you can sell these on platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Depop or Gumtree.
  • For all those small, fiddly yet necessary items such as wires, cables and the DIY essentials, use labelled Tupperware boxes and sandwich bags to keep them
    separate. This means that even if they are placed in the same box, you’ll be able to identify, organise and then store them with ease when you move into your new home.
  • If you’re holding onto unnecessary items out of guilt or sentimentality, there are other ways of cherishing them without having to bring them to your new home. Take a photograph, video or a small piece of the item, rather than the item itself.

Add Your Own Decorative Touches

Many people feel that downsizing means having to change your interior style to neutrals and minimal décor to match the smaller surroundings. However, this is not the case and letting your personality shine through with your décor is an integral part of downsizing – as it helps puts your stamp on your new home.

Break the rules and create a bold, personality-filled living spaces by painting your walls in statement colours. It’s an excellent way to play with size and makes every room an interesting feature.

Learn How To Make The Most Of Your New Space And Surroundings

When you arrive at your new home, you need to be practical with the space. This includes making full use of alcoves, under-stairs space and awkward corners. After all, you’ll have less space than ever before, so it’s vital you use every inch well.

Our apartments are thoughtfully designed with you in mind and include storage rooms to help you make the most of your space.

Invest In Multi-Function Furniture

Alongside planning how to use your new space, researching and investing in multi-function furniture is a great way to ensure that you can get more out of the space in your new home.

As smaller spaces become more and more popular for all types of buyers, furniture and interior designers and manufacturers are continually finding new and exciting ways to create pieces that have more than one purpose. For example, open kitchen/dining areas with drop leaf or extending tables are an excellent way to create more space. For your study or living room you can even find ladder/desk combinations that tuck away discreetly when not in use. And, of course, Ottoman beds are perfect for additional but hidden storage.

Also, it can be a good idea to think more about what you want from your new home and how you plan to use it. For instance, if you don’t expect many or regular guests, perhaps a sofa bed would be a better alternative to turning the spare bedroom into a guestroom?

Keep Your Clutter To A Minimum

When you’ve moved in, you need to keep the clutter at bay. The more you clutter the space with items of non-essential furniture, the smaller the space will feel, also remember not to leaving your documents or letters lying around as these are some of the biggest offenders, so the advice here is simple – get recycling.


Follow these top tips and you’ll find that downsizing is easier than you ever thought possible. Also, if you’re interested in downsizing and moving into a beautiful McCarthy & Stone property you can see what’s available here.

You may also be looking to relocate when you downsize, we have another useful blog post here that talks you through the advantages of relocating and downsizing into a McCarthy & Stone apartment.

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