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Expert Advice: 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.

Whether your kids have flown the nest, or you fancy a simpler lifestyle, there are plenty of reasons to downsize. However, if you’re swapping a more substantial property for a cosier setting, you may find some aspects of downsizing trickier than you first thought.

So to help with this, we provide our expert tips and tricks 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’re looking to downsize following your children moving out, this is especially important and curating a new house based around your own style (rather than that of your children) will be an exciting prospect.

However, before starting the clearing-out process, sit down with a pen and paper and plan the upcoming task. Start by writing down exactly what you want to keep, what you can get rid of now and a list of ‘maybe’ items, as this will act as a guideline to your decision making. Then, when you’ve made your list, go back through it and try and cut out some more items to make what you need to move more manageable.

Start To Strip Back On Your Belongings

Once you know for sure what you will be keeping and getting rid of, there are a few clever tips and tricks you can use to making your packing and decluttering processes even easier.
  • 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

Part of downsizing means being practical and creative with the space available to you. Try looking for ways maximise the potential of every nook and cranny in your new home. For example, could you use an alcove, under-stair space or awkward corner for storage or as a feature?

For inspiration and guidance on how you can get smart with your new space, head to websites like Pinterest where millions of homeowners, interior designers and enthusiasts share their clever tips and tricks for utilising and transforming even the smallest of spaces.

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. New clothing and leaving your documents or letters lying around are some of the biggest offenders, so the advice here is simple – get recycling.

Hopefully with the above you should have a better idea of how to effectively downsize.

However, if you’re considering downsizing in your retirement, then 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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