Finding a New Place
When you’re hunting for a new place, especially if you’re going to be renting, make sure you don’t jump on an apartment just because its square footage is smaller. Make sure the limited space is designed well and conducive to your living habits, especially if you have children. Often downsizing is due to money limitations, but signing your name on the lease simply because it fits into your price range is not advisable, especially if you want to make downsizing as painless as possible. Use listing sites like LiveLovely.com that allow you to input various filters so you can narrow down your choices. Don’t let desperation to find a home let you speed through the process; view multiple homes, and don’t land yourself in a terrible landlord situation (or fall for scams) just because you’re anxious to move—if something feels off, it probably is. Something to keep in mind during this process: if a landlord asks for sensitive information, always request he or she use a service like MySmartMove to ensure your SSN and bank info doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and make sure you have enough money in a savings account to cover the rent for the first few months.
Perform an Inventory
It’s going to be an extensive and time-consuming process, but the first thing you need to do is take a detailed inventory of everything in your current home. Go through the new apartment or house you’ve found and take exact measurements of the floor and wall space. Compare it to the dimensions of your current home, and determine how much you’ll need to get rid of. You need to have a comprehensive understanding of all of your belongings, and determine the things that will be coming with you to your new, smaller space, and the things you can leave behind (by selling, donating, or throwing away). Make three different lists: one of the things you can get rid of, the things you can hypothetically live without, and the things that must come along with you. The things you decide you can get rid of can be sold in a garage sale, donated to a worthy cause, or find their way into a local dumpster. You’ll want to refine these lists a few times; it’s simply amazing how much of an emotional attachment we can have to physical items, but simplifying your life means getting rid of items we might have previously thought were absolute necessities. Look at your list of must-haves again and again, and see if the essentials are actually necessary for your life and your new space.
When it Comes to Selling
If you do decide to sell off the belongings you decide you don’t need, you will find yourself with an excess of cold hard cash that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, especially important if your downsize efforts are due to monetary concerns. You can decide to host a good old-fashioned garage sale, post your items on a common website like Craigslist, or use eBay to get rid of the things you no longer need. If you’re looking to sell designer items, use a site like Tradesy, where you can find buyers willing to spend quite a bit on any designer pieces that are still in great condition.
Make Smart Storage Choices
When it comes to working with limited space, organization is your best friend. Before moving in your new space, nail down which storage solutions you’ll take advantage of. Use vertical storage options to take up the least amount of floor space possible, purchase furniture with hidden storage containers, and utilize space under the bed and behind other furniture pieces to keep your belongings sorted. Stick with decorations that incorporate clean lines to avoid the appearance of clutter, and intersperse sentimental items sparingly throughout the house to incorporate personality without causing decorative chaos.
If you’re facing a downsizing transition, make it easier on yourself and your family by incorporating these tips into your moving process and learn how to live with less—it will change your life in a more positive way than you could have ever imagined.