Three Helpful Steps for Downsizing
Whether you have adopted a new minimalist mindset, or you no longer want to keep up with the larger home your kids grew up in, the thought of downsizing to a smaller home may be appealing – while the reality of getting it done might be overwhelming.
My husband and I recently downsized from a house with over 3000 square feet to one with about 1325 square feet. I frequently get asked how we did it. Full disclosure: our new house has an unfinished basement which made things A LOT easier, but it was still a challenge.
In our case, we were no longer motivated to own and maintain a lot of “stuff.” We were super motivated to own a lower maintenance home which allowed us to do more of the things we enjoy – like travel, exercise and spend time with family.
We adopted a minimalist mindset, which is key to making such a drastic change.
If you think you might be ready for this kind of change, here are some tips:
1) Start by de-cluttering one room at a time – Like many people in early 2019, we embraced Marie Kondo and the concept of keeping only the things that spark joy. Do you have a collection of flower vases in the cabinet above the refrigerator? Maybe a collection of table clothes in the buffet? Kitchen utensils? Coffee mugs? Candles? Cleaning products? Ask yourself how many of these items you REALLY use? Keep the ones that are meaningful, then donate or dispose of the rest.
How WE did it: I had to be away from home for a few weeks as we were going through this process. My husband pulled out all the flower vases, placed them on the dining table and did a video chat with me. He organized the vases by color and size, then asked me which ones I could live without. The physical distance really helped me look at these items with less emotion and more objectivity. I quickly eliminated half the vases. We did the same thing with the coffee mugs.
2) Picture the life you want to live in the smaller space: Will you need a home office, or can you set yourself up in the corner of another room in the new house? What does that look like for you? Will you have frequent guests? Do you really need a place with a yard? Use the search feature on our website to find homes that are the size you are thinking about. Picture how those spaces might work for you. If you find it hard to visualize yourself in those spaces, consider visiting some open houses so you can get the feel of that smaller space.
How WE did it: We actually watched hours of videos on how people live in converted vans, campers and tiny houses. There were tons of You Tube videos from a wide range of people with tips on how to live in spaces as small as 150 square feet. By comparison, the 1325 square feet we have now feels like a mansion. 🙂
3) Empty the rooms in your current house that you won’t have in the new house – Seems obvious, right? If you are moving from four bedrooms down to three, then whatever is in the fourth bedroom needs a new home.
How WE did it: The furniture in our extra bedroom AND the sectional in our upstairs loft area were donated to a friend who, newly single, had just purchased a new home. Then the foosball table and the treadmill got sold online. The extra dinette set from the kitchen had to go, but our daughter said she wanted that. Now, my heart is extra happy whenever we sit down to dinner at her house.
Those three tips will take you a long way down the road towards a smaller home. If you find yourself stuck anywhere along the way, there are professional home organizers who can help.
Many of our past clients have used a local company called Life Simplified.
If the job feels too big for you, give them a call.
If you’ve already done the work and you’re ready to make a move, use the information below to give us a call!