When your lifestyle changes, especially when your children grow up and move out of the home, you no longer need as large a home as you currently have. Whether you are downsizing from a 5-bedroom to a 3-bedroom house or from a 2-bedroom house to a 1-bedroom apartment, you will still have to get rid of some of your belongings. It can be a difficult decision to make, especially as it is often an emotional experience, but by following a few tips you can successfully downsize your home.
The Emotional Connection to Your Home
The hardest part of downsizing for many people is the emotional connection you have to your current home, especially if you have lived there for decades and watched your children grow up inside it. One way to get past the emotional blocks to moving is to recognise that the memories of the home will move with you. You also should focus on the future and the new memories you will make, rather than focusing on the old memories.
Measure Your New Space
Before you start getting rid of your belongings, you need to measure your new space so that you have an accurate estimate of the amount of room with which you have to work. Then, you should measure your furniture and other big items to help you know how much will fit in the new space. You can also compare the measurements of the new space with that of your current home. If the rooms are the same size then you can easily transfer all your furniture, but if it is smaller you may have to get rid something.
Going Through Your Belongings
It is very difficult and time consuming to go through your belongings to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. When possible, give yourself three to six months to slowly go through everything, especially if you are moving from a large home to a much smaller one. It can help to start with rooms that tend to have items that are not as sentimental, such as the kitchen. To help you determine whether or not you really need to keep something, make a list of the items without which you cannot live. One way to determine what you have to keep is by asking what would you truly miss or try to replace if it was lost in a fire or other disaster. Another is to think about whether you have used it in the past year. If the answer is no, get rid of it. Often, you will want to keep pictures and family heirlooms, but some of the other belongings you might feel as though you could never live without may not be as important as you thought.
To downsize successfully, you will have to be more ruthless than you want. If you find getting rid of your belongings too difficult, then ask someone to help provide an objective opinion. When you do get rid of certain items, be sure to donate, sell, and recycle as much as possible. You can also ask your kids and other family members to see if they want some of the furniture or personal belongings in their homes, so you do not have to really say goodbye to the items.