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Moving Tips for Downsizing to a Smaller Home

Downsizing to a smaller home may not be your first choice. You may be moving to save money, entering a new stage of life in a retirement community, or downsizing because you aren’t able to manage the upkeep of your home. However, downsizing is also an opportunity to simplify and clear your life of unnecessary belongings and clutter.

Entering this stage in your life requires in-depth reviews of your possessions and the lifestyle you’d like to have in your new home. Ultimately, although you will be living in a smaller home, you still want a comfortable and familiar life, uncramped and free to live your life as you please.

As you move into a smaller home, we hope these downsizing tips will help you make it a smooth and positive experience.

Tips to get organized before you downsize…

Determine the amount of space difference.

Are you moving from a three-bedroom to a one-bedroom house? Will you have one living space instead of the two that you’re used to currently? Does your new location have a garage? It’s important to be aware of the space you will have so you can properly consider what needs to come with you and what must go. If you want to be certain, obtain the dimensions of each room so you can map out what furniture and other large belongings you realistically can accommodate. The tape measure will be your best friend.

Sort through your items carefully with a system.

Go through your items room by room and type by type. Sort through all of your coats, all of your blankets, etc. Seeing all of the same things together will help you realize where you have more than you need. Get rid of duplicate items.

Keep only what you have room for, what you will use, and what has a strong sentimental value. All other possessions can be sold, donated, given away, or even stored. All Jersey Moving & Storage offers containerized storage services for those who are downsizing or who need more time to sort through their possessions at a later date.

Sort and pack early, even months in advance.

It can be hard to estimate just how much time it will take to prepare for your move. That being said, if you know in advance that you’ll be downsizing, be sure to start decluttering and sorting through your items as soon as possible. You can begin with one closet or one room. Although you don’t need to pack right away and live in boxes for months, you do need to sort through everything you own. This is crucial and much more time-consuming than a traditional move as you’ll need to decrease the amount of items you’ll take with you. Leaving this to the last minute is incredibly stressful and will result in you bringing items you don’t realistically have room for. Keep in mind that at All Jersey Moving & Storage, we offer complete and partial packing services to fit your needs. This includes last-minute moves too.

If you can’t decide what to bring, ask for help from friends and family that can be objective. They can help determine how many spatulas or couch pillows you really need. This is especially helpful with sentimental items or collections.

Narrow down collections to only your favorite items.

You may have collected a number of things, from coins to shot glasses. Rather than move the entire collection with you, narrow it down to your few favorite things. These items will be a good reminder of your collections and the memories you made finding them, without taking up space you don’t have any more. Give valuable possessions to family or sell them.

Shred unnecessary paperwork.

It’s amazing how quickly you can accumulate paperwork. Before you downsize, go through your paperwork and get rid of tax returns that are older than seven years. Bank statements are not necessary if you can access them online or no longer have a need to refer to them. Shred and recycle what you don’t need after you’ve gone through it all carefully. Keep birth certificates and personal documents in a safe place.

Digitize everything you can.

Upload CD contents onto a large hard drive or cloud service like Google Drive. The same goes for photographs, documents, cassettes, etc. The less physical items you have, the better. Digital storage can work wonders, decreasing the amount of space you need for storage.

Make money from possessions you can’t use any more.

Have a moving sale and earn a little extra cash from the furniture and items that simply won’t fit in your smaller home. This money can be used to buy furniture better suited to your smaller space. You can even save the money and add it to a vacation fund.

Map out where you want your belongings, decor, etc. to go in advance.

Mark boxes clearly so movers know which room they belong in. In a small space especially, it's important you unpack efficiently so you are able to navigate your new living space without bumping into boxes everywhere — messes feel more chaotic in small spaces.

Pack all of your non-essentials first.

Begin by packing the antiques in your cupboard and then start packing other items you don’t use every day. Take time to carefully pack heirlooms and fragile items. Save the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom for last. When it’s close to moving day, set aside a moving box with cleaning supplies, scissors, and tape. Also set aside an overnight or weekly bag for the move with clothes, bathroom essentials, and other items you’ll need while the rest of your things are packed up. Pack like you’re going on a short trip.

Try a color-coding system.

Label each box with a color, and then use the corresponding colors in your new home to mark the rooms. For example, use blue tape for the bedroom boxes and mark the bedroom door at the new house with blue tape or a blue poster. It’s makes it clear where each of the boxes must go.

Organize electronics and cords.

Prevent a mess of tangled cords by organizing your electronics together ahead of time. An easy solution is to zip tie cords together and label the equipment they belong to. For example, unplug the TV and zip tie the cables together. Label them “TV” and be sure to move the cords with the TV so you can unpack them all together.

Tips for after moving day…

Unpack strategically room by room.

Like we mentioned, a smaller space can intensify the feeling of chaos and disorganization. Prevent this type of overwhelming experience by using a clear and concise strategy to unpack your items. Make sure to place the furniture in the rooms in their proper locations first. Then, bring in the boxes. Don’t open every single box at once. Instead, start with the kitchen and bedroom. You’ll want to be able to sleep and eat quickly in your new space.

Empty one box at a time.

Be sure to break down the boxes as you empty them. This will help you quickly remove the space-consuming boxes in your home. As soon as you’ve unpacked everything, recycle the boxes and packing material so you can start to enjoy your new space, free of boxes and the reminder that you just moved.

Analyze how things look and feel and re-evaluate what you brought with you.

Sometimes it takes moving in to truly know what furniture and items properly fit in your new home. After you’ve had some time to unpack and get settled in, analyze your living situation. Does it feel cramped? Are you missing some potential room-saving furniture or tools to make your living area less cluttered?

Invest in room-saving furniture and storage.

After analyzing the feel of your new, smaller home, invest in some helpful room-saving furniture. For example, you can buy a footrest that is also a storage box for blankets and pillows. Or, you can buy simple door hanging storage for shoes, miscellaneous bathroom items, or jewelry. Corner furniture is also helpful.

Strategically using your furniture and devices can declutter your home, allowing you access to the items you need without taking up space you don’t have.

Making the most of a smaller home…

Downsizing is an excuse to declutter and minimize the unnecessary belongings in your life. What an opportunity to start new again!

To make the most of your smaller home, in addition to room-saving furniture and storage, we recommend the following:

  • Use decor that makes the home feel cleaner and lighter. This includes light-colored curtains and bedding, as well as mirrors that can make the space feel expansive.
  • Open the windows during the day to make the home feel bigger.
  • Enjoy time outside and away from your house. You may have previously enjoyed spending every waking hour at your house on the weekends for example. Take the opportunity of your limited space to enjoy your city or town. Get to know coffee shops, museums, and more. Discover what’s outside the walls of your home.
  • Only keep what you need. As you adjust to your new home, continue to declutter and minimize your possessions. You may notice that what you purchased in your old house is unnecessary in your new space. Side tables and extra lamps may not belong any more.

Using a professional moving company for downsizing success…

Moving experts can make downsizing a positive experience. Their professional care and friendly service can make a big difference.

Downsizing may not be ideal, but a moving company can make it much less stressful.

Why All Jersey Moving & Storage is the best professional mover for downsizing

Whether you’re downsizing to a smaller home, condo, or adult community, All Jersey Moving & Storage's moving experts know how to execute an organized move. This organization prior to and on moving day can make a big difference, especially for seniors or families that are downsizing. From our custom packing and unpacking services to our last-minute moving services, we’ll make sure you’re taken care of every step of the way.

We’ll customize to your needs, allowing you to decide if you need help packing everything or just the delicate antiques. We’re available for long-distance and short-distance moves. Our vehicles, equipment, and caring staff will be part of every step of your moving journey.

All Jersey Moving & Storage is highly rated, with a number of certifications and awards. We’re a licensed moving company that will provide you with a free upfront estimate, clear and legally binding contract, and friendly, expert moving services.

For more guidance and tips on moving, make sure to read our other blog posts. We’ve transformed our decades of experience into content that can help you while you downsize.

Take a look at our reviews and awards. We want to save yourself from chaos and provide quality moving services.

Contact All Jersey Moving & Storage now for help with your downsizing move.