Editor’s Note: This is a guest post
Sometimes, the average is still a bit too big, especially when it comes to homes. A lot of people can find themselves with empty rooms or unused parts of the house as a family has moved out or you’ve decluttered. So the move to a smaller house or apartment is natural; you don’t need to be paying for more space you’re not using.
But as you move out, there are some concerns related to the logistics of shrinking your floor space and paring down your belongings. Don’t stress, though, as we’ve got you covered on what you can expect when downsizing your home. Here are some basic factors to consider when you’re planning a downsizing move, and how you can make that process go as smoothly as possible:
Getting Rid of Bulky Pieces of Furniture
When first considering the downsize, you need to be aware that often less than even half of your furnishings will be able to join you in a move from a medium to a small home. The difference between the relative sizes of homes leaves out entire rooms and several methods of storage space. This means every item and furnishing you do bring could be less valuable in your floorplan than expected.
Your large coffee table that matches your couch set may be nice to look at, but in a smaller home, it amounts to a lot of floor space used for very brief and specific needs. In the case of a coffee table, you’d want one that has drawers or shelves underneath to be used as storage, in addition to the usual coffee table functions. Likewise, things like ottomans and end tables double in value when they have shelves or drawers inside. These small storage spaces weren’t much of a concern in your previous housing, but now they’ll be key to keeping many of your belongings.
Things that can’t double up in use are also going to be a concern. Many people populate their living rooms or other family spaces with recliners, loveseats, and couches, but these are designed for large floorplans. On your move to a smaller space, you may be able to get away with keeping the recliner or loveseat, maybe both, but certainly not all three.
And this extends to other rooms in the house: a dining room table may need to go, or your current bedroom set might be a bit too large. The best way to weed out what you can and can’t bring is to design your floor plan in the new home and see what of your old furniture will fit. It’s not the end of the world if you have to get rid of some or all of your sets; it’s simple enough to sell the old and furnish the new space with some newer stuff to make it feel like a fresh start. If you don’t want to deal with selling, consider donating.
Necessities vs. Luxuries
Your limited storage space is going to be a real limiter, and luckily, moving is an ideal time for de-junking. The kitchen is going to be the best example of this: a lot of people end up buying niche kitchen appliances for very specialized meals, and they go unused after the first month or so. Panini presses, quesadilla grills, and other highly-specific countertop appliances wind up cluttering cabinet or counter space, which can’t be afforded in a smaller home.
You can go through and catalog major items in your kitchen, and then try to assign dates to the last time you used the items. If it’s been more than six months to a year, usually that item isn’t worth keeping. Smaller homes (and kitchens) function off of utility and minimalism, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for the extras you may be used to. For the items, you want to get rid of, schedule a date for someone to pick it up and forget about it. The more you reminisce about the items you are losing rather than the opportunity to live more simply; the transition will feel more difficult than it should be.
Dealing with Stress
Perhaps one of the most important parts of downsizing your home is don’t stress. Again, just because you’re going to have less furniture and other things doesn’t mean you’re really losing anything. Smaller homes are more economical and require less maintenance. The average spring cleaning alone will take half the time.
If you’re not ready to part with a lot of your furnishings, there’s an alternative: a storage unit. It’s perfectly reasonable to rent a storage unit for furnishing you can’t fit in your new home at the moment, whether it’s until you move again, or you find a friend or family member who might need it. Picking one closer to your new home would be ideal, for future moving efforts, but it comes down to how much you plan on keeping and how much space it will need.
The other use for a storage unit is for seasonal things, like heavy winter clothes during the summer or camping and biking gear during the winter. A smaller home may not be able to keep those, but you’ll want to use them yearly anyway. Just be sure to keep the storage unit organized, especially when you plan on using its contents on a regular schedule.
Haley Kieser is a freelance writer from Arizona. She loves writing and sharing information with others. In her spare time, you can find her exploring the outdoors or tackling a DIY project. She covers home & living and finance.