Moving to a smaller property? Follow these simple steps to downsizing success

Preparing to downsize takes time. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Preparing to downsize takes time. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dreading downsizing? Reducing your belongings can be an uplifting step to a new phase in your life says St Albans-based decluttering expert Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised.

Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised. Picture: Claire Lane

Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised. Picture: Claire Lane - Credit: Archant

For some, moving to a smaller home is a temporary solution during building works or between selling and buying. For others it's a permanent move and lifestyle change.

For most people the biggest concern is how they'll be able to keep their possessions.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed - but following Tracy's simple steps will help make the process as seamless as possible.

If your move is temporary then you may need to put some of your stuff into storage. Picture: Getty I

If your move is temporary then you may need to put some of your stuff into storage. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


If you are starting major building works, you have several options to consider:

Live with your builders

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Stay in your existing home and live in a smaller space. Discuss with your builder which rooms you can continue using and any space that you can use for storing items that you do not need to access during the build.

You can then begin a process of decluttering each space and packing up non-essential items.

If the space you will be living in will be greatly reduced you may consider putting larger items into temporary storage.

Staying put is the cheaper option but may be too disruptive for busy family life.

Find a place to rent

If your build period is over six months and likely to be very disruptive you may want to consider moving to a rental property. The longer the rental period, the easier it will be to find a property.

If you decide to rent, you need to think about the following:

- Location: Do you need to rent in the same location for easy access to school and work?

- Size: You may live in a four bedroom home, but could you rent somewhere smaller to save on costs? If you select this option, you may need to consider using a storage unit short-term for items that will not fit into the rental property. Alternatively, you may decide to rent a similar size property that allows you to store everything that you need.

- Removal costs

- Decluttering: Create an action plan (see below)


Moving can be stressful. When downsizing you need a plan - and plenty of time.

Tracy's top downsizing tips

- Plan the space: Create a floor plan of your new smaller home.

- Measure up: Measure the furniture that you want to keep. Ensure that you only take things that will comfortably fit into your new space. You may need to replace some key items such as a sofa and dining table and chairs for a better fit.

- Create a decluttering plan: Ideally start three months before you move. You will need to work through every space in your home including key storage areas such as the loft, basement, shed, wardrobes and bathroom cabinets. Work in short blocks of 45 minutes.

- Make a list of all the valuable items that you wish to sell. This process takes time if you select an auction house, eBay seller or choose to sell privately.

- Donate or recycle the items that you no longer want to keep. There are many valuable ways of donating your unwanted items through local charity shops and homeless shelters.

- Personal paperwork is one of the areas that will take you the most time. Reviewing your paperwork is key to preparing for your move. To sell your current home and move to your new one you need to have everything in order. Shred unwanted paperwork and file the papers that you need to keep.

- Photos, cards and memories will be the other area that will take you a long time to sort through. Create a memory box for your most important items and consider digitising your photos to save space.

If you find yourself in need of additional support at any stage of your downsizing process, professional organiser Tracy will be happy to help. Contact her at