The dos and don’ts of downsizing

Downsizing is a lot less stressful if you plan ahead

Downsizing is a lot less stressful if you plan ahead - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Moving to a much smaller home can be a source of stress, with seemingly endless decisions needing to be made about what to cull or keep. Luckily, local lifestyle management expert Tracy Ross is here to take some of the pain away with her downsizing go-to guide.

Tracy Ross

Tracy Ross - Credit: Archant

Why downsize?

Some downsizers are looking to move nearer to children or family, whilst others are seeking a change of scenery. Some people want to follow their dream of moving to a favourite holiday destination such as Devon or the Lake District, or for those interested in the theatre and galleries, a move into central London would make sense.

A growing trend is for people to move to a smaller home to free up equity to support their children through university.

On the move: Packing is never easy

On the move: Packing is never easy - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Benefits of downsizing

There are plenty of reasons why moving to a smaller home makes sense.

• Reduce high monthly outgoings (cleaners, gardeners and maintenance)

Moving house needn't be (too) stressful

Moving house needn't be (too) stressful - Credit: Getty Images

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• Smaller utility bills

• Free up equity

The biggest worry of downsizing

The biggest worry for people thinking about downsizing is how they’ll be able to keep their possessions. The prospect of decluttering is a big deterrent and can often lead to inaction. But decluttering and reducing the number of belongings you have can be uplifting and is a step to a new phase in life.

The key is to give yourself plenty of time. Decluttering should begin three months before you put your home on the market. This will give you ample time to review all the hidden storage spaces in your home such as the loft, cellar, garage, shed and built-in cupboards.

Easy steps to downsizing

• Make a floor plan of your new smaller home.

• Measure the furniture that you want to keep. Ensure that you only take furniture 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.

• Don’t feel like you have to get rid of everything. Offer items to friends and family or put a small number of items into storage to give you more time to think about it. I would recommend that you don’t keep items in storage for longer than six months.

• Make a plan to start decluttering all your old storage areas one space at a time. This includes the loft, basement, shed, wardrobes, bathroom cabinets and kitchen drawers.

• Deciding what you need to keep requires a look at how you live your life. Which activities and hobbies do you enjoy (art, reading, walking, fishing, etc)?

• Identify 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.

• Make a list of all the valuable items that you wish to sell (paintings, furniture, jewellery, watches, collections). Many reputable auction houses offer a free valuation service which will allow you to determine which items you wish to sell.

• Personal paperwork is one of the areas that will take you the most time. Reviewing your current paperwork is key to preparing for your move. You need to have everything in order to sell your current home and move to your new one. 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.

Tracy at Blissfully Organisation Home Organisation and Decluttering has helped many clients prepare to move home. Please contact her at if you are considering downsizing to a smaller home and don’t know where to start.