The Tiny house Blog

The Complete Guide to Downsizing Your Home

Updated on:
January 24, 2024
downsize spelled out

You enjoy living in a large and spacious home, but then life happens. Maybe because of retirement, salary cuts, or your kids leaving for college, you’re forced to downsize your home. Moving to a smaller home is nothing to get excited about, but most people have to.

Downsizing your home seems like a cakewalk, but it’s far from that. Moving into a smaller space with all your belongings comes with its fair share of problems. However, knowing the proper downsizing steps will help you smoothly transition into your new home.

Today, we’ll be showing you how to downsize your home the right way and why living in a smaller home is good for you.

The Preparation

Adequate preparation is necessary to make sure everything goes as planned. That said, here are a few steps to take before you downsize to a smaller home

Take a Lot of Photos of Your Home

You’ll want to take more than a few pictures of your home before you can move into the smaller one. This is a great way to cherish all the incredible memories you had in your previous home. It’s good to look back at your old place for a bit of nostalgia once in a while.

Taking pictures also helps you identify things you want to take with you. There’s a chance you might have missed one or two items during your initial run. Taking a look at the photos later will help you find them.

Take What You Want

Moving into a new home doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Note down all the things you need, want, and like to look at. After compiling your list, you can determine what you’re taking with you to your new home.

Take with you items that make a house feel like home. We’re talking stuff like art, décor, and sentimental items. Remember, don’t take too much because you’re moving into a tiny home.

Don’t Save Too Much

This is particularly common with retirees where they want to save for the next generation. This is a noble endeavor, but be careful not to over-save items. Most retirees keep these items in storage, waiting for their kids or grandkids to grow up.

The problem is saving too much means you’ll have to pay a bundle for the storage service. By the time your kids are grown, whatever you’ve been saving will be outdated. Just take the money you’d spend on storage and hand it over to your kids or grandkids when they’re grown.

Give and Don’t Look Back

It’s common for people to give out some of their possessions while downsizing. If you decide to do so, give and don’t look back.  Once you hand over ownership of an item, the item is no longer yours.

Don’t go back a few years later saying that you need your old couch. If you can’t see the item while visiting, don’t ask where it is. Give away your items fully with no strings attached. This allows you to declutter your mind and of course brings joy as it's always "better to give than to receive".

The Actual Downsizing

Now that you’ve checked everything on your preparation list. It’s now time to move into a smaller home. Here’s where we roll up our sleeves and get to serious work.

This is the right way to downsize your home:

Rent a Storage Space

It’s normal to be attached to some items from your previous home. If your home doesn’t have enough space for all your items, consider renting a storage unit. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll decide to move to a larger home.

A storage unit is a temporary place where you can store your belongings. It’s an excellent place to keep your stuff while planning the logistics of your move. You can keep all your items in there before you figure out what to do with them.

This will save you from some unneccessary stress and provides some reassurance incase things don't quite work out as you had expected.

Create a Budget

One positive of downsizing your home is that it also downsizes your spending. You won’t have to spend as much while in your new home as you did in your previous one. However, before you enjoy the budget cuts, you have to make a budget for the downsizing.

Creating a budget will make for a stress-free moving process without any hitches. Some things you need to budget for include moving expenses, repair, and storage unit costs. Be sure to include everything, so you don’t run into any financial hurdles later on.

The average cost of moving into a new home is about $800 to $2,000, depending on the size of your home. Since you’re moving into a new home, it’s unlikely that the move will be expensive.

Apart from budgeting for the move, you also have to budget your expected living expenses. We’re talking about food, utility bills, mortgage repayments, and so on. Thankfully, moving to a smaller home means you’ll be spending less than you did on your previous home,

This presents the ideal opportunity for you to save for something big like a car or a well-deserved vacation.

Take Accurate Measurements of Your New Space

To downsize correctly, you need to know the amount of space you’ll be working with. That means knowing the shape and square footage of each room. This allows you to know what fits where and what to get rid of.

It’s important that you take actual measurements of the rooms in your new home. Eyeballing the rooms won’t do much to help you figure out how much space you have. Once you get exact measurements, you can figure out how to fit the furniture into your new home.

This will save you a lot of time and give you emotional reprieve when deciding what stays and what goes.

Declutter Your Home

Sooner or later, it’ll hit you that your new home isn’t nearly as big as your previous one. While you could afford a lot of clutter in your old house, there’s no space for clutter in a small home. The only way around this is to declutter your home and save on space.

There are many methods you could use to declutter your home. One of the most effective ones is the four-box method. The four-box method involves using four large boxes to categorize items in your home.  This helps you Declutter by getting rid of items you don’t need.

Use this and any other method that works to get rid of all the clutter in your new home. You’ll find that your house has plenty of space you can use if you do some serious decluttering.

Adopt Minimalistic Habits

Moving into a smaller home will require you to call on your inner minimalist to live comfortably. There’s not much space to go around, so you’ll have to make do with only a little. This is great because it means you’ll have to weed out all the items you don’t need.

There are many minimalist décor tips you can look at to make the most of your minimalist habits. Channel your inner minimalists to make downsizing your home a breeze.

Find Furniture That Helps You Save Space

Say goodbye to that large couch that you could spread yourself on. Now that you’ve moved to a smaller space, space-saving furniture should top your wishlist. That way, you can have a comfortable living space without cramping your rooms.

A few examples of space-saving furniture you should consider include wall desks, coffee tables with storage, and drop-leaf dining tables. Make sure the furniture matches your décor for the greatest effect. Just because you live in a smaller space doesn’t mean you should compromise on your furniture.

Donate and Sell Items You Don’t Need

You probably have lots of non-essential items lying all over your house. The best way to get rid of them is by selling or donating them. Selling them will help you get money for moving and household expenses.

The internet offers an incredible platform for selling off stuff you don’t need. Sites like eBay, LetGo, OfferUp, and Craigslist allow you to sell your items in an online marketplace. Landing a buyer on these platforms will be a walk in the park.

If you don’t want to sell your items, you can donate them to charity. In fact, some charities have home pick-ups for goods you’re willing to donate. A few organizations you should consider donating to include:

  • The Salvation Army
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • The Furniture Bank

You could also try exploring local charities to find organizations looking for donations. Donating to charity is a great way to do some good while decluttering your home.

Don’t Overlook Your Closet

Sometimes we get so caught up with furniture that we forget all about our closets. If you’re like most people, your closet probably needs some serious downsizing. Most of us are guilty of hoarding clothes, but a smaller home won’t allow this.

Don’t be too scared to downsize your closet to make space for clothes that you actually wear. A good rule of thumb is to discard clothes you haven’t worn for more than nine months. Donate these clothes to the Salvation Army or any other reputable charity.

If your closets are still too small for the remaining clothes, save your closets for on-season clothes only. You can keep the other clothes in another space until their time comes.

What Are the Benefits of Downsizing Your Home

Moving to a smaller home almost seems like a downgrade, but that’s not true. Downsizing your home has several unexpected benefits if you read between the lines. Some of these benefits are:-

Reduced Living Costs

The greatest benefit of moving to a smaller home is cutting down on living expenses. It’s no secret, the more space you have, the more money you spend to fill it. Moving to a smaller home means you don’t have to spend much on furniture, appliances, or décor.

Once you downsize, you’ll realize that you can do a couple of things you thought were necessary. All this will help you save a bundle in living costs.

Helps Save on Energy

Another benefit of downsizing your home is that you can save a lot of energy. This is not only great for you but also for the environment. The less energy you use, the lower your carbon footprint.

A large house with multiple rooms requires a lot of energy to keep the rooms warm or cool. A small house, on the other hand, only requires a little energy to do the same. This translates to a lower energy bill and reduce carbon emissions.

Opens up a New Chapter in Your Life

Downsizing your home could indicate a new beginning in your life. This is often true for retirees who’ve laid down their tools to rest. It also applies to old parents whose kids have grown up and moved out to lead their own lives.

Moving to a new home signifies a fresh start, which is always good. You can do the things you always wanted to do and strive to become the best version of yourself.

Helps You Get Out of Debt

Maybe your careless spending has gotten you in a mountain of debt. If there’s no financial reprieve in sight, downsizing can help get you out of debt. With reduced expenses, getting out of debt should be a done deal.

The same goes for people struggling with finances. If you’re in the financial doldrums, consider moving to a smaller space. That way, you can live comfortably with whatever you have in your pockets.

Lets You Splurge on a Few Expensive Furniture

You don’t have to spend money on typical furniture if you move into a smaller home. Since you have space for only a few furniture pieces, you can go all out on them. Splurge on a few furniture pieces and make a bold statement to your visitors.

Home Downsizing Made Easy

We hope our downsizing guide has brought you up to speed with everything you need to know about moving to a smaller home. This is a big step in your life, so make sure you get everything right.

Need help building your new downsizing home? Check out our featured builders to bring your home to reality.

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