Downsizing: A Step by Step Guide to Simplified Living

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Are you feeling overwhelmed, bogged down by too much stuff in your home? Does the thought of decluttering and downsizing fill you with dread? It’s time to downsize and you know it.

Downsizing doesn’t have to mean deprivation – with the right approach it can free up more space (both physical and mental) for cultivating meaningful experiences and creating deeper connections. In this guide we’ll take a look at how to prioritize what’s important while trimming away excess so as to downsize without any drama.

Tom Tailor

Assessing Your Current Situation

What are your reasons for downsizing? Is it to save money, simplify your life, or simply declutter and find a sense of ease? Perhaps you’re an empty-nester seeking to trade your spacious family home for something more snug.

Before embarking on the downsizing journey, it’s important to understand the task at hand. It’s time to thoroughly examine all your belongings. Open those closets, glance under the beds, and investigate the forgotten corners of your garage. You might be surprised by the accumulation over the years.

In a nutshell, assessing your current situation involves scrutinizing your belongings, comprehending your motivations, and establishing meaningful goals.

How to Declutter Your Home Before Downsizing

When we have an excess of belongings, it can feel overwhelming. Clutter not only makes it hard to locate things but also hinders movement within a space. 

Decluttering room by room is a practical way to regain control of your living space and here’s how to do it.

Read More: The 30 Day Decluttering Challenge


The kitchen commonly serves as the heart of a home, but it can also become a clutter magnet. Begin by assessing your kitchen cabinets and drawers. Discard any old, broken, or duplicate kitchen gadgets and unused dishes. Sort through your pantry and discard expired or unwanted food items. Keeping your kitchen free from clutter enables effortless cooking and meal preparation.

Living Room

The living room should provide a comfortable space to relax. Remove any unnecessary knick-knacks and decorations that fail to bring joy. Organize your bookshelves and cabinets. Consider utilizing a storage ottoman to conceal blankets and remote controls. A well-organized living room is more inviting and tranquil.


Your bedroom should serve as a sanctuary. Sort through your clothes, shoes, and accessories. Donate or discard items that haven’t been worn in a while. Declutter your nightstands and dressers. A clutter-free bedroom can enhance your sleep quality and morning routine.

Garage and Storage Areas

Garages and storage spaces often accumulate items that are seldom used. It’s time to organize your tools, sporting equipment, and holiday decorations. Donate or sell items that you no longer require. Arrange your belongings on shelves or in clear storage bins for easy accessibility.

When to Use a Storage Unit While Downsizing

Are you planning to downsize and wondering if a self storage unit is a good idea? It’s a common question, and the answer depends on your specific situation. Let’s break it down in simple terms.

Seasonal Items

If you have things like holiday decorations, camping gear, or winter clothes that you only use seasonally, a storage unit can be really helpful. It keeps these items out of the way until you need them, making your smaller living space less cluttered.

Sentimental Items

We all have items with sentimental value, like family heirlooms, childhood keepsakes, or special mementos. If you can’t get rid of these treasures but don’t have space for them in your new home, a storage unit can provide a safe place for your cherished memories.

Transitional Period

When you’re moving to a smaller place, you might go through a transitional phase. For example, you could be selling your old house before moving into your new one, and there might be a gap in between. Or you might be testing out your downsized lifestyle and want a safety net in case you change your mind. In these situations, a storage unit can be a temporary solution.

Furniture and Large Items

If your big furniture doesn’t fit in your new place, instead of selling it all off, you can store the pieces you love but can’t fit. Just make sure the cost of storage is worth it.

Future Plans

Consider your future plans. If you think you’ll need those items again, like when your adult kids move out or when you decide to upsize again, keeping them in storage can save you the trouble and expense of buying everything again.

Seasonal Residents

For seniors who spend part of the year in a warmer or cooler climate, a storage unit can be a convenient way to keep your belongings nearby without cluttering up your second home.

Read More: Essential Storage Solutions for New Homeowners

Packing and Moving Into Your New Home

Oh, packing – it’s the part of moving that most of us would rather avoid, but it’s a necessary task. To make it less stressful, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Start Early: Don’t leave packing until the last minute. Begin with things you use the least, like seasonal items or belongings in storage.
  • Label Everything: Clearly label your boxes with their contents and the specific room they belong in. It will make unpacking much easier.
  • Use Quality Boxes and Packing Materials: Opt for sturdy boxes and reliable packing materials to ensure the safety of your belongings. It’s worth the investment.
  • Pack Essentials Separately: Prepare an “essentials” box with items you’ll need on the first day in your new place – toiletries, a change of clothes, important documents, and some snacks.

Decision between hiring professional movers vs doing it yourself is a tough one. Here’s the lowdown on both options:

Hiring Professional Movers:

  • Advantages: They handle the heavy lifting, possess expertise, and excel in efficient packing.
  • Disadvantages: It can be costly, and you’re entrusting unfamiliar individuals with your belongings.

DIY Moving:

  • Advantages: It’s cost-effective, and you have full control over the entire process.
  • Disadvantages: You’re accountable for everything, from lifting heavy objects to driving the large truck.

If you have money, professional movers can alleviate a great deal of inconvenience. However, if you’re seeking a self-guided adventure and have the time and energy, opting for the do-it-yourself approach can be a money-saving alternative.

Settling into Your Simplified Life

Imagine this: you’re in a cozier, more manageable home, and it’s likely lighter on the wallet, too. So go ahead and delight in the serene atmosphere of having less clutter and a simpler living space. The stress is reduced, and life feels more peaceful.

When it comes to settling in, don’t forget to personalize your space. Embellish it with cherished family photos, that artwork you love, and those items that hold a special place in your heart. These little touches help your new place feel like home quickly, providing a comforting sense of familiarity amidst all the changes.

New routines may accompany the downsizing process. Perhaps you’re adapting to a smaller kitchen, a different commute, or getting to know your neighbors. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack and take your time adjusting to these changes. Change can be a gradual dance, and it’s completely natural to have mixed emotions as you shape your daily routine in your downsized home.

Final Thoughts

Congrats on taking steps towards a more simplified lifestyle! Downsizing is about creating space for meaningful experiences and deeper connections rather than letting go of things you cherish. Just make sure to assess your situation, organize each room, utilize storage effectively, plan your move thoughtfully, and gradually embrace your downsized life. We promise you’ll love it!

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Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an interiors writer and blogger and has an insatiable love of home style and decor

Find me on: Web

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