Perhaps the kids have “left the nest” and you no longer need a large home, or you and your partner recently retired and desire a smaller residence. Whatever your motives for buying or renting more reasonable accommodations, it is a good idea to downsize before you start moving. Use these tips to get rid of clutter and make the most out of your new space.
Walk through your new home, if possible, to visualize where everything will go. Take measurements to determine if your current furniture sets are too large for the space and reconsider any items you don’t really need, such as that picture of dogs playing poker collecting dust in your attic. Obtain a copy of the blueprints to reference as you sort items in your old house.
Focus on one room at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Use the one year rule to decide what stays and what goes—if you haven’t used an item in over 12 months, give it away. Also consider whether items will provide someone else with more value, such as that electric wine bottle opener a vino-loving friend could use. Make piles for donations, trash, items to give to family and friends, and things you wish to keep. Also, consider having a garage sale or putting valuable items you no longer want on eBay.
Digitize photos, CDs and cassettes, VHS tapes, documents, and anything else that can go on electronic files. Use your computer’s hard drive as well as options such as Dropbox or Google Drive to keep what’s important to you secure while also reducing clutter.
Use long-term storage available through your moving company if you have numerous items you do not want to part with but cannot fit in your new home, such as antique furniture or a priceless but bulky art collection. Storage solutions also provide stress relief if there are some belongings you simply cannot decide about right now.