How to Downsize When Moving to a Smaller Home

Tiny homes are not for everyone. You might have seen some of these tiny homes on the aptly titled reality show Tiny House Hunters. Yes, judging by the home improvement channel, "tiny homes" are now a thing. Petr Novak Apartment Complex 8th & Home Megan Wild

There is nothing wrong with wanting to minimize your belongings, but tiny might be too, well, tiny. Instead, folks are opting for a practical downsizing to a smaller home. There are many benefits from downsizing and getting rid of the clutter that can so easily take over a large house. Here’s how to downsize, and get ready to move from a bigger space into a smaller home.

Step 1: Check Out the New Space

Suppose you're currently living in a four-bedroom house but want to make the transition to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse. There are plenty of those on the market you can scope out for size. You should get a good sense for just how small your new place might become. Remember, it's not just about the actual living space but also available storage in closets and cabinets. This scouting trip will help prepare you for the next step.

Step 2: Take a Stuff Inventory

If you're serious about downsizing, then you'll need to get serious about your stuff. What do you need that you currently have to maintain a comfortable lifestyle? It might break down to a bed, a sofa, a TV and kitchen items. Nothing wrong with that, but it means you're going to have to start getting rid of things.

Henry McIntosh Dining Room 8th & Home Megan Wild

Your inventory should also include a lot of measurements. Your new living room might only be 12 feet x 12 feet. Will your current couch fit in there? What about your ginormous flat screen television? How much space would you have left over in the bedroom of a smaller house if you keep your king-size mattress? All things to consider.

Step 3: Keep, Trash or Donate

After making an inventory of what you will bring with you to your smaller space, it is time to deal with the rest of your stuff. This can all be separated into three piles: Keep, trash or donate. The other alternative is to sell off some of your collected stuff. You could be sitting on a goldmine in your closet and not even know it.

One more option is to upgrade. With all the new technology coming out, everything is getting lighter, smaller, and more efficient overall. Do you need to lug around that 20 year old sweeper? You could get another that operates off of Lithium ion energy, which is much more energy efficient.

You don't have to go through everything in a single day. Try one closet every weekend. Once you let go of all the things you don't need, then you'll have a much better approach for the transition into a smaller home.

Step 4: Hold Onto the Memories

Just because you're going small doesn't mean you have to throw out all your memories. It is important your new smaller home feel every bit like your last home in terms of coziness. That means putting up the family pictures or having easy access to the keepsakes that are important to you. Of course, that huge collection of Star Wars toys might have to go.

Step 5: Toss the Duplicates

A smaller space is going to mean smaller entertaining opportunities. In other words, you won't be throwing a dinner party for 16 people. That means if you have a dining set for 16, you might want to think about paring that down. The same holds true with sneakers, sweaters, remote controls and appliances. Remember, going small is all about letting go. If you haven't used something in the past year, then it's a good bet you might not use it in the coming year. You might not even miss it.

Step 6: Consider Storage

If you still have a hard time of getting rid of things, then you might consider putting it all in storage. This will mean an added monthly expense, but it could expedite the transition. It would also allow you to "go big" again if your living situation changes.

Erol Ahmed Moving Bag 8th & Home Megan Wild

Moving to a smaller home shouldn't be looked at as a step backward. Instead, you're creating a more manageable and affordable living space. That, in turn, can create a happier lifestyle.


Megan Wild has been here and there and has picked up a few moving tips along the way. Check out more of her tips on decorating and improving your home on her blog, Your Wild Home.