6 Tips for Downsizing

This small space lives large, with just the right amount of stuff. Design by Jenna Pizzigati

When we moved about a year ago from our house in Alabama to a house in Tennessee, we didn’t think we’d be downsizing exactly — but we forgot about the basement. You see, our old house has a full basement where we did all our crafting, making and storing of various things like the lawnmower and Christmas decorations and the random chair we might want to use someday … you know that chair, right? But now we have no room for all those sundries and are faced with the task we all must face (or should face) at one time or another: getting rid of stuff.

How do you do it? How do you downsize? According to our friends at HGTVRemodels, it helps to have a plan. Whether you’re looking to pare down your craft space or you’re moving from a house to a smaller apartment, here’s some sage advice from their article on how to downsize to a smaller space.

Tip 1: Plan Ahead

Don’t wait to make decisions. Start planning your downsizing early and set goals. For couples and families, make sure everyone is on the same page to eliminate conflicts and hurt feelings down the road.

Tip 2: Determine Your Lifestyle Needs

It helps to ask yourself some questions. Think about what lifestyle you want to embrace as you move forward, suggests professional organizer Mary Dykstra, CPO, president elect for NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and owner of Within Reach Organizing Services.

    • Do you have room for oversized furniture in your new space?
    • If you are moving, how much smaller is your new home?
    • Do you feel you should keep something just because you spent a lot of money for it?

Tip 3: Find Purpose

“The biggest issue is people don’t edit,” says designer Jane Hamilton of JAC Interiors. “They want to bring too much stuff with them and don’t realize every little corner should have a purpose or function. With some planning, a shelf can become your whole home office or a corner becomes an art studio.”

“Be conscious of what you let into your mind, life and environment, and how you choose to spend your time and resources moving forward,” says Dykstra. “This is the secret to feeling whole and living well.”

Regarding sentimental items, take photographs of your old home and belongings to preserve memories. This can be especially helpful for children who don’t want to let go of an old stuffed animal or dolls.

Tip 4: Keep Clutter Out

Edit your technology. Use a printer that connects to Wi-Fi to eliminate extra cables and choose a TV that mounts to the wall, so you don’t need a media center that takes up valuable floor space.

Use smart storage solutions in your smaller space. For example, a table cloth can re-purpose an older table and give you a way to “hide” things from plain sight. Or use a piece of your china collection that seems too large to store as a pencil holder in your home office or for makeup storage in your bathroom.

Tip 5: Think Quality and Multipurpose

Hamilton says you need to go for quality over quantity. Choose a great piece of furniture that makes a statement, instead of trying to squeeze too many pieces into a single room.

If you’re investing in new furniture when you downsize, choose multipurpose furniture pieces. Go for nightstands with open and closed storage and ottomans with tops that lift to offer space inside for blankets or extra pillows.

Look for durable fabrics, since a smaller home often requires flexible spaces that have to do double duty as an office, extra bedroom or playspace.

Tip 6: When in Doubt, Get an Objective Opinion

Accept help in sorting and packing your belongings. Consider hiring a professional organizer who can offer an objective opinion when you’re trying to decide what you really need to eliminate or donate to charity.

Has this helped? Are you ready to downsize?! I am, and the first thing going is that chair. Find more tips and strategies for stylish small-space living here.

4 Responses

  1. Jasmine Jacob says:

    A portion of the books, and everything except one bag in their storm cellar or loft. Experience every one of the garments and give or hurl all that you haven't worn in the most recent year, and anything that isn't in style or doesn't fit, in addition to every one of the shoes that hurt your feet. assignment writing or online catalog can help with capacity thoughts.

  2. MarcioWilges says:

    Moving homes is actually one of the most perfect times to declutter. One small tip is to make sure that you have ample time to sort through your thigns before the moving and removals company comes by. It might work out to just get a professional service to pack everything in and then slowly work through the boxes when you get to your new home, but that's a LOT of clearing out to do when all you're going to want to do is enjoy your new hosue! Good luck though!

  3. MattDart says:

    Less is more and the more you declutter, the less stuff OWNS you, and you do not want to share your living space with too many stuff. However, there are inevitable circumstances that may require additional storage, such as an addition of a new family member, or new employment requirements, new furnishings, etc. When such need arises, there are thankfully plenty of self-storage facilities available at affordable prices these days. At the end, you still get to have your stuff with you, but out of your living space.

  4. MaryL says:

    Deep down we already know all these suggestions. It's letting go that hurts, especially if it has emotional strings attached. This article doesn't help.


About Kelly Smith Trimble 


I grow vegetables wherever I can find enough sunlight and forage roadsides and hiking trails for plants that can be used to make natural dyes. You can find both vintage ...

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