How To Downsize A Home

Downsizing is a word that we hear a lot these days.  Retirees are doing it.  Empty nesters are trying it.  Home improvement shows tell us how to downsize.  It’s even the title of a movie starring Matt Damon.  As long as it’s not your employer that is downsizing. it can be a good thing.  Downsizing is appealing for different reasons.

You Might Decide to Downsize Your Home If

  • You have unused roomshow to downsize a home
  • Home maintenance has become overwhelming
  • You want less to clean
  • You are trying to lower expenses or attempt frugal living
  • You want to decrease environmental impact
  • You’re finally ready to move to a cozy cabin in the woods

You Might Decide Not to Downsize Your Home If

  • You love shoes more than Imelda Marcos
  • You believe bigger is better
  • You feel like you would be taking a step backwards
  • Costco and BJ’s Wholesale are your favorite stores

Ok, so you’ve decided to give downsizing a try.  Carefully review your possessions and categorize into: love, use/keep, sell, donate and trash.

  • Love –  some things just need to be kept in the family.  One family member may be attached to the quilt that great-mother made while another couldn’t bear to part with Uncle Harry’s pocket watch.
  • Use/Keep – in this category, place items that are regularly used such as appliances, basic furnishings and tools.  Evaluate duplicates.  How many ball-peen hammers and whisks do you really need?  In a smaller space, you probably only need one.
  • Sell – ebay, Craigslist, yard sales and numerous phone apps make it easy to earn a few bucks off how to downsize a homethe stuff you don’t want.  If you’re still not using the bread machine that was a wedding gift ten years ago, sell it!
  • Donate – charities always appreciate clean, useful items such as clothing, housewares and furniture in good condition.
  • Trash – get rid of anything that is dirty, stained or broken and can’t be fixed.

Don’t forget to measure your furniture.  Make sure it will fit in you new space.  Many free online room planner programs are available for figuring out the furniture arrangement.  Or you can go old school and break out the graph paper and sketch out your design.

Most importantly don’t put anything in storage!  The entire point of downsizing is to have less, not simply relocate it somewhere else.  Renting a storage unit only moves your problem of owning too many things and costs you money in the process.

Last words on How to Downsize A Home

Don’t assume that your expenses will decrease just because you downsize a home.  Consider the costs associated with selling your house and buying a new one such as realtor commissions and closing costs.  What’s your threshold that makes downsizing worth the effort.  Some think reducing expenses by at least 25% is a good place to start.  If your downsizing savings aren’t substantial, it doesn’t make much sense to leave a home you love for a new one.

Consider you motives and what is the best solution for you.  Many people who have downsized wonder why they had so much stuff in the first place.