This week on Outside the Box, the TSI team is welcoming Sam from Abodo. Abodo has been used by more than 7,000,000 renters to browse, filter, and tour apartments in cities across the United States, with listings from over 300 cities.
While we may not always have choices about the things that occur in our lives, including moving or downsizing, one thing we can control is our stuff—what we have, and how much of it we hold on to. No matter what the reason for the move or downsizing, think of it as an adventure, albeit one that requires a bit of thought and physical work.
Here are a few simple tips to consider when downsizing your home.
1. Lists, Lists & More Lists
This may be the most important part of your move. Take the time to create lists of the things you own. Consider what importance an item has, whether it’s sentimental, purely functional, or both.
Use your phone to create an inventory of your things and to remind yourself how objects were arranged so you can recreate the feeling of home. This is an important tool for insurance purposes also. Write down details and take pictures.
2. Edit Your Belongings
This too is an important facet of moving to a smaller home. Spend time in each room before moving day to reminisce and make decisions about your pieces of furniture, collectibles, clothes and heirlooms.
If you have adult children, they may not want four different patterns of china or your grandmother’s wedding crystal. Let them choose a piece or two that has some significance and either sell or donate what you know in your heart you will not need. If you can’t part with your china, keep one or two pieces of it and use them in a different way. For instance, a teacup would make a great ring holder.
Edit your clothing too. If you’re keeping clothes because they will look wonderful when you lose 20 pounds, it is time to sell or donate. Some resale shops will take good quality clothing and give you a percentage of the sale.
Make time to pack each room one at a time. Whether you’re moving from a suburban Colorado home to a cheap studio apartment in Denver, somewhere in California, or anywhere in between, there is a certain amount of anxiety involved, particularly when downsizing. Try to make the process less stressful by doing the editing and packing in an organized way.
If you tend to flit around from project to project, it may be helpful to ask a friend or relative to help. Make sure you choose someone who can gently help you stay on task.
The furniture you own may be fabulous, but there is no sense moving a couch that will prevent you from opening a door in your new home.
Measure your new place if you can, then consider which substantial pieces of furniture will fit. You may not need three bureaus in your new bedroom if you have already edited your clothing. Consider which pieces can work in multiple ways. A small nightstand could make an excellent storage piece in a bathroom. Try to think of alternate uses for the items you already own.
5. Go Vertical
Smaller rooms mean less floor space, so take the opportunity to go up. Shelving can be decorative and functional. For items that you would like hidden, find baskets or cloth boxes that fit your shelves.
If you need a spot for video equipment, try mounting the television on the wall--you will save valuable floor space.
Consider Wi-Fi rather than cords for your electronics, especially if you can connect them using bluetooth. When placing items and baskets on your new vertical storage, try to think of the space as an art wall and vary the components for a visually pleasing look.
6. Moving with Children
If you are moving with small children, find ways for them to help. Most children appreciate being asked to do real tasks. Often, they will cull their own stuff easily when you explain that their precious things will be going to a child who really needs a toy or clothing.
Children are generally very empathetic. If there are items they just can’t part with, suggest those be put in a box for later.
7. Temporary Storage
There will be items that can’t be discarded right now even though you want to reduce waste, but don’t worry, it happens to all of us. The easiest way to solve this problem for both you and your children is to rent a storage unit.
Don’t fill the unit with things you will never need, but you can keep a couple of sentimental toys or books your children can’t bear to part with or a small piece of furniture that doesn’t really fit in the new home that you don’t want to sell or donate.
You can revisit these items in a couple of months and decide whether they are worthy of keeping.
No one expects you to completely remove yourself from your old life and sometimes holding on to an item brings fond memories. Just remember that smaller is sometimes better and you’ll have less to clean!
Small moves mades simple
TSI specializes in long distance small moves.