While there are many reasons to downsize your home, many just want to create a place to live without the anxiety of caring for a too-large home. Here are some easy tips that will help you downsize with less stress.

Set Goals

Begin with realistic goals for your downsizing adventure. If you are leaving a home in which you raised a family there will be things that trigger tears, but if the space has become too much to care for, or you have entire portions of the house that are never used, it may be a refreshing experience to live in a smaller place. 

Lists

Now is the time to take inventory. Start with just one room and write down the contents as you sort through them. Take your time. Take pictures of everything–this is easiest to do on a smart phone–and save them to a folder. The pictures are an easy place to keep memories of your home and you can visit often. Send a copy of the pictures to someone close to you for insurance purposes. 

Insurance and Utilities

Now is the time to phone your insurance company. Discuss the move and ask what needs to be changed in your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Discuss dates, changes to possessions and addresses. Utility companies and other service providers will need to be notified of your change of residence and whether the types of services will change. Also, fill out a change of address card at the USPS. 

Each room you sort through should have a bin or bag for trash, donations, or for selling items separate from the ones you intend to keep. Items that are valuable can be sold on sites like eBay or through re-sale shops, which tend to take a commission for sales. Gently used clothing, toys and furniture can be donated to shelters or places similar to Goodwill. Things that are broken, or too worn to mend, should go in the trash.

Cherished Items

Over the course of a lifetime everyone keeps objects that remind them of people or places. Sometimes an heirloom comes into your possession from a loved one. Ask family and friends if they would be interested in the complete set of sterling silver flatware you inherited from your grandmother. Don’t take it personally if they choose not to take it. Many people don’t want to spend the time polishing silverware. If you have a hard time letting go of something like this consider keeping a piece or two and selling the rest. An antique teacup can be placed on your nightstand to hold rings. Think of alternative uses for items you keep. 

Measure

Get the measurements of the rooms in your new place before you make a final decision about the furnishings you take. A lovely sectional sofa in your current home may simply not fit in your downsized place. There is no sense paying to move an item only to discover you have no place for it. 

Pack

If you’re moving from sunny Southern California to a frigid neighborhood like Chicago’s Lincoln Park, a trendy spot in New York City, or anywhere in between, packing items that you will truly need is super important. On top of that, starting with items that you can lift is a sensible thing to do. If, however, you are unable to pack by yourself, engage the help of family members, or hire professional packers. Mark boxes with the name of the room they will be going into. Check reviews of any company you hire.

Moving In

When the day arrives for you to finally move into your new place, what should you do? Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before, and pack snacks and beverages for yourself for moving day. Arrive at the new place early to acclimate yourself. Movers will bring boxes and furniture into your new home and will place them in the rooms designated on the box label. Make sure there is no damage before you let them leave. And now, you have as much time as you need to open boxes and rediscover your ability to create a home.