Your Guide to Downsizing Image

Your Guide to Downsizing


Downsizing in later life can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Taking the time to carefully assess your needs and declutter effectively allows you to simplify your lifestyle, reduce costs and free up time for what’s important.

Transitioning from a large family home into a smaller living space requires mental and financial preparation. Here is some advice on downsizing to help provide reassurance and guidance to the process.


Start early

Give yourself plenty of time for the process, it may take longer than you expect. Pace yourself, and don’t try to sort through your entire house in one day or weekend. A couple of weeks to a month is a more realistic timeline. Go through each room in turn and take breaks. Allow yourself ample time for downsizing to make the experience less stressful.

Make a Budget

Downsizing usually comes with extra expenses. It is important to draw up a budget to ensure you can afford all the necessary items as well as any potential moving costs. Include selling your possessions as part of this budget.

Start small

You may have things that you want to get rid of but try to avoid tackling the largest rooms first. Start in the areas of least emotional attachment. The laundry, bathroom or storage cupboards (i.e. linen cupboard) are good options to start with.

Consider the new space

Take measurements of the new home to help you decide what existing furniture (or other large items) you can take with you and what new items you may need to purchase. This will help ensure everything fits and that there is still enough space to live comfortably.

Eliminate the rooms that aren’t in your new home

If you’re moving to an apartment or unit, you might not have a garage or office space. Nearly everything in those spaces will need to be sold, donated, or thrown away. Otherwise, you will need to find room in a smaller space for these things.

Dispose of duplicates

You’ll find this is especially true in rooms like your kitchen. You may have duplicate utensils, saucepans and serving platters. You may also have several unused kitchen appliances that are no longer needed and take up a lot of space. Now is the time to reduce the clutter.

Only make Yes or No piles

When you’re going through belongings, some things will have emotional connections and you may be tempted to make a third pile of things to keep if you have enough space.

This will result in a ‘maybe pile’ that is bigger than your yes or no piles and prevent you from making any real progress.  Consider each item and if you use it regularly, keep it. If it hasn’t been used in over a year or more, it’s time to let it go.

Sell things yourself

With Gumtree, eBay, Facebook marketplace, garage sales and even consignment shops, selling your possessions has never been easier. Depending on the items you sell, there may not be huge profits, so take a moment to weigh up your time and effort against the sale benefit before listing items for sale.

Allow time to reminisce

While you’re cleaning and sorting, there will be times when you want to stop sorting and just look through old photos, mementos, and possessions. It’s OK to pause and reminisce. Cry if you need to or move on to another room and come back. This is why you started early — just don’t let it prevent you from eventually getting the job done.

If you follow these tips you will have an enjoyable and productive downsizing experience, that you are comfortable with and that allows you to keep the things dearest to you.

Good luck with your transition and remember, downsizing is an opportunity for a fresh start!