Mistake 1: Letting emotions stop you from moving forward.
Moving to a smaller space can be emotionally taxing, but remember, you are not alone. So many other homeowners have agonized over downsizing, but they did it and are happier because of it. So, it’s time for a pep talk. Read this to yourself the next time a negative thought creeps into your head.
Owning a home and filling it with memories and belongings is the American dream and it’s one of your biggest achievements. You should feel proud! You worked hard to buy your home, raise a family and invested in it to make it your own. Moving to another space, even a smaller one, does not take away from anything you’ve accomplished. Instead, pat yourself on the back and celebrate those accomplishments. Be proud that you’re starting a new journey.
Moving out of your home can also be difficult because of the memories you’ve created over the years. Spend time giving thanks and reflecting on those moments and think of the great home you’re about to pass along to someone else. Think of all of the memories that will occur underneath that roof all because you took care of it for so long. Keep in mind that it’s the people that make a home, not the house itself. You’ll create new memories and experiences in your new one.
Mistake 2: Investing in too much storage space because you don't want to throw away years and years of purchases and memories.
The best cost savings you can do through this move, is to not invest in storage space. In 2018, the $38 billion storage industry charges the average renter $91.14 a month and increases their rates yearly. But we understand moving from a home with ample storage space to limited rooms and closets could call for a transitional space to house a few things. So, if you are planning to invest in storage space, set yourself a 3-year price limit that you’re comfortable paying. Check in every six months or yearly for updated rental rates and have a Plan B if they skyrocket. But remember, the best way to avoid renting a storage unit is to start your downsizing journey now.
Here’s a handy downsizing checklist with tips on how to make downsizing a better experience.
- Start early, because a move always takes longer than you’d expect.
- Reach out to your friends or family members who have made similar moves to make sure you have a support system when things get a bit emotionally or physically hard.
- Make a list of your belongings and mark them “keep, donate, sell, or throw away”. Set time before your move to work through every room in your house. Use the Marie Kondo method and only keep items that “spark joy”.
- Start with non-sentimental items first, and set aside any emotionally-charged belongings and have a friend come over, so that you can give attention and time to the things in your home that mean the most to you.
- Get rid of duplicates. You do not need three cutting boards, two televisions, and eight door mats. Choose the most versatile item or highest quality, and donate or sell the others.
- Double check your closest and storage options at your new space to know how much room for holiday decorations, memorabilia, antiques, seasonal clothes, etc.
- Now is the time to digitize your photos, videos, and music. Invite over your tech savviest friends or relatives and have them help sort and organize your files electronically.
Mistake 3: Forgetting to measure your current furniture for your new space.
Simply eyeballing whether or not furniture made for a large home can fit in an apartment layout is never a good idea. Get a family member or friend who enjoys interior design and owns a tape measurer, and take to Google or Pinterest to get a sense of which pieces should stay and which furniture should be sold or donated.
Here are a few search terms that we recommend typing into your search engine of choice:
- best layout for a 2-bedroom apartment
- layout ideas for a 1-bedroom condo
- apartment layout inspiration
- layout design for a small apartment
The last thing you want to happen when downsizing to a new place is to unpack and feel immediately cluttered. So take the time to plan your layout – you won’t regret it!
Mistake 4: Not looking for smaller living inspiration on the internet.
What’s the best way to start getting excited about a new living space these days? Answer: The Internet. Sites like Apartment Therapy or a general Google Search are filled to the brim with smaller spaces and cozy apartments that make everyone wish they had a smaller space to decorate.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable about downsizing and not sure where to start, here’s our favorite sites:
- Apartment Therapy’s Before & After: Shows the initial space as well as the transformation
- Pottery Barn’s Small Spaces: Includes a collection of how to decorate and layout kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms
- Pinterest “Apartment Inspiration”: A plethora of photos and how-to’s that you can filter through by room, style, and apartment size.
Mistake 5: Forgetting the perks that only come with a smaller space.
We’re just going to list the benefits for you. Just come back when you need a nice reminder.
- Less tidying up, and more time doing what you like.
- Lower utility costs.
- Less clutter, more organization! Remember, your new home is not meant to be a storage unit for your old home. And your move hopefully helped you become more organized.
- No more stairs. Meaning that the likeliness of an injury has decreased and you don’t have to worry about sweeping or vacuuming in an awkward stance, ever again.
What’s helped you through the downsizing process while selling a home? And from your personal experience, what have been the benefits of downsizing? Again, remember that you’re not alone, and while this experience may be emotionally draining in the short-term, the upside is always greater than the downsize.