Moving can be a stressful experience for even the most organized people – and that’s if you’re moving all of your belongings directly from one place to another. Downsizing is a great option for people who no longer need as much living space, but it may feel a bit daunting to start the packing process. Below, we’ve discussed our top tips on how to pack for a downsized home, including preparation, how to identify what to keep, unpacking tactics, and more.
Downsizing Tips: Get to Know Your New Space
Before you start the packing process, it’s important to be familiar with the size and functionality of rooms in your new home. As soon as possible, take measurements of the floor plan, ceiling height, windows, and doorways. This will help you anticipate the feasibility of bringing in your furniture and whether or not it needs to be replaced with something smaller.
If you’re still on the market for a new home, anticipate the price of replacing big-ticket items when determining how much of a mortgage you can afford. To avoid damaging your financing, it’s important to purchase a home that is well within your budget. This will give you a little more wiggle room to replace pricier items without breaking the bank.
You should also consider your new home’s storage capabilities. Smaller homes may lack closet space, basements, attics, spare rooms, or even crawl spaces. It’s a good idea to remember that when you unpack, you won’t have as much room to store recently-moved belongings alongside items that may typically live in storage, like holiday decorations.
How to Downsize Your Belongings: Organize and Purge
If you have moved before, you may have experienced the mysterious disappearance of a moving box or two. Even the most organized packers may suffer from a misplaced box they swore was in the moving truck. Once you are familiar with the space you have available, it’s time to get organized with a moving checklist.
In your current home, take inventory of all of your belongings room-by-room. Keeping a checklist of what you do and don’t have can help you save a few bucks, too. By knowing what you need to re-stock, you’ll avoid buying more of what you already have.
As you take inventory, evaluate if each item is essential to bring along or if you can part ways with it to save space. Items that may be considered essential are used frequently, such as your appliances, your couch, your kitchen table, your clothing, electronics, sentimental items like photographs, and more. Non-essential items might include half-empty bottles of air freshener, soon-to-expire foods, clothing that doesn’t fit, and more. If an item is damaged or broken, this may be the time to replace it.
Tip: try to consolidate as much as you can. If you have half-used items that can be combined, doing so will save you space and let you know what you need to purchase moving forward.
Pack a Room, Move a Room
Once you know what you are going to pack, it’s time to decide the order you will pack in. We suggest packing room-by-room. While it might sound smart to pack all of your towels in one box, it won’t be fun to find a body towel in a box of kitchen towels after your shower. Instead, pack your rooms up in groups. All kitchen items should be moved from your old kitchen directly into your new kitchen, and the same for all other rooms.
Try not to leave all of your boxes in one room when you move them. Immediately putting them in the appropriate rooms will help you conveniently keep track of your items; they will already be where they need to be. Need help with unpacking plans? Here’s our blog on what order you should unpack in.
While you are packing, make sure that you are taking advantage of weight distribution and appropriate-sized boxes. Packing too many heavy items into one box is difficult to move and may cause damage to the box and your items. Here are our best tips on packing a moving box.
Even if you plan to move your items directly from one room to its appropriate match in your new home, boxes can get misplaced. Additionally, moving boxes are not transparent; you won’t be able to see what’s inside even if they’re in the correct rooms. To save you the stress of endlessly digging through boxes to find what you’re looking for, be sure to label your boxes with the room name and its contents.
While Unpacking, Purge Again
Even if you narrow down your belongings, you may need to do a second round when you are in your new space. Moving your entire life is never completely perfect, so if you find that you are feeling a little more cramped than you’d like to be, go ahead and give downsizing another try. You may come across items that you kept the first time around but are now comfortable parting ways with.
Remember: not only does less space mean less storage, but bringing along too many items could lead to your new home getting cluttered very quickly. Consider donating your gently used items to charitable organizations. If you are struggling to part with a more sentimental item, consider gifting it to a close friend or family member.
Take Things Slow While Downsizing
Not only is moving stressful, but it can also be emotional. The last thing you want to do is save the packing process for the night before the moving truck arrives and close the door on the memories from your old home. If you know your move date well ahead of time, it’s never too early to get ahead on downsizing. By starting the process long before moving day, you will give yourself the ability to pack things and declutter in small chunks.
Check out our blog to see more ways to make your move less stressful.
Packing When Downsizing Your Home: Final Thoughts
If you’re ready to make the leap to a smaller, more efficient space, downsizing will be a great option for you. By anticipating your available space, narrowing down your items, and taking things one step at a time, downsizing will not be as overwhelming as it seems.