How to Downsize for a Move

Moving is the perfect time to downsize by getting rid of belongings that you no longer use or care about. Whether you are downsizing to a smaller home or just want to simplify your life, reducing the amount of “stuff” in your life can result in a positive outcome. 

To help with the downsizing process, consider some of these suggestions developed during years of hands-on moving experience:

Don’t Wait

As soon as you know that you will be moving, start downsizing. Don’t wait until you have finalized details. The more time you have to make downsizing decisions, the lower your chance for feeling overwhelmed as moving day approaches.

Prepare Parameter Questions

To help you make decisions on what you keep and what you let go, prepare questions to ask yourself, such as:

  • When was the last time this was used and how often do we use it?
  • If it broke would we replace it?
  • Does this have sentimental value? To whom?
  • What is my reason for keeping this? 
  • Do I want to pay to move this to my new home?

HINT: If you have trouble making decisions about what to keep and what not to, consider consulting with a professional organizer. A professional organizer will be more objective and help you understand how you actually feel about and interact with your belongings. This can help you make decisions and be comfortable with the decisions you make.

Move From the Outside In

Start in the areas furthest away from your primary living space, such as storage rooms, basements and attics. Since these areas typically house items that are stored more than used, it’s easier to envision your life without them.

Divide and Conquer

Preparing your home for a move can make the process quicker and more efficient. As you go through your home, organize your belongings into groups such as: 

  • Items you plan to sell
  • Items you plan to donate
  • Items you plan to give to relatives or friends

HINT: Once you have made decisions, act on them quickly so you don’t change your mind. Once you’ve donated that old magazine rack to charity, you’re not going to ask for it back.

Think in Groups

If you decide to part with a floor lamp, immediately consider items that might have been purchased to match it, such as matching table lamps. If you are ready to move on from your bedroom chest of drawers, it might be the time to also sell or giveaway the matching bedside tables and headboard.

Consult Your Family

Your family should be involved in the decisions about what to keep and what not to. You might discover that something you were ready to donate has sentimental value to a family member. Or you might be keeping something for a family member and discover that they don’t care about it.

Understand Your New Home

Does your current furniture fit the floor space and style of your new home? If specific large items such as furniture will be oversized for your new home (or you just have too much furniture), sell it or give it away before you move. For large items, such as moving pianos, make sure you hire trained professionals who can help. Storing certain items can be a costly decision.

Give Yourself a Break

Once you are comfortable with the process of choosing items to part with — and actually parting with them— it tends to get easier. In most cases, however, there is no reason to clear out absolutely everything. If you have an item that brings you happiness and it would break your heart to let it go, keep it and treasure it.

Stay Positive

Downsizing can be stressful on a number of levels. Try to focus on the idea that once the process is complete, you will enjoy a fresh start with a new sense of freedom. By unburdening yourself of belongings that you no longer need, you can begin life in your new home, looking to the future without “excess baggage.” 

Whether you are downsizing or moving a full household, you can depend on the professionals at MVM Moving to treat your belongings as our own while offering competitive pricing and unparalleled customer service. Check out our FAQ for more information about hiring a moving company.

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