7 Top Tips for Downsizing Your Home
The square footage of the average American home has been increasing for decades. In 1950, the average home was 983 square feet, while the average in 2004 was 2,349 square feet. As of 2020, the median size of a new construction home was 2,261 feet.
When it comes to housing, though, bigger isn’t always better. Bigger houses mean more maintenance, more to clean, more debt, and falling into the trap of owning way too much stuff.
For this reason, the notion of downsizing your home can be very appealing. However, downsizing can range from being liberating to completely overwhelming depending on how you approach it.
Let’s take a look at some tips about how to downsize to help you begin your new life on the right foot.
1. Get a Head Start and Go Slow
When you’re learning how to downsize your home, the whole process sounds very simple. Get rid of the things you don’t need and keep only what you do. However, it starts getting a lot more complicated when you start actually sifting through your belongings.
Chances are, you have more stuff than you think you do. You have stuff you forgot existed that all of a sudden you can’t bear to part with. It is an emotional process and a taxing one at that.
For that reason, it’s best to start as soon as possible. Once you know you will be moving homes to a smaller place, it’s time to start strategizing. Doing a little bit every day can make the whole thing a lot more manageable and help you avoid decision-making burnout.
2. Pay Attention to How Often You Use Things
Sometimes it’s hard to really know how much we use certain objects. In order to keep the things you really need and get rid of the things you can live without, consider implementing a tracking method.
As an example, you could put all of your kitchen tools in a box and write down the date. When you take tools out to use them, put them back in their original home. At the end of the month, anything that is left in the box wasn’t useful enough to use in the last 30 days and you can justify giving these objects away.
3. Take Measurements Ahead of Time
When you move to a smaller home it doesn’t just mean you have less storage space. It also might mean that the rooms are smaller and your beloved pieces of furniture might just not fit. Once you have found your new nest, take measurements so that you can factor them into the process of downsizing your home.
Are you on the fence about whether you should expand or downsize? Check out this article to learn about five types of room additions to expand your home.
4. Be Considerate of Your New Lifestyle
Another important thing to consider is what your new lifestyle will consist of. Think about the main reasons you are downsizing and the opportunities that will be created by the process. If you are downsizing as a part of a retirement plan or major life change, you’ll want to think about new activities you’re excited to explore.
Are you hoping to travel more or are your main interests in saving money? Are you interested in downsizing because you are done dealing with so much home maintenance or is it because your children are leaving for college?
The more specific you can get in answering these questions and defining your goals, the better you can set yourself up for the future in what you keep and what you get rid of.
5. Be Organized About the Process
Without a clear plan in place before you start downsizing, you likely won’t make very much progress. It’s easy to wander through your home and be indecisive about all different types of belongings. It needs to be a dedicated task for which you have set up a system.
Commonly, people create boxes or bags for items that will be dealt with in different ways. Often, these categories are broken down into:
- Sell or donate
- Recycle or throw away
- Pass it down
- Memorialize (by taking a photo)
You can alter these categories to fit your specific needs. No matter how you group your objects, it’s important to make clear ground rules that decisions are final once items have been placed in a category.
6. Set Ground Rules About How You Will Deal With Sentimental Items
We all have items that have little to no practical purpose but are simply sentimental. Only you can decide what you want to do in this instance, but it’s important to have rules and stick to them. Maybe you choose to keep your favorite items from your collections, or maybe you give yourself a big plastic tote that serves as a tool for how much space you can afford to give up to sentimental items.
Some people choose to digitize sentimental items that are on paper. This can be a great way to keep memories without taking up physical space.
7. Change Your Purchasing Habits
How did you end up acquiring so much stuff in the first place? How is it that you find yourself in the position of decluttering your home in order to downsize?
Well, unless you inherited everything you own or have fashioned all of your furniture out of driftwood, chances are you bought that stuff. When you are moving to a smaller home and changing your relationship with material things, it’s important to make changes in your buying practices.
Downsizing Your Home: Is It Right For You?
When you’re moving to a smaller home, the way that your space is laid out becomes even more important. For this reason, some people decide to custom-build their next home so it perfectly serves all of their needs.
When you’re downsizing your home, it means you’re getting rid of everything you don’t need and keeping what you do. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, to build your own home to ensure that your new place supports your practical, minimalistic, and stress-free new life?
If you’re thinking about building a custom home, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today to learn more!