When it comes to moving, bigger isn’t always better. Smaller spaces often have many benefits for homeowners and renters. Eco-friendly, wallet-friendly, and often psyche-friendly, downsizing is a strategy that’s gaining more popularity now than ever before.
Of course, downsizing your space requires you to also downsize everything in it. If you’re not sure where to start, our team here at Stor-It has you covered. In this guide, we’ll show you how to downsize your home, giving you expert tips for downsizing possessions and making the most out of your storage. Learn how to downsize when moving with our help, and book Idaho’s best self storage with our team today!
What Is Downsizing?
“Downsizing” is the process of reducing space or personal belongings. Sometimes it’s unavoidable; life changes may require us to let go of some of our possessions, including property. Other times, downsizing is entirely elective. Many individuals and families decide to downsize simply because of the benefits it provides. These include:
- Reduced costs. In most cases, small properties cost less than larger ones. In addition, the downsizing lifestyle goes hand in hand with purchasing less. This, naturally, saves money.
- Reduced impact. It’s no secret that consumption has a big impact on the environment. Large properties demand more energy, and material goods require tremendous resources to make. Those who have less of both leave a smaller environmental footprint.
- Reduced stress. Maintaining a big house, a few cars, and several rooms’ worth of belongings takes a toll. We’ve already covered the financial costs — but what about the time and personal effort expenditures? In many cases, excess property and possessions are more trouble than they’re worth. In these cases, downsizing equals de-stressing.
Downsizing Tip #1: Make a Plan
Every good downsizing endeavor starts with a plan. Before getting rid of anything, or buying anything new, assess your next steps. Here are a few vital moves to make when drafting your downsizing plan.
- Know your goals. Before all else, ask yourself: Why am I downsizing? If the answer is to eliminate stress, responsibility, and financial burdens, then downsize according to those goals. Don’t get rid of the things that you need, or anything that still makes you happy. If you’re downsizing out of pure necessity (you lost your job, you had a family emergency, or some other unforeseen circumstance has forced your hand), then do what’s necessary to keep your head above water. Sometimes it can be more trouble than it’s worth to move or get rid of the majority of your possessions — often, the best route is to spend a few days (or longer) trying to improve your circumstances in other ways.
- Visit your new space. One of the biggest parts of a downsizing plan is the next chapter. If you’re moving, where will you go? This question doesn’t have to be an abstract one. Go out and look at houses, apartments — even vans — to get a better idea of what your next chapter will really look like. This will help you imagine how you’ll spend your days, as well as what you’ll want to keep (and get rid of).
- Make a few lists. Speaking of getting rid of things, the final component to your downsizing plan should be a list. In fact, you should make several. First, make a list of all the things you want to get rid of. This list can be broken into several parts: stuff to throw away, stuff to recycle, stuff to donate, and stuff to sell. Next, make a list of the stuff you want to keep. This list will often have two components: stuff you want in your home and stuff you’ll probably end up storing. Other lists to make include necessary reservations to make for your move (rental vehicle, movers, self storage, etc.), parties to notify (friends, family, employers, utilities), and purchases to make (packing and moving supplies, at-home storage, etc.).
Downsizing Tip #2: Do Extra Good by Donating
We’ve already covered how downsizing can positively affect your wallet, your well-being, and the world around you. But the benefits don’t have to stop there. The stuff you plan on getting rid of can help other people long after it leaves your hands. That’s right; donating is yet another potential benefit of downsizing.
You can find wonderful avenues for donation just about anywhere. A quick Google search or drive around town will acquaint you with any nearby thrift stores or donation centers. You can also go online to get more information on any pick-up services in your area. As a last resort, you can list your stuff on your local “craigslist free” site.
Downsizing Tip #3: Sell and Buy With Success
Throughout the course of your downsizing journey, money is going to change hands several times. You’re likely not going to donate everything you own — and why would you? The revenue earned from selling some of your biggest possessions can help fund the next step in your downsized life. On the other side of the transaction, you’ll likely find yourself buying a few things: a new home, new vehicle, and new furnishings are typical purchases for downsizers. The big question is, how do you accomplish selling and buying successfully?
On the selling side, it’s important to find the right outlets. For many possessions, online sites like eBay, craigslist, letgo, or Facebook Marketplace are a great platform to reach buyers. Just be sure to do your research on the products you’re selling. You don’t want to price too high or too low.
For your property itself, we suggest working with an established real estate team in your region. This will give you exposure and ensure that you get the best asking price possible.
When it comes to buying new stuff on your downsizing journey, start big and then go small. Find your next property, and make sure it fits your needs. If you plan to travel, crunch the numbers and make the necessary purchases — whether they include a timeshare in Hawaii or a converted van for road trips around the mainland. Finally, get creative inside your new space to maximize storage there. You may find that investing in a bed with drawers, extra-tall bookshelves, or a pull-out kitchen table is just the thing you needed to make your smaller space work. Of course, there is one storage expenditure that tops them all…
Downsizing Tip #4: Invest in Self Storage
Sure, creative at-home storage is important for any downsizing enterprise. But sometimes, no amount of reorganization is going to make a space work with all the stuff its owner may want to keep. In these cases, self storage is the only solution. Self-storage units are off-site facilities designed to store belongings of all shapes and sizes. Reserved for a monthly or annual fee, these units can be as small as a closet or as large as a multi-car garage. Plus, today’s top self-storage providers also offer climate-controlled units for those with temperature- or humidity-sensitive items. In cases where you want to keep certain items but not live with them, self-storage units are an indispensable part of the downsizing process.
Downsizing Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Even with a perfect plan and great intentions, downsizing can still be hard to tackle alone. Whether you’re working out how to downsize your closet, need help with the heavy lifting, or just want some moral support, the best thing to do is ask for help. Friends and family are an excellent resource for downsizing home areas. They can help you make the hard decisions, or talk you out of the bad ones you might make on your own. Plus, they can make downsizing fun.
If friends and family aren’t available (or aren’t cutting it), you can always pay for your help. We’ve already covered self storage, but there are several additional services you can book to simplify downsizing. First up are professional movers. If you’re dreading dragging your furniture out of your old home and setting it up in your new one, movers are your way out. Not only will they handle the heavy lifting, they’ll also take care of the transportation to your new space. Movers aside, other great services to invest in during downsizing include home cleaners, junk removal teams, and interior consultants.
Downsize and Store Your Stuff With Our Team at Stor-It
Need more downsizing tips? Ready to reserve self storage to start your downsizing journey off right? Here at Stor-It, we have your solutions. Contact our team directly, and visit our Blog, Storage Tips, and Storage Unit Organization pages for extra info on downsizing and storage. You can also head over to our Locations page to learn more about our 16 Idaho self-storage facilities, check availability, and book online.
As Idaho’s oldest and largest self-storage providers, we have the infrastructure, amenities, and customer service you can count on to make your downsizing endeavors a success. Store with us today!