Moving into a new home or condo? The process of moving is a lot of work – packing your belongings, keeping your boxes in order. But if you’re downsizing and moving into a smaller space, then moving is extra tricky. How can you bring that 14-seater table into a condo? This guide unpacks everything you need to know about how to downsize the right way and how storage can help.
Why downsize in the first place?
Lots of homeowners choose to downsize from houses to a smaller home or condo. You may find yourself in any of these situations in your life:
- Empty nest. Kids are grown and moved out, and the space is too big for two people to live in.
- Grandparent moving out. Some families must put a loved one in a health care facility due to age and health reasons.
- Expenses. Homeowners might be looking to spend less money on a property, therefore will consider downsizing for financial reasons.
- Maintenance. Living in a house means cutting the lawn and shoveling the snow. Downsizing into a condo means less labour-intensive work for the homeowner.
But before you downsize…
And before we tell you exactly how to downsize, you may want to answer these questions to prepare yourself for the process:
- Is size important? The whole point about downsizing is moving into a smaller abode to suit your changing lifestyle. If you’re concerned about living in a small place for whatever reason, then downsizing may not be a good fit for you.
- Will you miss being in a larger home? Aside from size, there are certain benefits to living in a large place as opposed to a smaller home or condo. Will you miss having that extra space for entertaining? Will you have trouble parting with that antique dining room table? Do some soul-searching to find out.
- How will I part with my furniture? Speaking of antique dining room tables, how will you part with it? It’s likely you won’t be able to take everything with you. After all, that’s the point of downsizing. Think of ways you’ll leave your furniture behind – giving it away to family members or selling it are both great options – find an option you’re comfortable with.
Still ready to downsize? Here’s how you begin:
Draw up a list of what you can and can’t live without
This will involve going through every square inch of your home to evaluate what you absolutely must take and what you can reasonably leave behind. For example, that bookshelf tucked away in the basement with books collecting dust. Will you miss those books if you part with them? If you can picture moving into your new space without them, then put them on the ‘toss’ list. The same goes for furniture. You may love your king-size bed, but if it’s not going to fit into your new place, then it’s time to say goodbye.
Once your list is organized, you’ll have a concrete idea of what you will be bringing with you when you move out. Don’t be sad about what you’re leaving behind. Moving is the sign of a fresh start and a new experience!
Have a few months to kill before you move? Put your belongings in storage. Check out our directory of storage companies that can safely store your belongings until you need them.
Visualize your new space with what’s on your list to take with you
Armed with your list of what you want to take with you (while tearfully saying goodbye to what won’t fit in your new home), it’s time to visualize each of these items in your new space. If you have the house or condo plans, this process is easy. If not, sketch out what you do remember of your new place. Make notes of what furniture and belongings you’d put where. If you find that your dining room will be too crowded with that table, or your family room will be too cluttered with a coffee table, bar, bookshelf and entertainment unit, then you’ll have to revisit your list and do some more edits.
The last thing you want to do is spend money packing and moving belonging in your new home and realizing it just won’t fit.
Trim what doesn’t have sentimental value
Coming up with a list of what you must take and can live without isn’t going to be easy, especially if you have a lot of items that hold sentimental value to you and your family. Having said that, look around places in your home where sentimental value doesn’t exist. If you’re moving into a condo, you won’t need to bring a snow blower or shovel with you. So focus your time on examining your garage or shed and get rid of the items you’ll no longer need. The same goes for the kitchen – do you really need all those mixing bowls, pots and pans and other equipment? If your empty nest trimmed down from 6 to 2 people, then ditch the excess and make room for the things you want (and need!) to bring with you.
Having trouble letting go? Put your belongings in storage with the help of a storage company. That way, you can keep what you’re afraid to leave behind, move into your new space, and evaluate then.
Get a move on it three months before
The belongings you won’t need can be auctioned off, donated or handed out to family members once you decide you don’t need them. As for the things you use on a regular basis that you’ll take with you, start packing those items about three months before the big move. Start packing things you don’t need on a daily basis, like old photo albums or filing cabinets of paperwork. If you have closets full of old clothes, pack them up.
Packing is a slow process, one that won’t happen overnight. Dedicate a couple of hours each day to moving and you’ll have your belongings organized just in time for the move.
While moving into your new place means you can’t bring everything with you, that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye forever. Hold onto what has sentimental value and put said pieces in self-storage. This way, your belongings aren’t being sold to strangers. Rather, they’re still in your possession. If one day you decide to pull them out of storage to gift to a family member, you’ll have that option because you didn’t toss the furniture or valuables in the first place.
If downsizing is in your future, consider these questions and decisions before you begin the process. Afterwards, consult our directory for storage specialists to protect your belongings before, during and after the big move.