Downsizing your home doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect – in fact, it offers up lots of positive opportunities to ﬁnd the perfect home and save some money as you go.
After years of climbing the property ladder it may feel counter-intuitive, but life isn’t a straight path. As you grow, your priorities might change, giving you the chance to re-evaluate what home means to you and what you need from it.
When should you look at downsizing?
Between losing extra space and overcoming the emotional attachment to a place that will always hold fond memories and a piece of your heart, downsizing can be a difficult decision to make. But, if you’re considering whether it’s the right choice for you, here are a few key points that may help you take the leap.
Your children have moved out
For years you feel like there’s never enough space, then suddenly it can feel like there’s too much. Once your children have left the nest, having empty rooms might make your house feel bigger than it needs to be.
To save money
Downsizing to a smaller house often means you’ll be looking at a cheaper property. If you’ve already paid off your mortgage, and excluding the usual buying and moving fees, moving to a smaller place could give you a good chunk of money back. Smaller properties can also be cheaper to run and to insure.
Moving to a better location
Whether it’s a place you’ve always dreamt of living or moving closer to family and friends, settling in the right location for you is an important consideration to make. Have a think about your needs and desires, and narrow down the areas that ﬁt them before booking your ﬁrst viewings. Consider looking at one of our new builds for sale.
House or apartment?
When downsizing, you might be thinking about the number of bedrooms you need, the overall area, or the nearby amenities that are an absolute must – but have you thought about buying an apartment instead of a house? Besides being an affordable option in more populated areas (which is great for things like public transport and local amenities), they’re generally lower maintenance. And if you ﬁnd the upkeep of gardens a bit tricky, if you ﬁnd a place with a balcony, you’ve still got the option to create a little santuary for yourself and pot some plants for a splash of green.
Tips to declutter your home
If you’ve considered the pros and cons, your situation, found your new (downsized) dream home and set your plan in motion, you might be faced with a new challenge: sorting through your stuff. As so many of our belongings ﬁt into the cracks and crevices of our lives, you might be surprised by how much you own and a little overwhelmed by the idea of sorting through it all. Take a breath and grab a brew – that’s why we’ve put this list of handy tips together.
Tip #1: Don’t leave it to the last minute
Albeit exciting, moving to a new place is a big change. The last thing you want to do is add a little extra stress into the mix with a looming deadline. Get ahead of yourself and start making your way through your house with time to spare – that way, you won’t end up getting rid of something you’d rather have kept.
Tip #2: Set a timer
If you’re struggling to start the process for sorting or cleaning, setting a timer may help you to break things down in a more controlled manner. Start with 10-15 minutes and get through whatever you can in that time. Take a small break, set the timer again (this can be whatever works for you, but smaller bursts are better), and then dive back in.
Tip #3: Break it down
Facing a lifetime of items and a whole house of cleaning can be overwhelming, so don’t look at it as one problem to tackle. Break everything down room-by-room so that you only have to focus on one smaller section. Start with the smallest room to give yourself a quick win and go from there as you make your way through the house.
Tip #4: Donate clothing
While you’re at it, this is a great time to go through your wardrobe, stored clothes and linen cupboard to pack up anything you don’t wear anymore. If it’s still in good condition, collect everything together and drop them off at your local clothing donation. If your clothes are a little more moth-eaten and can’t be used second-hand, recycle them appropriately.
Tip #5: Categorise your method
You might ﬁnd it easier to go through each room by sorting items in four categories: throw away, recycle, give away, and sell.
Throw away – Compile everything to be bagged up and taken to your local refuse centre. Or, if you’re looking at larger items like furniture, you might think about hiring a skip.
Recycle – Check to see what your local recycle centre will take and keep that in mind while decluttering. The best thing to do is ensure any items that don’t make the cut are disposed of safely and responsibly, and donate things to the appropriate charities.
Give away – Ask around friends and family members to see if they can make use of anything you no longer have need for. You might be surprised how often the answer is ‘yes’.
Sell – Don’t be too hasty in chucking things in the other piles. You might be able to turn your cast-offs into cash by putting them up for sale on the right websites.
Tip #6: Keep focused on the task
Sorting through years of items will lead you down memory lane, and while it’s okay to stop for a bit here and there, you need to avoid staying for too long. Try to focus on the task at hand – you can always put things to the side to revisit a little later in the day.
Tip #7: Be practical
There’ll be plenty of things that hold sentimental value, but if you’re trying to cut down on clutter before a big move, you’ve got to have a more practical mindset. How has the item served you since you bought it? Will it serve you in the new house? Will you miss not having it around? If your answers are negative, you know what to do. It can feel harsh, but it’s also necessary to keep a clear head.
Tip #8: Consider the size of your new home
Before you get stuck in, it’s a great idea to think about your possessions in the new house. How much space are you actually going to be working with? Will you be able to ﬁt all of your bigger items when moving? Where can you imagine everything ﬁtting?
However you decide to declutter your home and whatever method works best for you, you’ll be glad to have put the effort in when it comes to moving day. It’s a chance to free up your space, take a little extra stress off the move, and possibly even earn a little bit of cash for your troubles.