Downsizing from a home to an apartment can be intimidating at first

Moving into a smaller space means leaving memories behind, starting a new way of life and scaling down the number of your possessions. It also means enjoying the many benefits of living a simplified lifestyle, saving money and reducing your clutter.

We’ve compiled the best tips and tricks to make your move as easy as possible. Our guide even includes a downsizing checklist to help make your life even easier as you move.

1. Start as soon as possible

If you’ve ever waited until the last minute to start packing before a move, then you understand the stress that can sink in when the moving trucks arrive. The lack of time is amplified when you’re downsizing to a smaller home because you have to take decluttering into account.

Starting a few weeks or months in advance will allow you to take breaks and avoid feeling rushed throughout the process. It also gives you additional time to comb through each item with care so you can feel like you’ve made the correct decisions during the donation process.

2. Take inventory of your belongings

We all have that one unorganized junk drawer that’s filled up from years of shoveling random papers and knickknacks inside. After years of living in a home, it’s hard to have a mental note of everything you’ve accumulated during your time there.

This is why it’s essential to take inventory of your belongings before you start the decluttering process. Once you’ve cataloged everything of significance, you can begin to decide what will be a good fit for your next place.

3. Measure your furniture

One of the worst-case scenarios when moving homes is to put time and effort into moving furniture, only to find out it doesn’t fit in the new space. To avoid this issue, measure all of the furniture you’re planning to bring over during the move.

Next, measure the dimensions of each room in your new space. Once you have all the measurements you need, you can figure out what can come with you and what will need to be donated or given away.

4. Categorize your items

After you’ve taken inventory of your possessions and measured your furniture, it’s time to start making tough decisions on what will stay and what will go. A common system is to sort your house into three categories: keep, trash and storage.

As you might have guessed, everything in the keep pile can come with you when you move. The items in the trash pile can be thrown away or donated. Lastly, if you’re getting a storage unit, you can label memorabilia that won’t fit in your new home.

5. Focus on one room at a time

Thinking about tackling your entire home all at once can seem like an impossible task, but there are ways to make it feel less daunting. Focusing on one room at a time can help make the entire process more manageable.

Break down the process even more by creating smaller projects in each room. Small tasks in your bedroom could include organizing your dresser drawers, deciding which clothes to donate or decluttering your under-bed storage.

While you’re packing up your home, make sure to use moving labels. This will make it so you don’t have to search through the contents of each box on arrival to know where they’re meant to go.

Our free printable moving labels will make labeling everything a breeze by helping you stay organized.

6. Get rid of duplicate items

Do you ever wonder why you own five different corkscrews when you only need one? Downsizing is the perfect opportunity to get rid of those duplicate items.

Getting rid of duplicates helps free up space for items that you’re on the fence about keeping. It’s one of the easiest ways to cut back on clutter and free up more storage space.

7. Create a plan to get rid of unwanted furniture

Now that you’ve decided what you’ll be keeping, it’s time to decide what to do with the furniture you don’t want anymore. Well, you’re in luck! There are tons of nonprofit organizations that will pick up your furniture donation for free.

Simply look up which charities do free furniture donation pickup in your area, choose where you want to donate and schedule a time for pickup. You’ll be giving to a great cause while getting unwanted furniture off your hands. While you’re at it, look into which organizations accept household items and toys to get even more clutter out of the way.

8. Maximize your storage spaces

When you move into a smaller space, the amount of room you have for storage can take a big hit. Before you reach for your credit card to order a storage unit, it’s a good idea to consider alternatives in your own home for your excess items.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to maximize your storage space, many even in the smallest of apartments! Some suggestions are to use floating shelves for extra decor, pick out multifunctional furniture and add built-in closet organizers to utilize more space. One of the best ways to maximize your storage is to create additional room in your bedroom closets.

Hang our printable closet organizing tags on five separate bins. Once you go through and decide which clothes to keep, you can bring the other four bins directly to your car to take them directly to a donation site.

9. Go digital where you can

Over time papers and files can add up to a massive waste of space. To eliminate this problem, it’s best to scan past receipts and documents to store on your computer as digital files. Just make sure to shred any documents with sensitive information on them to keep your data safe.

If you’re the person with a million photo books around the house, another trick is to convert home movies and photographs into digital files. Making this change will help preserve your precious memories while freeing up extra storage space.

10. Give extra time to be sentimental

While you’re cleaning out your home, remind yourself that it’s okay to get lost in a memory or take time to reminisce. Rummaging through old toys, photographs and awards can bring up a lot of emotion.

Leave extra time to focus on these items and use the KonMari method by asking yourself if items bring you joy. If they do, you should keep them either in your new home or in storage. If not, it’s time to get rid of them.

Printable downsizing checklist

Downsizing might feel overwhelming after reading through the list of things you need to accomplish to have a successful move. Luckily, we’ve created a downsizing checklist to simplify the process.

Use our checklist to determine which items to keep, track important dates and stay organized throughout the process.

Benefits of downsizing

Downsizing is increasing in popularity and with good reason. Here are some of the many benefits of downsizing your home.

Save money: Having a bigger home usually correlates to more furniture, a higher electricity bill and a more expensive mortgage payment. Downsizing your home lets you stop wasting money and allows you to use that extra cash on your hobbies, vacations and activities you love.

Less environmental impact: Naturally, when you downsize, you usually start using less gas, electricity and water than you did in your larger home. When you reduce the size of your home, you can also reduce your environmental footprint.

Simplified lifestyle: Living in a larger house comes with additional responsibility and maintenance. By getting rid of the additional cost, maintenance burden and extra furniture, you can simplify your life and put time into the things that bring you joy.

Reduce clutter: Less space means less room for unnecessary items. Downsizing will force you to organize your life, simplify your life and reduce stress in the process.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “less is more,” which is often the case when it comes to your home. Keep reading for tips on how to declutter your new home.

Additional decluttering tips for your new home

Downsizing your home is the perfect chance to declutter and have a fresh start. These tips will make it easy for you to get started in the organization process.

Do routine organizing: Decide how often you want to organize and set a reminder on your calendar so you don’t forget. Doing regular cleanings will help your home stay organized and keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Make use of vertical storage: When you’re short on square footage, it’s essential to take advantage of all the space you can. Adding shelves, hangers to the backs of doors and tall storage in closets ensures you’ll use areas of the house that would otherwise be wasted.

Donate extra items: You can feel good donating your furniture for free when you know it’s going to a great cause. Simply schedule a pickup with a local nonprofit, pack up your stuff and they’ll come to take it off your hands.

Label your storage: When downsizing, there is a good chance you will have a lot of items to put in storage containers. To keep these organized, make sure to categorize items and label the boxes so you can easily find what you need.

Organize your clothing by type and color: Categorize by sleeve and pant length, and then organize those sections by color. This will help you avoid having duplicate kinds of clothes so you can free up closet space.

A decluttered home can help boost productivity, improve your mood and reduce overall stress.

Our downsizing checklist makes moving a breeze

Downsizing can seem like a daunting task, but focusing on all of the benefits will help you get through the process with a great attitude. Check out Apartment Guide’s finder tool if you’re looking to downsize to your next dream apartment.

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