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Tips for Downsizing: How to Live Smaller

Need tips for downsizing? Here are our top five tips so you can start living smaller…

Are you thinking of moving into a smaller home? If so, you’re not alone. Toronto is full of empty nesters, budget-conscious professionals, and couples looking to combine two households into one. While there are many motivations for downsizing, there’s one thing that almost every home hunter who goes through the process discovers. Scaling down can get disorganized—quickly.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to simplify the process. To stay sane while transitioning to a smaller space, use our top five tips for downsizing.

1) Embrace the opportunity

Downsizers who have to move for financial reasons don’t always feel optimistic about the change. If you’re less than thrilled about your upcoming transition, try focusing on the positive.

Moving into a smaller space is an opportunity to cut down on clutter and create a more orderly living space. That’s great news, because an organized home can boost your productivity and even improve your mental and physical health.

2) Know your dimensions

Have you ever had to abandon a couch because it wouldn’t fit through the front door of your new home? Trust us: it’s not a fun moving day surprise. That’s why one of our top tips for downsizing is knowing the dimensions of your furniture—and the house or condo you’re moving it into.

Be sure to measure the height, width, and depth of each piece of furniture you’re planning to bring with you. When you measure your new space, record the dimensions of each room along with all doors, hallways, and staircases. Don’t forget to note the diagonal width of these passageways.

For comfort’s sake, you’ll also want to think about furniture spacing. We suggest factoring in more space than you think you’ll need—for example, you should leave about a foot and a half between a coffee table and a sofa.

3) Go on a decluttering spree

For most of us, letting go of stuff (even stuff we no longer use) is hard. To avoid last-minute panic, we suggest creating an attack plan for getting rid of clutter—and giving yourself plenty of time to carry it out.

Create a timeline for all decluttering activities. Include specific tasks, like clearing out the garage or dropping off boxes at your donation centre of choice. As you’re going room-by-room, create categories for your belongings according to what you plan to do with them. There are items you’ll want to sell or give to friends, some you’ll choose to donate, and others that won’t be worth salvaging.

4) Consider having a yard sale

Moving can be expensive, and holding a yard sale is a great way to help cover your costs. The best part? You’ll need to get rid of a lot of stuff as part of the downsizing process anyway. Selling possessions you no longer need will allow you to kill two birds with one stone.

Once you’ve decided which items to sell, there are a few basic rules you should follow to help ensure success. First off, choose the date wisely—bad weather has derailed many a yard sale. Advertising is key, so post bold signs in well-frequented spots around the neighbourhood. Group similar items together, and be sure that all prices are clearly labeled.

5) Look for unexpected storage spaces

You’d be surprised by how much unused space exists in most homes. That’s why one of our favourite downsizing tips is getting creative with storage. That could mean making the most of wall space by adding floating shelves. It could mean fitting more in your closets with vacuum bags or expandable shoe racks. It could also mean finding furniture that has built-in storage. The point is to think small. Familiarize yourself with space-saving design trends and think about how you might implement them in your new home.

Downsizing can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning ahead will reduce your stress, while an experienced real estate agent can help ensure that the more-compact home you buy meets your needs.

Need more tips for downsizing or planning to move into a smaller space? We have the local market experience to help you find your next dream home. Get in touch—we’d love to learn more about what you’re looking for and discuss next steps!