Moving to a new home is an exciting time, but it is also a monumental task that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This is especially true when downsizing. What others may see as clutter is your life lived as you remember it. We’ve put together a few simple strategies to help you get moving, and take some memories along with you.
Being ok with letting go
If you have been in your home awhile, you may be looking at a lifetime of furniture, keepsakes and souvenirs of past events. Making decisions on what to keep and what to part with can be sad, but it can also be freeing. Having less to weigh you down means you are surrounded more closely with the things that you really love. Plus, furniture and decor from one place often is not an exact match for another, especially when going into a smaller home or apartment. Selling a few items gives you the flexibility to find just the right pieces for your new nest. Ask trusted friends or family members for advice on pricing and the best way to sell items in your area. Take your new unfettered outlook along with you to your new place.
How to plan for what to keep
- Take a tape measure to your new place to determine the size of your rooms. A quick sketch that also includes doors and windows will help. A room may be 12′ x 14′ but if there is a door in one of the shorter walls, a large sofa may not fit there. Knowing the size of rooms will help you decide what you should keep and what has to go.
- Start the largest furniture which takes up the most space in a room. Plan what you might put in each room individually and picture it in the new space. As you choose what furniture you want to keep, remember is it better to underestimate what to take with you. If you adore something, but it is ratty around the edges, is it time to let it go?
Sort your belongings
- Ask yourself if you will use it or wear it. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it or touched it in the past year or two, chances are you never will. Put it in the donate/sell pile. If it is something you want to pass along to a friend or family member, put a piece of blue masking tape on the underside and mark the person’s name in sharpie on the tape. Anything damaged should be thrown or recycled.
- If you have a lot of good quality pieces or antiques you plan to sell, you could separate them to one area. Look up similar items online to help with pricing and make a list. Often dealers will contact people that list an estate sale in the newspaper or online. They are usually realistic about what things should sell for, and you could sell the bulk of valuable items in one or two early previews with far less hassle than exhausting garage sales.
- If you have more than one of something, such as pots or pans, keep the ones you use most often. Look at your linens and towels – how many towels or sheet sets do you really need? You’ll likely find multiples of items around the house that can be reduced, and you won’t miss a few less.
- Be ruthless and stick to a policy of keep, sell or donate. Set up a box for each and you will find your packing will be easier once it’s in a box. The items you aren’t keeping will be contained and easy to drop off at the thrift store, be ready for a garage sale or online sale.
- If your children are hoping to one day get grandma’s special fruit bowl, don’t wait to share it. They will treasure as a special gift now. You can also set aside special trinkets to give to family or friends. It doesn’t hurt to ask close family members if they want anything you are not taking with you. Out of a whole houseful of furnishings and antiques, the only thing my mother-in-law wanted was my apple peeler!
- Breaking down the packing task by room makes it less overwhelming. Plan each day to do some packing for a specific room and simply move from room to room, packing only what you truly love for your new home. What is left can be donated to a thrift store or sold on an online marketplace.
Save your memories
There are plenty of ways to condense those things that are too precious to get rid of, such as photo albums.
- Technology offers many ways to save those photographic memories – transfer them to your computer or put them on a flash drive for easy retrieval. Or consider a digital frame which will rotate your favorite pictures in a slideshow. You can also take pictures of items that are special to you, but that you can’t keep. A digital folder on your computer keeps them at your fingertips.
- If you have amassed a lifetime of photos, you might want to hire a service to digitize them for you. There are several companies that can take boxes of images, scan them one by one, and put them on a DVD, computer flash drive, and / or the cloud to access again and again.
- If you are crafty, give your memories new life by creating a scrapbook.
Moving can be an emotional journey, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Allow yourself time to reminisce on the fullness of your life. Smile at the memories and enjoy your new home filled with the things that truly make you happy.
P.S. Don’t forget the free moving van our Homes and Lakeshore team makes available to all of our clients. It will save you a lot of time an money on your move!