12 November, 2021
Downsizing may be a fantastic option for reducing living costs, ridding yourself of a mortgage or ensuring your home is easy to manage and maintain. But, when you peer into the loft or look at all the furniture, keepsakes, and junk you’ve accumulated over the years, it can be a daunting prospect.
So where to start? The thought of the effort needed to sift through all those possessions may put you off. However, we can offer some step-by-step guidance to take the pain out the process.
The long-term benefits can be well worth it (our recent blog discusses when it might be a good idea to downsize).
1. Start decluttering at least 3 months before your house move
If you leave it too late, you run the risk that excess items will have to come with you. It helps to start planning your furniture and other large items first. If you know you’re moving from a three-bedroom home to a two-bedroom home, don’t move three beds, three dressers, and three bedside tables to your new place. It costs money to haul big furniture and if there’s nowhere to put it, you could end up needing a storage unit.
You may not be able to fit all your living room or dining room furniture. Look carefully at the floor plan of your new space, measure your existing pieces, and work out where they might fit. If your new home was marketed with an interactive 3D tour, you can have a walk through as often as you like to get a feel for the space or even use the measuring tool that is a feature of all our Matterport showcases.
2. Decide what to keep and what to pass on
As you go through your belongings, it is helpful to create four piles: keep, sell, donate, and dump. If you find boxes in the loft that have been untouched since your last move, resist the temptation to just bring them as is. Anything with sentimental value or that might be of genuine use can be picked out but if you don’t ditch the junk, you run the risk of jamming up every square inch of space in your new home.
Before your move-in date, make sure you leave enough time for a few trips to the dump and to have a chance at selling your unwanted goods. You will need to book a slot in advance at your local recycling centre as it is no longer an option to just turn up and queue.
Anything in good condition can be advertised for free via Facebook community groups, online marketplaces or Gumtree. Alternatively, you can use an auction site such as eBay. There will be a small fee involved but you may achieve a higher price for a desirable piece by starting a bidding war. Where Gumtree tends to be ideal for furniture or anything that can’t be posted (as you set the location to within a radius of where you live), eBay is suitable for selling absolutely anything!
3. Recycle where possible
Some things may not have much monetary value but still be of use to someone. For example, children’s toys and furniture might enjoy a second life once rehomed with a local young family.
High street charity shops will usually take a donation of clothes or books (and sometimes furniture) but it’s worth calling in advance to check what items they are accepting.
Furniture that is still viable but would not fetch much on a selling site (eg due to scuffs or scrapes) will usually be snapped up when offered for free on your local Facebook selling groups or Freecycle website.
Local nurseries, children’s homes, or a primary school PTA might appreciate a donation of toys that are not missing pieces or damaged.
Even items like old towels, bedsheets and duvets can be repurposed. Places such as dog shelters and sometimes local charities supporting families will happily make use of these.
4. Digitise and offload old tech
Old video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, photos, and crucial paper documents can be digitised and saved to the cloud or a hard drive to free up space.
If you want to simply offload old music collections, a cash-for-clutter site such as Music Magpie or Zapper might be an option. They'll typically pay for collections of CDs, DVDs, games, books, and more, so can be ideal if you're looking to make some cash from your belongings but don't have the time to list everything individually.
5. Avoid renting a storage unit
Weeks can quickly turn to years and no one intends to pay thousands to store things that may never see the light of day again. If you are not ruthless with decluttering this is something that can easily happen when you hang onto too many items ‘just in case’.
Once you’ve managed to streamline your possessions, downsizing can be a fantastic move, freeing up equity and allowing you the freedom to start another chapter.
Find out more about downsizing
If you would like a no-commitment valuation on your current home, please do not hesitate to contact us on Wokingham 0118 977 6776 or Crowthorne 01344 779 999.