Whether you’re moving into a smaller space because the kids have grown, you want to leave the suburbs for a walkable community, or the tiny house movement appeals to you, you probably need to make adjustments to your possessions. This can involve reducing the number of items you own down to what is necessary and swapping out oversized furniture to slimmer, multipurpose pieces.

We’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the transition to a new downsized lifestyle.

Out with the Old

To start, go through your belongings – from your furnishings to your memorabilia – and determine what will move with you and what won’t. Family members should have a say in the decision-making process, but keep in mind your ultimate goal of downsizing.

You have several options for what to do with the items you’re not bringing with you:

  • Sell items that are in excellent condition. Hold a garage sale, use an app or website to find buyers, or go to a consignment or resale store for professional assistance (but keep in mind you will pay a commission to the store).
  • Donate anything in good condition to your favorite charity’s thrift store. Oftentimes, charities will pick up large items at your home. Be sure to get a receipt outlining the value of your donated items for tax return purposes.
  • Give sentimental or useful items to family or friends. If your kids have been storing their personal memorabilia at your home, encourage them to take possession now.
  • Shred financial papers that are more than seven years old.
  • Recycle old electronics and non-confidential papers.
  • Throw away anything that is in bad condition and can’t be recycled.
  • As a last resort, rent a storage unit to contain items that you must keep but won’t fit into your new, smaller home.

In with the New

Now that you have purged the pieces that your new residence can’t accommodate, you may need to purchase new furniture. Consider the following as you prepare to shop:

  • Look for items that serve double-duty, like a couch that can convert into a guest bed or an ottoman with built-in storage.  
  • Choose furniture that takes up less space – either physically or visually. Replace a bulky loveseat with a more petite but still comfortable chair. Go for a glass-top table instead of one made from solid wood to make the room look larger.
  • Think about how you’ll really live in your next home. If you’re moving to a more densely populated area with many restaurants nearby, maybe you’ll eat out more and don’t need a full-size dining table.
  • Buy pieces you love since you will see and use them every day.

Allow enough time to go through the process of sorting, selling, packing, and selecting new furnishings to avoid causing stress or friction for yourself and your family. Then, enjoy your smaller home and simpler lifestyle!