Jan 09, 2018

Thoughts on Downsizing

Last year if you had asked me if I wanted to move to a smaller space my answer would have been, “No”. A firm one. Our office was in our closet, how much smaller could we really go? With two boys and two dogs I never really pictured us in a smaller space, but here we are! Today I’m sharing some of my thoughts on downsizing before, during, and after our move to a smaller space.


1. Many people live in small spaces, why can’t I? Why can’t you?
Just as I mentioned above, the thought of moving to a smaller space was daunting to me, but I felt like it was do-able. Other people do it all the time and thrive, so why couldn’t we? Letting go of unnecessary clutter in our life started to apply to every decision we made.

2. Try to pre-measure and plan your layout ahead of time.
We made a to-scale model of the new place and tried to work out which furniture would fit beforehand. When I went to tour it I took a measuring tape and drew a rough floor plan.

3. Get rid of excess before you move.
This. Is. So. Important. We downsized and sold off a lot of our stuff. We cleaned out the house and garage quite a few times before the move and had quite a few yard sales, even a free sale. Our goal was to get rid of as much as we could so that we didn’t have to take it with us or deal with storing it for later.


4. Determine a function for each space.
I’ve mentioned this many times before, but determining the best way a space will serve you is one of the easiest ways to plan out your space. Think less of what rooms are supposed to be there, and more of the way each area of the house can serve you best.

5. Label your boxes and items correctly.
Don’t label items according to where they were in the old place, label them for where they will go in the new place.

6. Unpack and organize quickly.
The sooner you dive into unpacking and organizing your space, the sooner you will learn what works best for your smaller space and the more settled you’ll feel in it.


7. Ditch any pieces that might not fit.
The move was stressful for us, mostly because we still had a lot of pieces that we knew might not fit in our new space. I was holding onto larger items for sentimental value to see if they could work in the new space. Spoiler alert: They didn’t work out.

8. Be ruthless with your post-move clean-out.
I’ve found that in our new smaller space I’ve become more serious about which items to declutter. If we haven’t used it recently or I don’t see us using it anytime soon, it’s gone. When the holidays started I cleaned out over half of our decorations and came to appreciate a much more simple approach to holiday decor.

9. Reevaluate what you keep.
Are the items you kept ones that are serving you? Do they serve multiple uses? Do they fit in the space nicely and not make it feel cramped or small?

10. Stop it at the door. All of it.
Use your front door as a stopping point for any type of clutter or unnecessary items that try to enter your home. I even go through my mail the second that I pick it up and delivery boxes now go out almost immediately after we know we won’t need them for a return.

Further reading…

Want to see how we’ve settled in? You can read all about our “gray house” by clicking here.

Have you downsized? Moved to a smaller space? Do you have any thoughts to share on downsizing?

Expand Comments

Great site – I look forward to weekly emails.

We are downsizing soon and I’m SO EXCITED we have gone through and donated, sold and given away so many unused and useless items and it feels SO GOOD to get rid of all that unneeded baggage!

This is such a great post! I had always thought I wanted to live in a large home, but now that I do, I miss living in a smaller space! Funny how that happens. I was less stressed though and it created less clutter because I had less things. I have a completely difference perspective now!

Ooh! I don’t think I could downsize (willingly!) I am SUCH a hoarder. Where would all of my candles go?! (Seriously, I think I have a severe candle addiction.) Haha x

Love these tips. We aren’t moving but we are constantly downsizing because we are a family of four that lives in the city (Boston not NYC). Storage space is minimal and as you say, we don’t really need it all anyway. I feel so much better when I go through and clear out a space and it feels fresh and new again.

We are discussing the idea of moving into a smaller house next year. I have intentions of decluttering our ‘stuff’ before that move gets here. It felt w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l to get rid of all we did prior to this last move.

I don’t miss the space that we lost and especially don’t miss having more stuff to clean. I’m still working out some kinks in our smaller space but it is already so much easier to deal with.

We want to move to a smaller space so its good to hear from someone who has done it before and these tips are great!

I am SO bad with the whole mail thing. I feel like 90% of my “extra stuff” is mail I stash aside for no reason. I try to downsize twice a year, but then I always find that I accumulate more stuff lol! Holidays are another huge source of “stuff” for me.

Ahh, just go through it right away! I know someone who lets mail pile up too and it causes so much extra stress than to just sort and open it right away. I suppose I’m a little guilty with my e-mail inbox in that same way.

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