1. Make a plan
Take a trip to your new place and measure the size of your rooms and storage areas. This will be your guide for how much you can take with you. It is better to underestimate than overestimate.
As you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, do one room at a time. Moving is a big job, and you don’t need to tackle it all at once. Plan to do a little bit each day, and leave extra time so you aren’t rushed.
Decide on your furniture first. Going from big to small will give you a better idea how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.
2. Sort your belongings
Will you use it? It’s easy to convince yourself you might still wear that 10-year-old shirt with the tags still on someday. But if you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s likely you never will.
Also, get rid of multiples. Do you have multiple coffee pots, or several sets of china? If you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both.
As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy —no “maybes” allowed. Make a “yes” pile and a “no” pile, and force yourself to choose. If you aren’t convinced the item deserves a yes, then it’s a no. “Maybe” piles just mean more work for you later.
Decide how to divvy up your “no” pile. You may not want or need these items anymore, but they’re probably useful to someone else. Special items may handed down to friends or family members. Furniture, housewares, clothing and other items in good condition could be sold at a garage sale or on sites like Craigslist. Or, you can choose to donate reusable items to organizations like Goodwill, who sometimes offer neighborhood or even residential pickups, making your task that much simpler. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should make its way to the recycling bin or a trip to the dump.
3. Preserve memories
Digitize photos to save space and easily share them with family. Photo albums take up a lot of room, and how often do you actually go through them? Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all of your photos in a rotating slideshow or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer.
Take photos of items that bring up good memories, but you no longer have room for. You can look back on the memories without actually keeping the items.
To make sure those treasured items are in good hands, pass them on to your children, grandchildren or close friends. They will love the gift, and you get to enjoy seeing the items being used.
Another strategy is to give keepsakes a new life. If you love to craft, items like old movie stubs, letters and photos are perfect for scrapbooking, letting you create a record of your experiences. Or make three-dimensional pieces of art using shadow boxes. Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy.
Downsizing is an emotional process. You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, and then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable — only you can decide what you can’t do without.
Just imagine: Once you’ve finished your move, you’ll be able to enjoy your new place surrounded by the feeling of home.
Making the move after you pack
Now that you’ve downsized your belongings, how are you going to make your move? You’ll want to have an answer in mind from the beginning of your downsizing process.
Will you be rounding up family members to help pack and drive a moving truck? Or will you pay for a full-service moving company to pack, ship, and unpack your things? Perhaps something in-between, with a mobile storage option in which you pack a container, and then the storage company does the shipping?
It’s important to keep these options in mind as you downsize because it might change your opinion on whether to keep or sell certain items. If you’re moving everything yourself, a 300-pound china cabinet might be better suited for the consignment shop to avoid the hassle and risk of injury. If you’re paying for full-service, you might be more inclined to keep it, but know that such heavy items add onto the price tag.
You’ll also want to be on the lookout for potential scammers. It’s fairly rare, but there are some companies out there that will promise one attractive price for a full-service move, and then once your stuff is all packed up in the truck, they’ll demand more money while holding your items hostage. Do your research and use companies that come with recommendations from family and friends and have spectacular reviews online.
Let UMovers Lead the way
If you’re undecided about if professional help is right for you, let UMovers help you out. You can chat with one of our friendly call reps at any time! After all, most who are downsizing just need some extra labor-only help to handle those larger items. We’ll work with you, and find a solution that feels right for you.