Downsizing Your Home: 10 Best Practices to Keep in Mind


Home downsizing can be daunting and requires careful planning, dedication, and patience. It’s a big decision. Moving into a smaller house with less square footage can bring many new opportunities and advantages as you learn to declutter and pare down possessions to the essentials.

While downsizing can be overwhelming, some best practices to keep in mind can help make the process go more smoothly. Our downsizing tips will help you from adequately evaluating your needs to disposing of unwanted items. Here are ten best practices to keep in mind when downsizing your home to fit a smaller space.

Downsizing your home includes packing up your kitchen into boxes like this couple is doing.

1. Evaluate Your Needs

Evaluating your needs and lifestyle is essential when considering downsizing your home. When you are downsizing, the first step is to ask yourself the following questions to help determine what items you will need in your new house and which items can be removed:

  1. Do you have young children or pets that require special items?
  2. Do you have things that have significant sentimental value?
  3. Are there items you need to keep due to lifestyle choices, such as a large bookshelf, office supplies, or craft or coffee tables?

If you are moving to a retirement community, are there any items you can leave behind in your old home or a storage unit that will make your new place easier to manage? By evaluating your needs, you can reduce the stress of downsizing by keeping only the items you genuinely need.

2. Create a Plan

When downsizing your home, it is important to create a plan that outlines your goals, how you will go about the process and a timeline for completion. Begin by considering your goals for downsizing. Do you want less stuff, or are you downsizing for financial reasons, like to reduce your expenses? Are you trying to generate more free time by spending less time cleaning or reducing other time-consuming tasks? Are you looking to move to a smaller home for lower monthly mortgage payments?

Once you have identified your goals, creating a strategy that works best for you will be easier. There are many ways to downsize, and choosing a plan that best suits your circumstances is essential. For example, if you have an extensive collection of items that you want to sell, you may decide to host a garage sale. You can hire a professional appraiser if you have many valuable items. Take the time to identify your goals and create a plan to help you reach them.

3. Start with the Most Challenging Rooms

One of the best ways to tackle the task of downsizing your home or family home is to start with the most challenging rooms, like the living room, dining room, or home office. This can make the process more manageable and reduce the stress of tackling it all at once. No matter the size of your home, some of the most complex rooms to downsize are usually the bedrooms and the kitchen.

The bedrooms are full of items with sentimental value, and the kitchen is where many of those items are used. Start with these rooms, and you will likely feel more accomplished and motivated to continue. It may be helpful to take on one room at a time. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and enable you to focus on one room at a time

4. Tackle One Room at a Time

As mentioned above, one of the best ways to tackle the task of downsizing your home is to start with the most challenging rooms. However, you may also want to tackle one room at a time. This can be helpful if you feel overwhelmed by the task or have a large collection of items to sort through. Start by picking the room that you want to attack first. Pick the room you spend the least time in or the room with the most clutter. Once you have selected the room, clean it out. Don’t worry about sorting or deciding what to do with items; just clean out the room so you can start fresh.

5. Sort Through Items

After tackling a room and removing items, it is important to sort through what you have left. There are many different ways to sort through items, but the most important thing is to do it methodically so that you get everything. Some of the best ways to sort through belongings include sorting by room, sorting by value, sorting by sentimentality, and sorting by usage.

Sorting by room means removing items that belong in other rooms and placing them back in the appropriate room. Sorting by value refers to items with monetary value, such as jewelry and antiques. Sorting by sentimentality refers to items with significant meaning to you, such as photos and letters. Sorting by usage refers to daily items such as dishes and clothes.

6. Decide What to Keep and What to Let Go Of

After sorting your belongings, deciding what to keep and what you want to let go of is essential. Letting go of items can be one of the most challenging parts of downsizing your home and is often where many people get stuck in the downsizing process. Properly disposing of unwanted items can be a time-consuming process. Luckily, there are several ways to properly dispose of unwanted items, including donating to charity, Craigslist, or local yard sales; reselling items; or giving items to family members or friends.

There are many things to remember when deciding what to keep and what to let go of. Some sentimental items may not be valuable or beneficial to you. You may also want to keep things that have sentimental value but are not easily given away, such as family heirlooms. Additionally, items that are easy to give away are often bulky and take up a lot of space.

7. Create an Effective Storage System

After you have decluttered and let go of items, creating an effective storage system for items you want to keep is important. This can help you maintain a clean and organized new home and make it easier to keep track of items you want. The best storage system for you will depend on your lifestyle and needs, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, choose storage that works best for the new space you have available. Don’t try to cram tons of items into a small storage space where they can’t be easily accessed. Second, choose a system that is easy for you to use. If you are constantly forgetting where items are or having trouble locating them, your system is not effective.

8. Find Ways to Dispose of Unwanted Items Properly

After deciding what to keep and what to let go of, you must find ways to dispose of unwanted items properly. You can donate items that are in usable condition, but you will likely have to clean them before giving them away. You can also sell items that are still in good condition and have value.

Pick a method of proper disposal that best suits your lifestyle and the items you want to get rid of. You may want to sell things online or host a yard sale. Even though a garage sale may be a great way to make some extra cash, it may be easier for you to drop off items at a charity.

If you don’t want to deal with getting rid of unwanted items, remember that by selling to Cash For Houses, you can leave behind ALL unwanted items. We will take care of any cleanouts or junk removal. Contact us if you have any questions or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

9. Make Sure You Have the Right Moving Supplies

Having the right moving supplies is essential to make your move as safe and efficient as possible. Supplies you may need during a move include boxes, tape, markers, dollies, packing paper, bubble wrap, plastic bins, plastic containers, and garment bags. It is also helpful to have a detailed moving schedule with timelines. This will help you stay on track and get everything packed and out of your old home at the right time.

While downsizing your home, you may be forced to move items too heavy to lift alone. It might be a better idea to have a friend or family member around to help you lift and move heavy objects. It is also a good idea to ensure that any fragile items are well-packed and protected in boxes. Having the right moving supplies is crucial to make your move as safe and efficient as possible.

10. Consider Hiring a Professional Organizer or Downsizing Consultant

Hiring a professional organizer or downsizing consultant may be helpful if you still feel overwhelmed by the process of downsizing your home. A professional organizer or consultant can help you tackle all aspects of the downsizing process, from evaluating your needs to decluttering and cleaning out rooms.

Additionally, they can help you create an effective storage system and make better decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. A professional organizer or downsizing consultant can make the process of downsizing your home less stressful and easier to manage.


Downsizing has become a popular trend, especially among the baby boomers or empty nesters of homeowners. As they enter retirement, many choose to downsize their homes and move into something smaller and more manageable. This makes sense, as downsizing your home can provide various financial and practical benefits.

Retirees can save money on utility bills, property taxes, and maintenance costs with a smaller home. And with fewer rooms to take care of, keeping the house spotless is much easier. Plus, downsizing your home often means moving to a more central location, closer to amenities like shops, parks, and public transport. This can give retirees more freedom to do the things they love without worrying about the upkeep of a larger home.

Downsizing your home is an exciting opportunity to start a new chapter in life. So if you’re looking to simplify your lifestyle as you enter retirement or want to minimize downsizing could be the perfect solution.

Cash for Houses, Inc. BBB Business Review
Minnesota Seniors Online
Minnesotan home sold to Cash For Houses.