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Downsizing Tips for Relocation

All the experts agree that it’s best to declutter BEFORE you move so you’re not paying the expense to move items you will discard on the backend. And having to do the downsizing process at your new home (which might possibly be smaller) isn’t ideal. You are already exhausted from your move — and have an entire home to unpack and organize. Besides getting to know a new neighborhood or city/state, job, culture.

Also, the experts let you know in this article there is another benefit of spending as much time in advance of your move to downsize. If you touch every single item in your home that you’ve pulled out to make the decision about keeping or giving away, then it makes your current home look much more attractive and spacious to potential buyers. As a leading Professional Organizing company in Chicago, we get called on by many realtors who need our team to declutter a home well before it can be staged and photographs taken to put the home on the market.

If you give yourself plenty of time to downsize (also called “right sizing” when you’re realistic about the current stage of life you’re moving into), then you can give away items to family/friends that will be meaningful to you; have time to sell items; and not put on added stress with a fast deadline if you don’t have to!

Do your due diligence at your new space in terms of measurements and what will fit to then be ruthless about discarding furniture that will not work in the new space. It’s expensive to hold onto storage units to hold onto your possession when you very likely will end up discarding most of the items after you’ve shelled out lots of money. Make the hard decisions in advance of the move by mapping out where each and every furniture piece can be placed in your new home. And getting rid of the rest.

Don’t forget about the smaller items in drawers, cupboards, cabinets as all those items need to be reviewed and will fill up many boxes and then homes found in the new space. An expert tip is to bundle smaller like items into shoe or sweater boxes for easier packing and then organizing when you have the new spaces to work with.

This article suggests using red stickers for trash and green for what the movers should pack. In my opinion, the trash should be removed and donations taken away before your movers show up so you don’t have empty cornflake boxes packed (which has happened!) Label the boxes well so you know what rooms boxes belong in for easier unpacking. It’s no fun having to lug heavy boxes from the basement to the top floor because you didn’t take the time to label the boxes and monitor the movers to make sure they put them in the right room!

This article expert suggests downsizing by category. When you see, for example, the duplication of kitchen items/dishes, etc. and know that your new space isn’t as large so you have to let things go, then keep your favorites and be confident you have one of everything you need.

Don’t forget purging paperwork that you’re keeping “just in case” even though you no longer have the items the paperwork references. You really don’t want to move with heavy file boxes full of paper you haven’t touched in decades. Do keep important paperwork with you during the move versus packing it away. And set aside manuals, contracts, policies your lawyer or the new owners need to have.

Lastly, if you’re having trouble getting rid of items, remember the 20/20 rule. If it can be replaced for under $20 and would take 20 minutes or less to find it our source it to replace, consider donating or giving it away or throwing it away. The experts suggest this is a good method for smaller belongings you haven’t used in a long while but keep “just in case.” Say to yourself, what’s the worst thing that would happen if I did end up needing/wanting the item. In many cases, you won’t miss the item ever. And in some cases, you might and then will buy it again or try to borrow it.

Reprinted with permission from

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