5 Tips For Downsizing The Family Home

Family home living room

You may consider downsizing for many reasons. You might want to unlock equity in your home and seize control of your finances, simplify your lifestyle, or to be closer to your loved ones. Whatever your reason for downsizing the family home, it’s easy to let emotion get in the way of what needs to be done.

Imagine this: you start to declutter your home. As you’re sorting through forgotten belongings, you continuously come across items with sentimental value.

Not wanting to part with old memories, you wonder what to do with them, and settle on keeping them.

You toss them in a box labeled “keep.”

At the end of the day, you find that you’ve hardly made any progress! The “keep” box is full and still filling, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of its contents.

It’s no wonder that so many of us struggle (both organizationally and emotionally) to prioritize what needs to be done when downsizing the family home. Parting with a space where you’ve created so many memories is hard. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your goals and stay focused when downsizing and decluttering.

Vantegic has seen countless homeowners grapple with the emotions of leaving one treasured space to start over in another. We know that sometimes it’s easier to prioritize your goals when you have a helping hand. With these 5 tips, you can keep your eyes on the prize and avoid letting emotion get the best of you as you begin downsizing the family home.

Tip 1: Determine Why You Want To Downsize

If you don’t know why you want to downsize in the first place, it’s much harder to move forward with the process. What can you get rid of? What can you keep? The only way to know is to assess your situation.

If you’re set on downsizing the family home with the express intention of saving money, you’ll need to prioritize differently than someone who downsizes for more emotional reasons.

In the first case, you may not have any issue throwing away or donating items that others might consider sentimental.

On the other hand, if you’re dead set on keeping certain sentimental items, you’ll need to compensate by getting rid of other things in order to maximize storage space when you move into your downsized home.

Understanding your motivation for downsizing makes it much easier to take the next step in the downsizing process.

Tip 2: Set Specific Goals

Once you understand why you want to downsize, you can start thinking of ways to reduce clutter so that your new space won’t feel cramped and claustrophobic after moving in.

Maybe your goal is to save money. If that’s the case, specific goals could include:

  • Finding a smaller home in an area with a lower cost of living.
  • Spend less money on gas by moving into a smaller space closer to work.
  • Reducing the number of energy-intensive appliances used in your home.

If your goal is to downsize to prioritize family, your goals could include reasons such as

  • Find a smaller home that requires less upkeep and allows more family time.
  • Increase family vacation budget by spending less money on utilities and home maintenance.
  • Reduce commute time by finding a smaller property near work and school.

When downsizing the family home, the specific goals you set will look slightly different depending on your motivation.

In every case, having a specific, desired outcome in mind will make it easier to figure out how to make it a reality.

Tip 3: Set Rules To Help You Achieve Your Goals (And Stick To Them!)

Even disciplined individuals can become stressed thinking about exactly how to achieve their goals. But if you apply tips one and two, you can significantly reduce the stress that comes with downsizing the family home. That’s part of why we apply them before discussing tip three!

Once you’ve determined your motivation and honed in on what you hope to achieve by downsizing, you can begin creating specific rules that help you declutter effectively and prepare to move.

Let’s look again at two situations.

First, your goal is to save money. You want to do so by reducing the amount you spend on commutes and utilities in your new home. How can you make this happen?

Specific rules to help you effectively declutter while working towards your downsizing goals might look like this:

  • Sell or donate all appliances used less than twice per month.
  • Sell or donate removable and decorative lighting fixtures.
  • Set a firm search radius in relation to the places you spend the most time as you look for a smaller property.

In the second situation, your goal is to bring the family closer together. Specific rules that help you work towards the goals outlined earlier may look similar to these:

  • Limit your search to more rural areas with a specific radius.
  • Limit the size of your next home to predetermined square footage to reduce utility costs and maintenance bills.
  • Search for smaller properties only in neighborhoods strategically located between the places your family spends the most time.

When you have specific rules designed to help you achieve your goals, it becomes easier to prioritize specific actions.

Tip 4: Create Specific Criteria For What Can Stay And What Must Go

When downsizing the family home, choosing what (not) to keep can be emotionally draining. You’ll come across boxes of baby clothes, drawings from the kids, and other keepsakes with priceless sentimental value.

Creating specific criteria will help you stay detached as you downsize. This ensures that you can prioritize storage for whatever you hold dear, and make sure that you’re not throwing away anything you can’t bear to lose.

While the criteria will change from situation to situation, in most cases, they’ll revolve around keeping what you find most important. Planning ahead will prevent you from making spur-of-the-moment decisions you may regret later.

Tip 5: Use External Resources To Find Creative Ways To Downsize

Are you indecisive about how to proceed with downsizing the family home? Do you feel like everything in your house has sentimental value?

You’re not alone. Luckily, there are resources to help you downsize creatively. Here are three of the best books on downsizing your family home. Use them for inspiration and motivation as you begin your downsizing journey, or whenever you feel stuck:

Downsizing The Family Home: What Stays, What To Let Go
This is arguably the best book on downsizing your home. It helps readers learn to reframe the emotionally draining parts of downsizing around the positive outcomes these processes will create.

Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life
Minimalism and downsizing often go hand-in-hand. In his book, Peter Walsh discusses how downsizing can lead to a more satisfying life.

The Sentimental Person’s Guide to Decluttering
Claire Middleton’s book describes in detail how to create the spacious, inviting living space you’ve always dreamed of. It’s full of great ideas that will inspire you to make changes in your own space.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
It it feels completely overwhelming to consider how to start organizing, Marie Kondo’s book lays out the KonMari Method with “detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t).”

Benefit From Your Good Decisions

A mental block shouldn’t hold you back from downsizing your home.

Whether your goal is to save money, care for a loved one, or bring your family closer together, downsizing can make life simpler and more satisfying.

Still having trouble figuring out where to begin? Or, are you ready to find a smaller home, but need help finding listings? Contact Vantegic today. We have all the information you need to find the perfect downsized home in your area today.

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