Transitioning to a new town is difficult enough with the logistics of moving, the heavy lifting, the clean up, and the feeling of being out of place, but when you also have to significantly downsize your life to fit in your new home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
Nonetheless, if you’re smart about it and take things step by step, you’ll be settled into your new, smaller digs and feeling cozy in no time.
Room by room, take stock of what you’ve got. Really look into the back of all those closets to see what you have that will need to be stored at your new place. Holiday decorations, art and craft supplies, or your collection of snow globes. Make lists (you’ll be making a lot of lists, so get that legal-pad ready) of all large furniture you have and the dimensions of each piece.
2. Consider your new home
When you do a walkthrough at your new place, get the measurements of each room. Check on how many square feet of storage space you have (if you’re lucky enough to have storage space) and what the closet situation is. Compare the floor space in each room to the square footage your furniture will need; it will help you get a better feel for what everything will look like once inside, as opposed to just imagining it.
This is the mother of all moving tips: get rid of stuff! Is it fun? No. Will it make a gigantic difference on the day you’re trying to unpack everything into your smaller space? Absolutely. Follow the maxim of “toss, donate, keep” as you go through each item. Make donation and trash piles, and start sorting. Really take a hard look at what you need to keep, and try to offload as much as possible.
Once you know what you won’t be taking, consider holding a garage sale before you donate, to help make some extra cash to fund your move. If you don’t have the time or energy to do a full-blown shindig, post a few items for sale on Craigslist, or try a local Facebook buy, sell and trade group. Things like furniture, seasonal items, and clothing tend to sell quickly, making an easy buck or two.
5. Plan your space
Planning where things go ahead of time will save you much time and annoyance when the big day comes. Know which room each piece of furniture will go in, and label them so there is no confusion. Get creative with your storage options; if you have an extra shelf in the pantry, don’t hesitate to use it for something non-food related like those snow globes! As long as it’s organized, there is no hard-and-fast rule that says things have to go in a certain room.
6. Think up!
Your new place may be small, but it still has walls, so use them. Look into vertical storage solutions like pot and pan racks for the kitchen, shelving for the living areas, and shoe, scarf and hat racks for the back of doors. Get things up and off the floor so you have more living space.
7. Get your storage on, ahead of time
Before you move anything else in, put your storage solutions in place. Put up your shelves, hang your racks, and get any big, plastic containers (very helpful for stackable storage in closets) ready to be put to use.
8. Rent a storage unit
If you have big items you absolutely cannot bear to part with that just won’t fit in your new space, rent the minimum square footage storage unit and keep them safe there. Storage units are also a great place to keep seasonal items like holiday decorations or sports equipment when they’re not going to be in use.
9. Plan your move
If you’re moving into a significantly smaller space, chances are good that you’ll be heading into a building with either lots of stairs or an elevator. Check dimensions here ahead of time too (how handy is that list of furniture dimensions now?) to make sure everything will fit into stairwells, in elevators, and through doors.
Don’t let things sit around for longer than a couple weeks; get everything put away as quickly as possible to free that much needed floor space of boxes and packing materials.
Once you’ve settled into your new place, make it a priority to keep things clean, orderly and maybe even a little bit Zen-like. Small spaces can become cluttered more easily. Organization, along with a minimalist lifestyle, is key. Gone are the days you’ll be able indulge your desire to shop till you drop, regardless of whether you really need that fabulous pair of pumps or not. Take heart, though, and think of all the money you’ll save!