So, you’ve made the leap and have decided to downsize. While you might be caught up in the excitement of moving into your new home, there’s still the daunting task of packing and physically moving to consider.
Starts at 60 spoke to downsizing expert and owner of Downsizing with Ease, Lorraine Cox, who has been helping people move for over 20 years to find out her tips for navigating the move with ease.
People often think it is just too stressful to start the downsizing process. In reality, it becomes more stressful if you don’t start booking services until after you sell, according to Lorraine.
“It’s never too early to get a quote from your removalist. Always look for someone who will give you options and be flexible,” she says. “We have had clients get quotes up to three months before they move, some even before they put the house on the market.”
Start by making a list of all that has to be done before the day you move. You may want to add lists for during the move and after the move as well. Then write up the various tasks that will be needed for each of the actions.
They’ll then need to be organised into order of importance so you can map them into your organiser. Whether you prefer a calendar on your computer, a diary, a wall planner or a journal, plan your tasks and break them down into action items on a timeline.
“Be sure to do something every day so your move goes smoothly and to plan,” Lorraine says.
There is every chance your new home is going to be smaller, so why pay a removalist to take goods that are not really needed, or may not even fit?
“Be ruthless, and if you can’t be, break the job down into the items that are either going with you and those that aren’t, and then take time to weigh up the suitability of what’s left before moving day,” Lorraine advises.
Lorraine suggests putting a Post-It note or sticker on items that are up ready to go to a new owner, then ask family and friends if they want anything from those marked items.
You could even choose to sell any unwanted items through a garage sale, or on Gumtree or eBay.
“Sometimes, it is easier to see if a charity organisation is interested in your goods but, in my experience, charities have donation guidelines for what they will and won’t accept, so do your homework,” Lorraine says. “If you are organising the charity pick-up yourself, make sure this is done at least a week or two before your moving day to allow for delays.”
When it comes to getting your house ready to sell, Lorraine says it’s best to be guided by your agent.
“Most agents say the ‘minimal look’ is ideal,” she says. “Some will suggest you engage a stylist to clear out furniture and hire new pieces to present your house at its best during viewing time. Others will work with what you already have and move furniture around to make it more attractive to potential buyers.”
Packing up your possessions is a massive task and there are a few ways to complete this time-consuming aspect of your move:
It’s important not to leave this decision until the last minute, according to Lorraine. She suggests making a list of questions to ask your removalist company to ensure you are choosing the company that ticks all your boxes.
“Bear in mind that cheaper does not necessarily mean bad, nor does expensive mean great,” she says.
Downsizing means there are countless things to think about so the sooner you get started the better.
“And remember, downsizing your home will not downsize your memories,” Lorraine says. “Don’t be overcome by overwhelm, be overcome with excitement instead!”