A guide to downsizing (or 'right-sizing')
Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020
The thought of downsizing can be a little emotional and overwhelming, especially if you have lived in a property for many years. Attempting to sort through and, in some cases, throw out, your belongings can seem like an endless task. However, with some planning and consideration about what you need, you will find that downsizing or ‘right-sizing’ can be a positive experience that sets you up for the future and fits your lifestyle. That’s why we have put together our top tips to help you downsize smoothly.
A well-planned move is usually an easy move, so get organised. Start by making a list of all the necessary tasks you need to undertake, and the timescale in which you need to complete it. Knowing what you have to do, and the time you have to do it will make the whole process a lot easier.
When thinking about what to get rid of, be practical. If you’re moving from a four-bedroom house to a one bedroom flat, you probably won’t need the extra beds, mattresses and bedding.
Sort through your loft, garage and kitchen as these are all rooms that tend to accumulate clutter you can live without. Do you have tools you’ve never touched? Or perhaps an unused exercise bike lurking in the corner of the spare room? If something is beyond repair or if you haven’t used it for years, get rid.
Don’t be afraid to be ruthless
Ditching clutter can be tough so it’s important to be strong and decisive when doing so. Approach it as though you’re having a spring clean, or a house detox. You’ll feel cleansed and more optimistic about the move afterwards.
However, don’t feel as though you have to part with beloved possessions. For those items you just can’t make up your mind about, offer them to a family member or put them into storage; you don’t want to part ways with a family heirloom if you’re going to regret it later. If you can’t live without it, keep it.
Establish how much room you have
Being able to see how much space you have will help you to figure out what furniture you should take with you. Measure your bigger items of furniture to work out what you’ve got space for in your new home and then draw up a realistic floorplan so that you can see how your existing furniture will fit into each room.
Whilst the square-footage of your new home may not be too dissimilar from your current property, the layout could be completely different, so make sure to keep that in mind when thinking about larger furnishings.
Cash in on your clutter
Turn your unwanted items into cash. You can do it really easily on online sites such as eBay, Shpock, Gumtree or even Facebook, and ask any potential buyers to come and collect items to stop you having to drop them off.
Carboot sales are a great way to get rid of items that aren't too valuable, but which are still taking up space. If you want to offload pricier items, research your local auction house and look for a NAVA Propertymark valuer or auctioneer in your area.
Think about additional costs
Whilst downsizing will free up some of your funds (including lower energy bills, reduced maintenance costs and possibly a smaller council tax bill) there are additional costs to moving which can add up. It is important to factor in any estate agency fees, and you will pay stamp duty on any purchase in excess of £125,000. Other expenses include solicitor and conveyancing fees, a survey home buyer's report and removals/packing which can all mount up.
'The ‘forever home’ is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as more and more homeowners choose to ‘right-size’ later in life, and move into smaller properties. There are plenty of benefits to doing so, such as freeing up a bit of extra cash, having a more manageable sized home, giving you better access to local amenities and ultimately improving your quality of life. It’s also great in terms of creating fluidity in the housing market, as it frees up three and four-bedroom properties for growing families in prime locations.
'However, moving to a new house at any life stage is no mean feat, and while the Government is working to improve the process, it’s lengthy and stressful, with lots of boxes to tick and processes to go through. If you’re moving to a smaller home, you also have the added task of needing to sort through all our belongings. Our top tips should help those looking to ‘right-size’ make the process as stress-free and simple as possible'.