The Low-Down on Downsizing: Tips for Moving from House to Condo

Every year, thousands of people make the move from a house to a condo. Some are new college grads buying their first place. Others are empty nesters looking for a place to retire. And while these people may come from different walks of life, they all have one thing in common: they need to downsize.

Moving into a smaller space means combing through everything you’ve accumulated over the years – and that can be a daunting task if you’re not prepared. However, we have a few simple tips that will make downsizing your life much easier. As you prepare to make your new condominium your next home, make sure to keep the following advice in mind.

Start Early!

Anyone who’s ever moved before knows just how stressful an endeavor it can be. And that is after the already trying process of buying a condo.

There’s a lot to do before you can truly settle into your new place – and if you ask us, downsizing should not be on that to-do list. That’s why you should begin examining your belongings before you begin moving in earnest.

Take notice of the things in your house that don’t get much use (clothes you don’t wear, unused exercise equipment) and figure out where it will go once the moving process gets underway. Use your new condo’s floor plan to figure out which items will fit in the new place and which items have got to go.    

How early should you start downsizing? Well, the sooner you start the better, but we suggest that most people begin the process about three months before move-in day. Even better, why not begin while you are still researching condos for sale or condos for rent. If you start the downsizing process early on, you’ll make your move much easier; the less stuff you keep, the less there will be to pack!

Prioritize Your Possessions

Downsizing can be a tricky thing for sentimental folks. After all, the things in your house aren’t just things: they’re memories from your life. It can be hard to part with items that remind you of people or places you love, but if you want to feel comfy in your condo, you’ll have to try.

If you think that downsizing will be difficult, start by putting the essentials on paper. Sit down and write out all the essential things you must bring with you to the condo (and while you’re at it, make sure you know where they are). This will help you determine which items are most important to you.

And what about the items that didn’t make your list? Those are the pieces to examine and put in one of three piles – keep, sell, or donate. Consider how often each item is used – and how often you’ll use it in the new place. Then pick a pile and move on to the next thing!

Maybe get some inspiration from the wildly popular trend of home decluttering and tidying. The Netflix series hosted by Japanese organizing consultant and tidying expert Marie Kondo, has become a sensation. Devotees are convinced that clearing the clutter and tidy spaces offer a sure path to happiness and joy.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

While you’re downsizing, do your best not to throw away the things you aren’t keeping. Not only is this the environmentally-friendly option, it just might help you earn a little extra cash! Instead of trashing your treasures, you can let them live on by selling them (at a yard sale or online) or donating them.

Thanks to the internet, selling your belongings is incredibly easy. There are tons of apps and websites out there (eBay, Craigslist, LetGo, etc.) that enable you to sell just about anything, from your oversized furniture to your kids’ old Little Golden Books.

Just create a post, and watch your extra stuff fly out the door! Use the earned cash for those inevitable unforeseen moving expenses, or some dinners out while you are still unpacking boxes.

Of course, not all items will find a buyer by move-in day. If you don’t want to hang on to any extras, consider donating them to your local secondhand store or your favorite charity. This will help you keep your new condo clutter-free, and it will give your belongings a chance to make someone else’s day!

Interested in recycling? Many common household items are categorized as recyclable. Old TVs can be collected by many major electronics retailers (think Best Buy). Most recycling services will collect those stacks of old CDs and DVDs. Let’s not forget those worn-out plastic plates and cups!

Consider Your New Conditions

So far, our downsizing discussion has been about getting rid of the nonessentials. However, there’s another way to downsize that can be very effective: swapping your stuff for more efficient products. To do this, simply take some time to examine your new condo living lifestyle – and then find the products that will suit all your needs.

For example, let’s say you’re moving to the third floor of a condo development. You can invest in stair-friendly products, like rolling shopping bags or a home espresso machine (so you can grab your morning coffee without trekking a few flights). These items can replace things you already have (like your massive coffee tumbler collection).

If you take a little time to think about condo life, you may realize that there are many things you’ll need that you didn’t before. Consider how these items will change your day-to-day routine; you just might find that your new things can help you downsize even further, giving you even more space in your condo.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to minimize the clutter for your next move. Whether you are packing up your childhood bedroom or a house full of memories, downsizing your belongings is an important part of moving into your condo. And while it can be a long, sometime emotional process, downsizing leaves you with plenty of room to make new memories in your new home.

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About Author: Condo.com Team