If you find yourself yearning for a smaller home to call yours, you’re not alone.
According to a 2017 survey from real estate site Trulia, 60% of people living in homes of 2,000 square feet or more said they’d like to downsize.
Michelle Hale, organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby, says people downsize for a number of reasons: to reduce costs, improve their quality of life, stock away more spending money, or make a change after their kids have moved out.
Nonnahs Driskill, founding organizer of Get Organized Already! in Pasadena, CA, adds that people often downsize if they’re tired of the constant upkeep their house requires, if their health declines and they can no longer navigate a large house, or because they want to move to a more expensive area and can’t afford a large home.
Whatever the reason for your move, transitioning to a smaller home can be an excellent way to enhance your quality of life. Read on to discover the five big perks of downsizing.
1. There’s Less Work to Do.
The bigger your property, the more space and stuff you have to care for. That includes furniture, kitchen appliances, personal items, and household supplies, plus multiple rooms and maybe even a large backyard, patio area, basement, or pool to maintain.
“All of that sounds wonderful, but it adds up to a lot of work keeping things cleaned [and] storage organized,” says Driskill.
A smaller home, on the other hand, requires significantly less effort and time to maintain, Hale says, which means you’ll have more freedom and energy to focus on the activities you love.
2. You Can Save Money.
If you’re moving from the suburbs to a downtown city apartment, or relocating closer to the beach, downsizing may not be the most cost-effective option. In general, though, moving to a smaller home can help you reduce your fixed expenses and save money for travel or retirement, Hale says.
That’s because you’ll likely have a smaller mortgage payment, more affordable property insurance and property taxes, cheaper utility bills, and fewer maintenance and upkeep costs. And here’s the kicker: if you have a good amount of equity tied up in your home, you might even be able to make money selling it.
3. You’ll Finally Get Organized.
“Living in a smaller space forces you to declutter and streamline your life,” Hale says.
If you’re moving from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo, not only will you have to get rid of furniture, decor, and appliances, you’ll also have to pare down your personal belongings since you won’t have as much storage space.
And while the idea of purging the majority of your stuff might seem daunting, it’s a transformative and worthwhile pursuit. Not only does it force you to strip away the non-essential items from your life, it also teaches you to be more organized, resourceful, and intentional with the things you bring into your space.
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4. You Can Decorate With More Care.
In a smaller home, every design decision — however seemingly small — has a direct impact on the ambiance and utility of your space. And while that may seem like a lot of pressure at first, it’s actually a huge bonus. With fewer rooms to furnish and less square footage to fill, you can be more thoughtful and intentional about your space.
Instead of feeling obligated to deck out every empty corner or buy things you don’t love just to complete a room, you can devote more time and energy to decorating exactly the way you like, whether that means repainting the kitchen blue or carefully designing a gallery wall in the living area.
5. You May Feel Less Stressed.
Fewer expenses, less maintenance work, and a more organized home inevitably creates less stress for you and your family. That’s not to say that the actual downsizing process — searching for homes, making a decision, purging, packing, and transporting everything — isn’t stressful in and of itself. Like any move, downsizing is a major undertaking, but settling down in a new, smaller space can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Tips For Downsizing
- Use Your New Floor Plan as a Guide. Hale says it’s crucial to examine your new home’s floor plan before the move, including closet space and storage areas, so you can take an inventory of the items you’ll be bringing and plan accordingly. “This will help make the unpacking process quicker and easier,” she adds.
- Purge Before You Pack. If possible, start the decluttering process several weeks before you move. “Handling this first will save time, money, and stress in the long run, as you won’t be moving items that you no longer want or need,” Hale explains. Go through each area of your home and sort through your stuff — including big items like furniture, artwork, and appliances. Be ruthless and get rid of whatever you don’t love, use regularly, or have room for in your new home. “Most people who go through a major downsize are very surprised about how much they do not miss the belongings they relinquished,” says Driskill.
- Have a Plan For Sentimental Items. Even the most experienced declutterers can find it difficult to let go of certain items, which is why it’s important to have a plan in place. “If during the process you find items you are very hesitant to let go of for sentimental reasons,” Driskill says, “store those thing temporarily in a good, sturdy box or two.” She advises labeling the box with the date you packed it, then storing it out of sight. After a few months, Driskill explains, you’ll be able to make a much easier, quicker decision about what to do with your stuff.
- Understand Your Motivation For Downsizing. Are you downsizing for retirement? Or are you downsizing because you’re tired of having a large house? Whatever your reason, it is important to identify and understand your motivation for moving so that you can come up with a plan that fits your needs.