Green road sign reading "Downsizing Next Exit"

8 Tips For Downsizing Success

Today, people of all ages downsize for many reasons, including a desire to simplify life, live an eco-friendlier lifestyle, or live debt-free. While the benefits of downsizing are significant (less time and money spent cleaning and maintaining = more time and money for the activities and people that matter most to you), the process can be challenging.


That’s why I’m sharing 8 tips to make it easier!  Whether you’re intentionally downsizing, helping a relative downsize, or just packing for a move, these tips will make the process easier and help you only move the items that reflect who you are now and your new space.


1) Start Early 

Start Early - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success


Going through all your possessions and packing will take longer than you think. Allow plenty of time for the process to avoid getting burnt out and overwhelmed.

You also need to account for time to reminisce.  You’ll no doubt be going through many nostalgic items and it’s important to give yourself time to pause and reflect when necessary.

Planning for these inevitable moments from the start will prevent you from feeling rushed or overwhelmed and will help keep you on schedule.

Timelines will vary depending on the size of your current home, your future home, how much “stuff” you have, and how easy it is for you to let things go, but 3-6 months is generally a good range.

2) Break It Down Into Manageable TasksBreak it down - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success

Decluttering an entire house can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. The key is to realize it’s simply the sum of many small tasks. Approach downsizing by breaking it down into smaller manageable tasks.

For example, focus on one room at a time and then only one area of the room at a time: in the kitchen, break it down to one cupboard, drawer or shelf at a time and focus only on that one task.


Another option is to decide on a set amount of time for the space you’re working in.  For example, decided you’re going to declutter for 1 hour a day, or whatever amount of time feels good for you, set a timer or alarm, and begin.

Setting a time period with a firm end makes it easier to tackle the task: you know it’s going to end, and you can move on to things you enjoy more.

3) Start Small & Easy

Start small - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success



Start with small practical areas first such as a laundry room, mudroom, linen closet, guestroom and bathroom. These are typically smaller spaces without many sentimental items, which makes getting through them faster and easier.

Decluttering is something that gets faster and easier the more you do it. Tackling easier spaces first helps you quickly build decluttering momentum and confidence and puts you in a better position to deal with more challenging items in the future.

4) Leave Sentimental Items Until Last

Sentimental last - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success


Sentimental items take longer to go through, and the decisions are harder than other categories. Save these things for last when you’ve experienced some decluttering success and built momentum.

5) Consider Your New Space

Floor plan - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success

Make a floor plan and know the dimensions of each room in your new home to help decide what will fit and where it will go.

For example, if you’re moving from a 4-bedroom home to a 2-bedroom condo, you only need bedroom furniture and bedsheets for 2 rooms and beds.

Taking the time to really consider your new space and making the editing/decluttering decisions BEFORE you move saves the time, effort and money of packing everything up, moving it all, and unpacking it at the new home, just to let things go once you arrived.

6) Consider Your Current Lifestyle

Current lifestyle - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success


Our lifestyle, needs and preferences change over time. Only keep and move things that reflect who you are now and your current circumstances.


If you regularly hosted large family gatherings in your home but are downsizing and won’t be hosting large gatherings any longer, you probably don’t need all the serving ware and dishes you currently have.

If you are moving into a condo, or townhouse where the landscaping/property is looked after by the management, you don’t need anything yard work related and so on.

7) Pack & Move Some Things Yourself

Pack some things yourself - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success


Pack and move important documents, valuables and some first day necessities yourself to reduce moving stress and make the first 24 hours in your new home easier and more comfortable. Click here for a list of the items I recommend.

8) Get Help

Get help - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success

Like most things, downsizing is easier when you have help!

Professional Organizers and/or Senior Move Managers make the process faster and easier. We help you go through items, overcome decluttering obstacles and let go of things in an appropriate matter (donation, selling, organizing estate sales/auctions).

We can go even further and arrange the move and pack and unpack your belongings too!

Other Resources

For more resources to overcome decluttering obstacles and make the downsizing process easier, see below:


13 Questions To Let Clutter Go

How To Declutter When It Feels Overwhelming

Overcoming Decluttering Guilt

How To Deal with “Someday” Clutter

8 Tips To Declutter Sentimental Items

24 Questions To Ask Moving Companies


Conclusion - 8 Tips For Downsizing Success

Whatever your reason for downsizing, following these simple tips will make the process faster, easier and less overwhelming!


Have you considered downsizing?  If so, what’s your reason?  Let me know in the comments below. And if you liked this post, please share it!

Happy Organizing!