Alright ya’ll, my family and I sold our house this year and moved into a 2 bed/2 bath apartment. We are so excited for this change! This brings us from a 1600 square foot home to a 1050 square foot apartment. We were ready to downsize, but we had accumulated tons of stuff in our house. No joke, we sold thousands of dollars of stuff, threw stuff away, or donated items. I routinely decluttered, but we still had tons of “stuff”. You kind of don’t realize that you’re moving around the clutter every day until you start to go through it.
Downsizing can seem intimidating because you feel like your space is going to be cluttered or you won’t have enough space in general. Well it probably will be cluttered if you do not get rid of some of your belongings, if I’m being honest. So let me go over our process of how we minimized our belongings to prepare to downsize. I want to say we still have a lot of things, but way less than we had before. This process is not perfect, but has worked for us as we prepared to move.
Let’s begin with some pre-moving/decluttering tips!
- Just because it was expensive doesn’t mean you have to keep it.
Try selling these items on facebook marketplace, poshmark, mercari, etc. If they do not bring you joy or you have not used it in the last 6-12 months then get rid of it (this is my rule of thumb).
- Understand your storage situation at the new place
We toured our apartment twice before moving and I made sure to pay attention to how much closet space and any additional storage we had. Most likely if you are downsizing you are going to have a lot less storage, but you don’t want things sitting all over the floor. If you know you need a lot of closet space then make sure the new place has a lot of closet space.
- Try to use most of your groceries before moving
This is just one less thing you have to move. Buy enough to get you by before moving so you don’t have to move any extra groceries. This will definitely save you time on the packing and unpacking end.
During the decluttering process
- Go through all paperwork
First, go through all files and throw away any old paperwork that you do not need. Make sure you keep those old taxes! You will be so surprised at how much trash we hold onto. We had a full garbage full of old files we didn’t need anymore which was so crazy.
- Go through all clothes
Do it like this…. Put all your clothes (literally every item) on your bed and go through them. If they don’t fit or you haven’t worn it in the last year then it’s time to get rid of it. Do this step 2-3 times before you move to ensure you move only what you will actually wear. We actually got rid of more clothes and shoes after we moved as we were putting clothes away.
- Go through all kitchenware, decorations, and other belongings
Basically go through all your stuff, right? Well, do it in stages because this can be very overwhelming. I honestly think you should do it in these exact steps, this is what worked for us as we were moving. Again, about 2-3 weeks before you move, go through all of your belongings again to make sure you move what needs to be moved.
- Make piles of donations and to sell
Do not wait until the last minute to take your donations or sell things. As you go through your belongings again 2-3 weeks before you move you may decide to get rid of more stuff and then that pile grows. Take donations in phases so it doesn’t get overwhelming. If you’re not into donating or selling and choose to throw things away, more power to ya! That garbage bin will fill up fast too so throw things away in phases if you have to.
- Pack in small increments
As you are going through belongings prior to packing, it doesn’t hurt to just pack some things up along the way. This creates less to do right before you move. You will thank me for this later!
- Label totes and boxes to which room you want them in
Your bathroom box doesn’t belong in the kitchen so label your boxes well to make the unpacking process smoother. Unpacking is already not that fun so perfect labeling will cut that time short. Yay!
- Move furniture first and then boxes/totes
I recommend you move the bulky items like furniture first so you can set them up in your space with a clear path. If you don’t like where they are then you can move them around with nothing in the way. After you get the furniture set up then move all totes and boxes to their respective locations. Follow your labels!
- Give yourself and your spouse some grace
As stressors arise so can arguments. So give each other grace and be on the same team as you’re packing and moving. In the end, it’s just a small amount of time.
Happy packing and moving! I’m excited for you and your new adventure. I hope these simple tips help as you get ready to pack and move. Good luck!
Update: As we were unpacking and putting stuff away we realized we did not declutter enough. We had to declutter once again to be able to fit into our apartment comfortably. We threw away and donated tons more stuff as we were unpacking in our new home. This shows that we didn’t really realize how much stuff we have. We can now fit comfortably in our 1050 square foot apartment!