Moving is the perfect time to downsize, regardless of your reasons for doing so. Some people choose to downsize to save money on rent or their mortgage. Others have become overwhelmed by the clutter. Some people move from a suburban area with large homes to a city with apartments and are simply unable to find something the same size as their current home. Others may just want to save money on movers who charge by volume.

Regardless of your reasons for downsizing during your move, the process does not have to be stressful. By keeping a few pieces of advice in mind, downsizing can go smoothly, giving you a new, uncluttered home.

Get started downsizing ASAP. Image: Anchor Builders

Start as soon as possible

Perhaps the single most important piece of advice for downsizing during a move is to start early. As soon as you know you will be moving into a smaller space, get to work. Although going through an entire home or apartment can seem daunting, if you plan ahead, you can take care of a room each week or even one room a month. By tackling the space bit by bit, it will seem more manageable.

At the very least, start making your lists of essential items and things you know you can get rid of right away. If you plan to donate items or sell them online instead of at a large one-time yard sale, you can get rid of the items as you go along. As your home empties out, you can see your progress, encouraging you to continue.

Sort through your belongings first. Image: Element 5 Architecture

Sort, sort, sort

The best way to downsize during your move is to be honest with yourself about what you truly need. Before you begin going through the items in your house, sit down and make a list of what you will definitely need. These should be the items you use on a regular basis and the essentials, such as your bed and cookware.

At the same time, figure out which items you could feasibly get along without. For example, if you currently have a TV in every room but are moving somewhere with fewer rooms, get rid of at least one TV. This is the time to recognize which items you have in duplicate so you can get rid of the extras. Even small items, like an extra cheese knife you never use, should go. Remember that a dozen tiny items add up to take up a reasonable amount of room.

Finally, figure out which items you could replace with smaller versions. Some obvious examples include your couch or living room set, your TV and your kitchen table. If you currently have a large home, chances are high that these items are huge. You could save significant space by selling them and buying smaller versions for your new place.

Sell or donate items that aren’t coming with you. Image: Haven Design and Construction

Sell or donate items

Depending on your personal preference, you should sell or donate the items you decide you no longer need, provided they are in good condition. If you find yourself struggling emotionally to get rid of that unnecessary TV, the extra money you get from selling it might help convince you.

When it comes to selling and donating items, it is not all or nothing. You can sell the items that are more expensive and donate cheaper things, such as duplicate dishes and gently used clothing. You can also consider asking if any of your friends or family members want some of the items you do not need anymore. It will likely be easier to get rid of items with an emotional attachment if you know they are going to a good home.

Store items you know you’ll be using later. Image: RW Anderson Homes

Consider a storage unit

Storage units are not for everyone, but if you have some items that you simply cannot get rid of but will not have space for in your new place, go ahead and rent one. Just make sure that you do not use a storage unit as an excuse to keep items you should not. After all, that just moves the problem instead of resolving it. It also forces you to rent a larger unit, costing more every month. Instead, use your storage unit for items you cannot bear to part with or might legitimately need in the future.

At the same time, do not overlook the storage options within your new home that can let you make better use of the available space. Opt for under-bed storage containers and ottomans with interior storage, and install more shelves if you need them. Having this extra space for items should give you some wiggle room when choosing which items make the cut.

Do you have any other tips for how to downsize? Let us know in the comments!