Downsizing Blues – Letting go of stuff tips for moving into a smaller home


Whether you are downsizing because the kids moved out, you are going through a life transition, or you are tired of cleaning a giant house, you find you need to let go of some stuff. Chances are you have some very meaningful stuff that you have accumulated over many years; stuff with memories, stories, and sentiment. Just looking at how and where to begin can be paralyzing.

The past is all around you while the future is in front of you.

How do you even begin to know what stays and what goes? It is not an easy task. When I was in the middle of my divorce I knew I had to sell the house and downsize. I just didn’t know when exactly it would all happen. For two years I was clearing out by selling, donating and literally dumping old things into a dumpster. It helped, but the moment of truth arrived when I had an offer on my house and they wanted to close ASAP.

Not only did I have to clear the house out within 30 days, but I had to find a place to live. That ended up being the solution to knowing what was to come with me.

I needed to know my future to be able to choose what part of my past came with me.

With a floor plan of the new rental drawn up it became apparent that everything I had moved into the garage was not coming with me. It was also clear to see that as much as I wanted to bring everything else with me, much had to either be sold or donated. Due to a lack of time to try to sell everything, all of it was donated.

Here is what I looked at to get really clear on how I was going to know what to take with me and what I had to let go of:


  1. Where did I spend most of my time and what furniture related to that activity?
  2. What pieces of furniture had the most storage capabilities?
  3. What was most important to me as far as family photos, art, and miscellaneous items?
  4. What items could possibly go into a closet or a corner and still be useful?
  5. Was there anything from inside the house that could be useful outside on the patio?
    Renovate to Create Directional Metal Arrow
    Directional Metal Arrow Renovate to Create


If you are not able to have a floor plan laid out of your new house or apartment you can get an idea of what you can take

with you by measuring the space of the furniture that you most want to take with you. Create a list of the sizes that things will take up. Be sure to include chairs that are pulled out as if people are sitting in them.


Knowing these overall sizes ahead of time will give you an idea of what will fit and how. Or you can hire an architect, drafter, or a designer to draw up an accurate plan of your new home, gather the sizes of your furniture and come up with a new layout for you. Either way you need to know what you can bring prior to moving day and you will save money on moving day if the movers know exactly where everything is going to be located in the new home.


I had a big sectional couch in the living room that I never sat on and it was not going with me. The couch and chair in the family room I always used, so that was coming with me. I was able to see how it was going to fit in the new living room, but it would only fit with the ottoman and not the coffee table.


The coffee table was able to go outside with two outdoor chairs and once it was spray painted it matched well with the outdoor chairs. Also, an old wooden shelf that was inside the house was able to be placed outside on the patio and a mirror that was in the bathroom hung above it. And a night stand that didn’t fit in the bedroom was able to go into the closet and be used for shoes.


Once I was all settled into my new home with all the items that I truly wanted around me I forgot about all that I had let go of. The day that everything was left in the garage for the donation company to pick up was a day that I knew that all of the items I had collected, that had served me well for many years were now going to be in new homes with new uses helping others in their homes. And it was all okay.




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