When you make the decision to trade in your home for something a little cosier because you no longer have the need for such an open space (perhaps due to any children having flown the nest), choosing what stays and what goes can be difficult. You need to be ruthless but, at the same time, inanimate objects often become connected with precious memories.
You know when it is time to bid farewell to a home, even one that has served you and the family well for many years, in favour of a new abode that better matches what you require. While many people dream of owning a large property with more bedrooms than they know what to do with, the empty space can leave you feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed.
It's certainly a large part of the reason as to why many of the residents at our caravan parks decided to make the move. Once the children grew up and moved out to begin their own lives, it leaves behind an empty nest that, in all honesty, demands more money than it is worth to run. Downsizing reduces energy costs and, when you have sold your old property, often means that you are left with a nice sum of money that you can enjoy in your senior years even after purchasing your new park home.
When you have found your new home and are preparing to make the long-awaited move to your quainter surroundings, you have to consider what you need to take with you and, crucially, what you have to leave behind. The chances are that, when you are downsizing, you are going to have to make some sacrifices when it comes to your belongings. Not everything will have a place in your new home.
Before you begin to list what you would like to take, you need to list everything that needs to come with you. Your essentials such as clothing, kitchen utensils, tools and other utilities absolutely must make the trip. These are non-negotiable and should be listed as such before you begin to tick off luxuries that you plan to bring along.
Much of what you bring with you may depend on how much storage space you have in the back of the van and whether it is feasible for you to make multiple trips. If space is of a premium, you don't want to have to change your mind on any luxuries that you may have already listed as keeping to make room for any essentials you had not already accounted for.
It isn't any secret that the average household can build up clutter quickly. While a lot of what we maintain can be chucked out, the reality is that it isn't the small things we should be focusing on when downsizing. Big and bulky possessions such as furniture will free up the most amount of space, so before spending time sorting through the small things, determine what big possessions you want to do away with.
Small pieces can be worked through after you have made the move as you are unpacking your boxes. While many do take the opportunity to use packing for a move as ample opportunity to clear the clutter, when you are downsizing and already working your way through bigger pieces, you already have plenty of decisions to make. Cut yourself a break and tackle the fundamentals head on first.
As you view a new property, you automatically begin to visualise yourself living there and what you could do with it such as where could you place your furniture, the décor that you plan to use and other details. When you are dead set on making the move, visualise where you would want to put everything that you plan to bring with you, as this will help you to determine what you do and do not have room for.
For example, look at the bedroom situation and consider exactly where you would want to place the bed, your drawers and dressing table. Visualise how this would look (it certainly wouldn't hurt to take measurements at this point) and what space, if any, that would leave you. Do this in every room of the property and this will give you a good idea of what you want to take with you.
Be as ruthless as you possibly can be when sorting through your belongings. If you don't need it and haven't used it for six months to a year, then get rid. Depending on how much of a downsize you are undertaking, you might find that you have to be more ruthless and unforgiving than you originally planned.
If you find this difficult to do, then a good idea is to take several pictures around the home and look at them, taking into consideration what your eye is most drawn to. The idea around this being that any decorative pieces that you don't immediately grab your attention or do not have any sentimental value can be thrown away. You have to stick to your guns and try not to allow yourself to fall into the trap of making too many exceptions as this will completely miss the point and not serve you well as you begin downsizing your home.
If there is anything that you truly do not want to see banished to the scrap heap that you cannot make a good argument for keeping, the next best thing is to offer it as a gift to any friends or family members that would appreciate it. This way, it finds a new loving home and, possibly, is appreciated a little bit more by owners who might have a regular use for it. For example, if you have children that have recently moved into their own home and are looking for cheap essentials for their own home, they might just appreciate taking in any furniture that you no longer have any use for.
Should you not be able to find any willing takers, consider putting it up for sale. After all, if your unwanted goods still have some life left in them you might as well get a little bit of pocket money for it in return.
In today's digital world, no one is storing albums and DVDs with our collections saved onto a hard drive. Apps such as Spotify, Netflix and other on-demand services mean that we do not have to worry about dedicating an entire bookcase for our favourites artists, films or boxsets and can actually be used for books (although these can also be enjoyed in digital format). If you are pressed for space, it might be time to transfer over to a digital library and do away with hard copies that account for numerous boxes in your move.
When it comes to learning how to downsize, it is all about being frugal with your space and working out what is essential and what is expendable. Once you have completed your move and you are all set up, particularly if you are moving into a park home at any of our Allens Caravans residential parks, you will enjoy the added freedom that comes with your new surroundings.