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If you’ve lived in the same house for years, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff — and there’s a good chance you won’t be able to take it all with you if you decide to downsize and move to a smaller space. While it may seem daunting, downsizing doesn’t have to be scary — even if that “storage room” in the basement comes back to haunt you. Consider these five tips while getting ready for your big move:

  1. Measure your must-have furniture and map out a floor plan to figure out which pieces will (or won’t) fit in your new space. When downsizing from a house to a condo or apartment, do yourself a favour and measure your furniture in advance. Then, map out your new floor plan to make sure you’re only taking pieces that will actually fit in your new space — or you could end up with some extra furniture to deal with on moving day.
  2. Think about what you’ll really need and want in your new space — and what you could live without. Walk through each room in your home and make a list of items that you feel you must bring with you when you move. Then ask yourself these questions:
    • Do I use it regularly? If you haven’t used that old VCR in the past few years and can’t see yourself using it again, consider donating it or dropping it off at an electronics recycling centre.
    • Do I have multiple items like this one? If your new space only has two rooms but you own four TVs, it might be time to sell or donate the extras.
    • Where will I keep this if I take it with me? Once an item is on the “to pack” list, look at your floor plan and decide where you’ll store it — you may find you don’t need that old bowling ball after all.
  3. Plan for reduced storage. Your new place may have less space for storing things like seasonal clothing and decorations, luggage, and anything else you may be used to keeping in your basement or closets. Additional storage space may be available in your building; if you’d like to rent a unit, consider registering ahead of time to avoid a last-minute scramble.
  4. Don’t forget the garage. If you’re moving into an apartment, condo, or townhouse with a property that will be maintained for you, you probably won’t need to take your lawn mower, snow blower, weed-whacker, or other power tools with you when you move. Take some time to empty out your garage before moving day.
  5. Donate, sell, or recycle/dispose?
    • Donate: Consider giving gently used items to friends or family members, or donating them to your local charity-run thrift store. Some charities will even do at-home pick-ups for gently used housewares and clothing.
    • Sell: If you have items you’d like to sell, consider taking them to a consignment store, listing them on your favourite buy/sell site, or having a garage sale.
    • Recycle or dispose: If you have any worn out items that you’d prefer to recycle or dispose of, remember to follow your municipality’s rules for disposal. You may need to take larger items to your local waste or recycling facility yourself or leave them on your curb on a designated day.

When you’re ready to make the big move, remember to talk to your licensed home insurance broker to get set up with a new condo insurance or tenant insurance policy to protect you and your stuff.


Share these tips on Facebook or Twitter to help your fellow downsizers declutter, too.