Downsizing 101: Tips for Moving to a Smaller Space

Here are some tips for moving from a large home to a smaller one:

Here are numerous reasons why homeowners are seeking out a small spaces during their
hunt for a new home. Perhaps they are empty nesters looking to downsize, or maybe they’re a
young couple embracing an urban lifestyle.

Embrace the Concept of Minimalism

From tiny houses to shared community-based living spaces and #KonMari, the concept of minimalism is seemingly everywhere these days. Without a doubt, minimalism will be of the biggest players in the future of home design trends.

In response to rising rents and stagnant wages across the country, more and more people are choosing to cohabit in larger apartments and single-family homes. Others, especially in big cities like Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco, are renting tiny homes, which typically have less than
500 square feet of living space.

Contrary to popular belief, however, minimalism as a lifestyle comprises much more than just
the ideas of shared living and reduced possessions. Those living a minimalist lifestyle eliminate
anything that’s unnecessary — from clothing and clutter to unhealthy relationships. Living a
simple, uncluttered life is the cornerstone of minimalism.

Invest in a Fixer-Upper

In some cases, a smaller home or apartment serves as a temporary stepping stone towards
something bigger. Fixer-uppers of all sizes and price points can be found on today’s real estate
market, and many savvy young people see the value in investing in one.

Across Canada, the overall cost of homeownership has skyrocketed. The average homeowner
in Montreal, for example, spends 45.2 percent of their income on costs related to
homeownership, but the recommended homeownership-to-income ratio is 30 percent. Buying
and fixing up an older or damaged home can help reduce homeownership costs.

There are a variety of home improvement loans options available to the savvy homeowner.
Whether a fixer-upper is in need of an updated kitchen or appliances, a new roof, or something
bigger, home improvement loans are one of the best ways to finance a project.
Loan types include home equity loans, a home equity line of credit, and personal loans.
Homeowners should consult with an accountant or banking professional to find the right loan
option for their unique needs.

Downsizing Possessions and Removing Clutter

Start by organizing items by room or family member into “keep,” “discard,” and “store” piles. Avoid becoming too sentimental when downsizing, as that can make it difficult to part with possessions. Rather than throwing out those items, donate them to a charitable organization.

As far as clothing goes, most people have way more items than are completely necessary. Consider creating what’s known as a “capsule” wardrobe of quality items. Pick a color palette and stick to it, discarding any items that don’t fit the color scheme. A simplified wardrobe can also simplify one’s life, reducing the time it takes to decide what to wear.

Consider the Benefits of Storage

While necessary when moving into a smaller space, the downsizing process can be difficult for
many homeowners. And for the items they can’t bear to part with, long-term storage is an ideal
option. Seasonal items, such as holiday decorations and season-specific clothing, can be stored
away from the home as well.

Storage units are typically climate-controlled and inexpensive, and most come in a variety of
sizes, usually starting with 5 feet by 5 feet. Many storage companies offer flexible payment
options with no contracts and 24/7 access.

Whether an individual is looking for short-term storage or needs to store items for the
foreseeable future, proper packing is paramount. Invest in plastic bins or crates rather than
cardboard boxes, which are vulnerable to weather and pests. Label everything clearly for easy
retrieval in the future, and make sure not to overload boxes.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons for moving into a smaller space; thus, there is no one-size-fits all
method or game plan. The older couple selling their family home in favour of an apartment in a
retirement community has different needs than the recent college grad who prioritizes a downtown location over space, or an investment-savvy buyer looking to invest into a small fixer-upper.

Downsizing is an individualized process, but it’s necessary for most people who are moving into
a smaller space. By being selective about items that are staying, and by taking advantage of
neighborhood storage options, moving into a smaller space can be a smooth and simple
process.

Thinking of selling? Find out how much your property is currently worth or speak to a broker for a free consultation.

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