Written by Lisa Proffitt | 15th June 2023


Top Tips For Downsizing

Leaving a larger home? While that large house and garden was ideally suited for family life when children were living at home, many people find themselves with too much space on their hands when grown up children move out. The ongoing demand for large country houses has persuaded many homeowners to bring forward their downsizing plans and sell up this summer.

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Family homes are often filled with a lifetime’s worth of memories and possessions. Downsizing can be mentally and physically hard but if you bear in mind the following dos and don’ts, you can make the process as pain-free as possible:




… Declutter

Don’t pay a removal firm to shift stuff that will ultimately end up in the charity shop or at the local tip. Sort by category and start small with clothes, books and kitchen ware, and finish with sentimental items, which are the hardest to deal with. Donate unwanted items to charity or sell online.


... Contact Organisations

Organisations like The British Heart Foundation, The Salvation Army or Katharine House Hospice will usually collect furniture for free. If you feel guilty parting with a piece inherited from a much-loved relative, take a picture of it before it goes as a reminder.


… Gift Jewellery & Heirlooms

Gifting these items now, rather than later, means family and friends can enjoy the item in your lifetime when you can explain the history of the piece too. Alternatively, have antiques and jewellery valued and auctioned to boost your retirement coffers. For costume jewellery, antiques and knick-knacks consider contacting Vintage Cash Cow who offer a free and easy service.


… Consider The Help Of Professionals

There are 379 professional organisers registered in Britain who will make home visits to help with the decluttering process.


… Talk To Friends Who’ve Done It

One of the hardest things about downsizing is not knowing what to expect. It might feel daunting at first, but when you hear others tell you how much happier they are in a smaller space, it can give you renewed confidence in your decision.


… Think About The Future

If you plan to spend the next phase of your life travelling and enjoying hobbies away from home, do you really need so many material possessions? Thinking about it in this way will make it easier to know what to let go of and what to keep.


… Consult Family Before Ditching Anything

Before you accidentally give away something with sentimental value, talk with children and family members to determine what items they would like to keep and what they have no interest in. Don't keep things assuming they'll mean something to others. Children may want very few items, regardless of how special those items are to you.

You may be happy to keep an item for a someone until they can pick it up, but give them a deadline.


… Put The Onus On Your Children

No matter how old they are, ask off-spring to sort through their own belongings. If they genuinely lack storage in their own home, allocate them one box that you’ll keep for them.


... Give Yourself A Deadline

While it may seem sensible to allocate a large amount of time when you're downsizing, too much time may make you backtrack on some of those decluttering decisions. Sticking to a limited timeframe of a few weeks or less will make clearing out your house a more pressing matter and you won't have time to reconsider the items in your donation pile.


… Measure Everything

That large dining table or oversized dresser may not fit into your next, smaller kitchen. So before you decide you can't part with a piece, make sure you've carefully measured both the item and the space you're hoping to move it into.





… Get Carried Away

The only thing worse than paying to remove and store your possessions is finding that you’ve parted with a treasure. Take your time over sorting out your old stuff – it’s ok to have a ‘maybe’ pile where the final call is saved for later.


… Let Your Heart Rule Your Head

A little cottage by the sea with winding stairs may be charming now but not suitable when you’re in your eighties. Similarly, will you be able to manage a large garden in ten years’ time and is the location suitable if you can no longer drive? This may be your final move so it’s important to downsize to somewhere practical and future-proof. 


Thinking of downsizing? Contact your local Michael Graham office now to book a free valuation. And if you’re searching for a larger family home, take a look at the properties currently available for sale and rent here.

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