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The pressure is on! You've got to downsize and there's too much to do. Don't panic, these tips are a great way to prioritize the work and get it done.


1. Declutter 90 Days Before the Move

In the month leading up to your move, it’s too late to do a proper job of decluttering and removing everything not coming with you. Start three months in advance, and aim to finish before the last month in your old home. It helps to start planning your furniture and other large items first. If you know you’re moving from a three-bedroom home to a two-bedroom home, don’t move three beds, three dressers, and three bedside tables to your new place. It costs money to haul big furniture, and if there’s nowhere to put it, you’ll just have to pay for a storage unit.

2. Consider What to Keep & What to Pass On

Smaller possessions allow more room for error. The last thing you want to do is throw away things you’ll need to repurchase. For example, if you’re moving locally, just throw all your cleaning supplies in a bucket so you don’t have to buy them all over again. As you sift through your belongings, create four piles: keep, sell, donate, and trash. You need time to organize a garage sale or online classified ads to sell your belongings — one more reason to start several months before you move. Check out the info about ReStore below to avoid those donation runs and possibly several runs to the dump. Follow the one-year rule: If you haven’t used something in the last year, donate or sell it. It’s tempting to hang onto things you once loved but no longer use or think you might use someday. But the truth is if you haven’t used a particular item in the last year, you’re unlikely to use it in the next year. Or ever.

3. Digitize Everything You Can

Scan your most important documents and recycle the rest. Old video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, photos, and crucial paper documents can be digitized and saved to the cloud or a local hard drive to free up space. You can fit your most important documents, such as birth certificates and social security cards, in a single folder. You can convert DVDs and CDs to digital files. You can also get rid of a dozen boxes of paper, discs, and videos simply by going paperless.

The piece of paper the photo is printed on isn’t what’s valuable. It’s the photo itself, which doesn’t need to take up space collecting dust in an old album. Store it digitally to free up space without losing your fondest memories.

4. Avoid Renting a Storage Unit If Humanly Possible

No one rents a storage unit thinking to themselves, “I plan to keep paying this rent for the next 10 years.” Yet that often happens. Storage units enable the bad habit of keeping things you don’t use or need — and paying for the privilege. Remember the one-year rule: If you don’t use it over an entire year, you don’t really use it. That rule lets you keep seasonal clothes and decorations but doesn’t let you keep the fluff, the lint of life that slowly accumulates over time.

5. Prioritize Multifunctional Furniture

If you’re like most people, you have guests stay with you occasionally. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not enough to justify paying for an extra bedroom. Use multifunctional furniture to cover those rare needs like putting up guests. A futon or fold-out couch provides an extra bed when you need it — and a far more functional living area when you don’t.

The smaller the space, the more functions each thing you own should serve. I’ve seen dining tables that fold to become a wall-side bench with storage or that flatten entirely. There are wall mirrors that fold down with legs to become a table. Some coffee tables include storage or even fit folding armchairs and side tables underneath them. One of the best multifunctional pieces is a storage bed, which has large dresser drawers underneath the bed itself. They observe a simple principle: Never waste vertical space.

6. Maximize Vertical Space

When you run out of horizontal space, create vertical space. Opt for a tall dresser vs. a wide one.  And if you have to buy furniture, consider buying it used while selling your old furniture to potentially cover the cost.

7. Avoid Hidden Costs

When you downsize, don’t lose sight of the goal of saving money. It’s all too easy to go on a spending spree of new space-saving furniture. Aim to buy used whenever possible and be sure to rethink how you are using the furniture you have. 

It’s incredible how quickly things can accumulate and make a small home feel even smaller. Be vigilant against letting stuff into your house. Consider instituting a one-in, one-out rule for similar-size goods to keep the clutter from spreading, and start planning your spring cleaning now. Also check out the fabulous resource ReStore. Run by Habitat by Humanity, this great service will come to your home and pick up donated items. 


From my home to yours, 





Charming move in ready 3 Bedroom, 1 bath Hilton Home located just blocks from the James River and Hilton Elementary. Updated inside and out to include new water line, new drain lines, new gas line and new gas water heater in 2019. Remodeled bathroom with new vanity, porcelain flooring and new toilet. New gutters in 2020. Interior and exterior of home freshly painted. New laminate wood flooring throughout downstairs living room, dining room and kitchen. New carpet installed in bedrooms and on stairs. You do not want to miss this home, schedule your showing today!


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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty
Dana Robbins

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1 Old Oyster Point Rd. Ste. 210 Newport News, VA 23602 | (757) 873-6900

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