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How to downsize – 16 top tips

Written by on September 9, 2021

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According to this McCarthy and Stone report, one in three people over 55 are looking to downsize their property. Those aged 65-75 were most likely to have either already made the move or to be considering doing so.

The reasons for choosing to do so are pretty convincing – for the majority the prospect of less property maintenance was appealing (56 per cent). Other reasons were to enjoy reduced bills, releasing some equity and not needing the space because children had flown the nest.

If you’re planning on making a move, and are looking for a removals company in Leeds, give us a shout. We can help with everything to do with the practical side of your move – including packing – and have more than 50 years of experience to make your move as smooth as possible.

Downsizing can seem like a daunting prospect, but we’ve pulled together some top tips to help you take it step by step. It will be worth it in the end!

  1. Start as soon as possible and give yourself plenty of time. It will take you much longer than you expect – you’ve been collecting things for a lifetime! You’ll also want to take a good look at things as you’re sorting through them and it’s easy to get dragged down memory lane. Allow yourself a few months to get on top of it ahead of any planned move.
  2. Set yourself mini targets for decluttering. It can feel very overwhelming to tackle everything at once. Take on a room at a time. Give yourself a fortnight, for example, to tackle your bedroom and have a list of 14 areas within it to take on – e.g. one drawer a day, under the bed, the bookshelf. Tackling one drawer doesn’t seem quite such hard work but the end result is a cleared room.
  3. Channel your inner Marie Kondo. It can be tempting to keep more than you really need – or can fit – in your new home. As Marie Kondo is famous for saying, if it isn’t useful or doesn’t spark joy, it has to go. Don’t keep things ‘just in case’ or because you feel obliged to (e.g. it was a gift or has been handed down to you). Say thank you to the item and decide what the next stage in its life might be, from donating it to passing it on to someone you know will enjoy it.
  4. Have you used it in the last six months? Obviously things like Christmas decorations you only use once a year, but otherwise, if you’re not regularly using something, it’s time to let it go. The likelihood is if you needed it in the future you could either replace it cheaply, make do with something else or borrow it.
  5. Be clear about your new space and what fits. Once you know where you’re moving to, measure furniture and have a visual representation of your new home to see where it will fit. You may be surprised – and there’s no point paying to move things which there is literally no room for.
  6. Use self storage. Self storage can be a useful ‘middle ground’. If you have to move in a hurry, you can transfer items to self storage to be sorted out at a later date. Or perhaps you’re not quite sure how things will look in your new home, or what new storage solutions you might buy. Put things in self storage while you figure it out. Check out our storage centres in Leeds, York, Huddersfield, Harrogate and Wakefield.
  7. Make some money. There are lots of sites now for selling items which are fairly simple to use – from eBay to local Facebook selling groups. You might as well make some money from the things you no longer want or need!
  8. Get rid of duplicates. We’re all guilty of it. Having a couple of frying pans, although we only really need one, having two cheese graters, more bowls than we actually need, three bottles of shampoo on the go… take a look through your belongings (particularly in the kitchen) and get rid of any ‘extras’.
  9. Don’t keep things ‘for the kids’ which they don’t want. How many of us have been presented with a box full of our old schoolwork from our parents when they were having a clear out? Did we want it? For some people they’ll love to have it, but many others will just have binned it. You may be keeping that antique mahogany table for your son or daughter – but do they want it? If not, you may as well know now. Try not to be offended if they don’t want things you thought they would. Everyone’s taste is different and space in houses can be very tight. Best to have the conversation!
  10. Have three piles on the go. One for the bin, one for the charity shop and one to be given to someone else. Regularly take trips to the charity shop/tip before it becomes overwhelming!
  11. Embrace the nostalgia – but don’t let it take over. It’s only natural that you might feel upset thinking back to times gone by. It can make you want to hold on to ‘memories’. But things aren’t memories. So, go with the tears and the laughter as you remember back, but try not to let it sway what you decide to keep.
  12. Repair or bin. Many of us keep things thinking we’ll fix them at a later date – and then never get round to it. Now is the time. Fix it or donate/bin it.
  13. Clear out the worn and replace with the new you probably already have. It’s time to throw away (or donate to an animal shelter) those threadbare towels and get out the new ones you’ve had in the cupboard for years. Same with shoes and other items – get rid of the ones which are (literally) hanging on by a thread and use the new ones you’ve been ‘saving’!
  14. Digitise what you can. For example this might be photos, documents, DVDs, CDs. If you don’t need a hard copy anymore, spend some time converting it into a digital format.
  15. Purge the paperwork. We can get into the habit of keeping far more paperwork than we need. Invest in a shredder, or use a professional shredding service, to safely get rid of any paperwork you have accumulated and no longer need.
  16. Ask for help. You can always ask a friend or family member to give you a hand. Sometimes it’s useful to have someone a bit more impartial to help make the decision on whether something stays or goes!

If you’re looking for a moving company in Leeds, why not get in touch?


A very clean and easy to use storage facility. Prices for storage average Helpful and friendly service and would definitely recommend.

5 Stars

Great service from start to finish. From signing up to the refund of the deposit at the end. We will certainly recommend and use again if needed. The offer we got initially was great and when we cancelled as we no longer needed it, we were offered a little more time too. very good indeed.

5 Stars

Great service from the storage department. Helped me find the right unit and it was a smooth transaction. Would recommend them highly

5 Stars
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