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How to downsize your home

While moving to a smaller home may appeal, the process can seem daunting. Here's how to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

People downsize their home for many different reasons. 

A classic one can be that the kids have flown the nest and you’re looking for somewhere easier to manage. 

You may want to downsize because you fancy moving towards city life and being closer to where the action is. 

Or you may love the idea of a smaller home so you can be mortgage-free at a younger age and enjoy a longer retirement.

Whatever the reason, downsizing is a brilliant chance to have an epic clear out, decide what you really love - and need - in your home - and an opportunity to get super organised.

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1. Have an epic clear out

The effects of decluttering your home can be profound for your mental and physical wellbeing.

You’ll literally feel more relaxed having less things filling up all of the space around you. 

And there’s untold satisfaction in knowing precisely where everything in your home is. 

The less time you spend dealing with your stuff and trying to tidy, sort or find things, the more time you’ll have for the fun and joyous things in life.

And less stuff also means less space for dust to hide, mould to start having a party and grime to accumulate.

Go through each room in your home, one at a time, and think seriously about what you really need, love and use.

And you don’t need to throw things away. 

Your unwanted items could be just what someone else really needs. So your decluttering could be helpful to others, as well as to you.

As well as calming your mind, decluttering your home will make it feel more spacious, tidy and give you the room to think about how to enjoy your free time. Rather than using it desperately trying to sort stuff out. 

A tidy, spacious-looking home will always look more beautiful than a cluttered one that’s bursting at the seams. 

And potential buyers will find it easier to imagine themselves living in your home once it's done.

2. Take your time, one room at a time

To really do a thorough job, it’s best to go through each room individually. 

Work out:

  • What you definitely want to keep

  • What you'd like to sell

  • What you want to donate

  • What needs to be thrown away

Once you know what’s going where, prepare to make weekly trips to your local charity shop or refuse and recycle site.

Start three to four months before you’re ready to put your home on the market. 

This is a process and you'll want to be able to take your time doing it, rather than feeling rushed.

3. Work out what will fit into your new home

Is your current sofa or kitchen table too big to go from a large four-bed home to a smaller two-bed terrace?

If you know the size of the property you’re aiming for, it’s time to start measuring up.

This will help you to work out what big pieces of furniture you’d like to keep - and what you might want to sell so that you can replace your items with more compact versions.

Big furniture in a small room can make it feel even smaller. It’s much better to trade in and fit out your new place with suitably sized items.

The Refuse Network works with local charities to upcycle and recycle furniture for families in need and welcomes donations.

Visit The Refuse Network

4. What about sentimental things?

It can be hard to part with items that have sentimental value. 

This could be a good time to think about passing things on to other members of your family so that you know they’re in safe hands.

Alternatively, consider taking photographs of possessions you love but no longer really need. 

Keeping a record of them will still bring you joy, without them taking up your much needed space.

5. Invest in good storage solutions

Once you’ve worked out what to keep, invest in good storage to keep everything nice and tidy.

Portable shelf units, stackable boxes, canvas cubes, baskets and storage trunks should help to keep everything in order.

And you can take them with you when you leave.


We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.