There’s a lot to do when you prepare to move into a smaller home. Good preparation can help you avoid getting stuck with lots of extra boxes stuck in corners, and keeping the following tips in mind will help you decide what you need to take with you and what you shouldn’t.

The 80/20 Principle: When it comes to storage space, some people say that most of us only use as little as 20% of their possessions. For example, you only really use 20% of your clothes. You can do without more than you might assume.

Define categories, and then tackle one at a time: You’ll be able to make progress faster by making the job more manageable, whether it’s doing one room at a time or going by category (for example: collections, clothes, books, tools).

 Downsizing, whilst hard can ensure you live a more simple life. 

Downsizing, whilst hard can ensure you live a more simple life. 

Be tough with non-sentimental items: Unless those decorative soaps were handmade by your grandmother, you might not want to bring all of them. If it’s the kind of tool or kitchen item that’s meant to be useful, but it really isn’t, then why are you dragging it around? This will give you more leeway for those things that really aren’t replaceable.

Compare rooms in the new space to your current space: Finding a part of your current home the same size as your new bedroom will be, for example, will help you to get some perspective on what you’ll be able to fit into that bedroom.

Measure and draw floor plans: Be precise—you’ll want to use graph paper for this. Good planning will help you find the best way to fit what you want, and even sometimes things that you had assumed you would need to give up. 

Start early: The process will be easier, both practically and emotionally, if you have the time to do a little every day instead of having to tear through everything in a panic. 

Focus on what you use the most: Try keeping a list of, say, which dishes you use each day early in the process to help get a feel for what you really want and need. Remember, if you forgot you owned it, you probably won’t use it much in the future either.

And, last but not least:


Be realistic: Know how much space you’ll have in your new home, especially storage space—it might not fit as much as you want to think. Be honest with yourself about what you really do use, what you don’t, and why you want to keep things.