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Top tips for downsizing your home

Dan Moore / 27 February 2015 ( 08 August 2017 )

Moving home can be stressful at the best of times, although downsizing is arguably worse as you will be moving to a smaller property, with less room for your belongings. This means you will need to be organised – and ruthless...

Lawnmower in the garden
Be practical. If you’re downsizing to a flat you won’t need a lawn mower

You should start by going round your home making a list of items you can’t live without. Anything that doesn’t make this list should be considered potentially expendable.

The chances are you’ll have to get rid of a huge number of items, which will take time to organise. To make this as painless as possible give yourself at least three months to thin out your belongings.

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Be practical about what you will need

When looking at items to dispose of, be practical. If you’re moving to a flat you won’t need a lawn mower or a ladder. If you’re moving from a three-bed property to a one-bed flat, you’ll have to get rid of the extra beds, mattresses, sheets and the contents of wardrobes and cabinets you’ll be doing away with.

Go through your bedrooms, loft, garage and kitchen. These are all rooms with clutter you can live without. For example, how many mugs do you really need? Do you have tools you’ve never or rarely used? And are there spare TVs, perhaps an exercise bike and other valuable but redundant items lurking in the corner of spare rooms?

Discover our tips for car boot fair success.

Sell, donate or dump?

Sell, recycle or donate, but try not to dump goods in your wheelie bin. You can probably sell the vast majority of items you no longer need, perhaps at boot sales or online via websites such as eBay or Gumtree.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling things, charities will be happy to take most stuff off your hands. They’ll welcome clothes, bedding and other items you may feel aren’t good enough to sell or give away.

Certain items will be more difficult to get rid of. Charities may be unwilling to take electronic devices, such as TVs, on health and safety grounds, so unless you can sell them, you’ll need to offload them another way. Call your local council and ask their advice, or take them to your nearest council recycling centre. 

Five sites where you can sell unwanted clutter. 

Establish what room you have

Once you’ve settled on a specific type of property, draw up a realistic floor plan so you can see what will fit in each room without it being too cluttered.

When you move, the chances are your new place will be crowded with boxes full of your belongings for some time. The last thing you’ll want to do is open one and find it’s full of stuff you really should have got shot of, but is now cluttering up your new home.

21 steps to decluttering your house.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.