4 Tips as You Downsize Your Living Space

tiny homeThere are many reasons people decide to downsize. Here are just a few:

  • Apartment renters: You may be in search of lower monthly costs.
  • Empty-nesters: You may seek a cozier space built for two.
  • Retirees: You may seek a home with less upkeep and maintenance.

Regardless of individual reasoning, however, all downsizers have the same big problem to solve: how to find space for their items in a smaller floor plan.

Below are a few tips to help you make room for essentials and prepare for your upcoming move

1. Start with the Specs

Break out the measuring tape. Move room by room, and make notes on the height, width and length of each in your current space: 

  • Bathroom(s)
  • Bedroom(s)
  • Kitchen
  • Living Room(s) 

Then, record measurements of key furniture pieces, like your favorite couch, bed and dresser.

Lastly, take the tape to your new residence and document room specs there. Compare the numbers. This will help you determine which items you can surely keep, and which you may need to toss, donate or keep in self-storage

2. Decide Which Items Are Essential to Keep

Start with the items that make your living space feel like home. These are your favorites, possibly the ones with the most sentimental value. If they’ll fit in the space, mark them as top-priority pieces to move with you. 

List these items, along with their sizing. Note which rooms they will go into—and how much additional space will be left in each room. 

Storage tip: If there are items you cannot part with but will not fit in your home, consider renting a climate-controlled or standard storage unit.

3. Determine What You Can Live Without 

With a greater realization of how much room you have, it’s time to assess the rest of your collections. Start with an honest conversation—which items are you okay with tossing or donating to your local Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity ReStore? 

Duplicate items are a great place to start. Already have too many glasses in your kitchen? Consider scaling back to make room for other items in your new place. 

4. Make Organization a Top Priority

The best way to not feel overwhelmed or claustrophobic in a smaller space is to keep your items organized. Clutter can make rooms feel much smaller. Once items have their place, do your best to keep them there.

Look for opportunities to consolidate space and group like items together. You only have so much room—be sure you’re always making the most of it.   

Are you planning to downsize soon? Share how you’re planning to make do with less space in the comment section below.

Image Source: Tammy Strobel under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


  1. Lillian Schaeffer's avatar
    Lillian Schaeffer
    | Permalink
    These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to decide what things are essential to keep when downsizing. My last kid moved out of the house a year ago, so my husband and I have been talking about moving into a smaller home that fits our needs better. We'll definitely go through our stuff and decide what we need to keep and what we can get rid of to save space. Thanks for the great post!
  2. Norm Kotoch's avatar
    Norm Kotoch
    | Permalink
    I’m glad you found the tips in this post helpful, Lillian. Going through your items can be a great way to create more space when downsizing. If you decide to utilize a self-storage unit, I recommend keeping inventory of your belongings so you can easily locate them when you need them in the future.

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