At some point, everyone needs to downsize from one living situation to another. The reason for downsizing may be driven by retirement, kids going off to college or buying their own homes, divorce, marriage, medical reasons, age, and many more. It is a challenge to choose what goes into the new home and what is donated or given away. Self storage units provide you with the comfort and benefit of being able to keep more of the things that are important.
Instead of forcing a decision on what to donate, throw away or keep, consider moving all your non-essential belongings into a storage unit. This will give you time to sort through items as you need them. It will also keep you focused on the move and ease the time constraint on making decisions. Putting items in a storage unit prior to the move will help you declutter the house and stage it appropriately for selling.
The first step in downsizing is to prep for a smaller living space. Before listing your home or signing a lease on a new smaller apartment, go through each room, your garage and basement, and decide which large items like furniture and exercise equipment that you will not need in the coming months. All of those items should be tagged and moved to your storage unit. Now you have a perspective on what you use daily, what you actually need, and what size living space you should downsize to. Cleaning out closets helps determine how much storage space you need inside your new home as well.
The second step happens after you close on your existing home. Filter through the remaining items in your home and determine what needs to go with you today. You only need to take your bedroom items (bed, clothes, dresser), necessary kitchen items (toaster, coffee maker, plates, cups, cutlery), bathroom necessities (towels, toiletries) and a few items for your living room (TV, couch, lamp). The rest can wait until you get settled into your new home. There are two major benefits you will receive when following the method listed above. First, you will know exactly what you need. Second, you will have time to decide what to keep and what to donate.
Sorting through your storage unit can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to ease the stress of working through your units:
- Measure the furniture, specifically the items you definitely want to keep. This will let you know what items can fit into your new smaller space. The large and over-sized items like a sectional may need to be sold or donated if they will not fit. You can also keep them in your storage unit to give to a family member or close friend.
- If you will have less bedrooms in your new home, you will likely have extra bedroom suits and mattresses. Decide which ones you want for your new home, and keep the others in storage until you decide what to do with them.
- Moving into a condo or apartment means you will not have a yard and will no longer need your lawn tools (mower, rakes, shovels, etc).
- Large family heirlooms, like pianos or china hutches, can be kept in a temperature control storage unit for now until another family member has space to accommodate them.
- If you are downsizing into a retirement or assisted living community, or an apartment, you will likely have much less room than before. It may even be a studio apartment that combines your bedroom, living room and dining room together. Storage space in these communities is very limited with generally a single closet for storage. Be prepared to only take what is absolutely necessary and that you can fit into your home. Consider storing seasonal items, like holiday decorations in a storage facility.
- Large collections like instruments, records, dolls or trains, will most likely be too big for your new space. You can pick out a few items that are most important to take with you, and keep them rest of the collection in a temperature control storage unit. Or, if you really want to downsize, you can sell the collection!
- Keep an inventory of what you will secure in a storage unit. Doing so has multiple benefits. First, it will be very useful in determining the size and type unit you will need. You can choose from drive up, interior access or temperature control at many storage locations. At Sierra’s Glen Self Storage, we only offer drive up storage units. If you have no idea how to figure this out, talk to our knowledgeable property manager for assistance. The second benefit involves insuring the items stored in your unit. Have the property manager keep a copy of your inventory in your private record. Submit an inventory list to your insurance company and keep one with you. This will help you replace anything in the unlikely event that something happens to the unit. An inventory list will also help you find items in your unit.
Downsizing can be a source of anxiety and stress. Follow a method that gives you time to make the best decisions. Create a year-long plan and tackle decluttering one room at a time. Hold off on looking for a new home until you get at least half way through your existing home. Rent a smaller home to “test it out” before buying to make sure you can actually live comfortably with less space. A transition method that uses a longer time schedule will provide you with the best opportunity to adjust to a smaller space.
Self storage units help you downsize. You can move all the clutter out of your way and make the whole process much smoother. Consider a long-term rental for things like holiday decorations, lawn tools, outdoor furniture and recreational items like kayaks and bikes. It will help free up the most space possible in your new environment.
With a little planning and patience, downsizing will be easier and less stressful. Plan well and expect a few hiccups on your road to a smaller home. A storage unit will become your best friend throughout the process. Make sure you hang on to your keepsakes and family heirlooms, because even if you don’t have room to keep them, your kids may want them some day. With a storage unit, they will be kept safe and you can get them out whenever you want to or need to with ease.
If you are ready to start downsizing and you need to secure some storage space, you can rent a storage unit online 24/7 or stop by our office and speak with our helpful property manager. You can also contact us for more information.