I, Mark Romer, have traveled a lot in my lifetime. If there is one thing I know, it is that American’s love their square footage. Nearly every country I have visited, you could fit the entire house inside the median home’s living room. The funny thing is, we continue to want more and more space. In fact, over the past twenty years, the average home has grown by more than five percent a year.
For some people, that amount of space can become challenging to maintain. Not to mention the bills that you will have to pay to upkeep all that space. Think of how much you will have to pay in heating and cooling costs. Over the past few years, more and more people are trying to limit their space. For some, it is a matter of reducing their carbon footprint; others may be empty nesters that simply don’t want to upkeep a large house anymore. Whatever the reason, people are looking to move from homes to apartments.
I am not going to pretend this is going to be easy. When you go from living in a home that you can do virtually anything you want and just about any time of the day or night to sharing a wall with someone, it can be quite tricky. There are going to have to be some changes that happen in your life. No longer will you be able to crank your radio or television all hours of the day and night, washing your clothes may be limited to daylight hours, and many other rules you are not accustomed to.
However, the most significant change I think you will need to face is that you will not have the space to keep as much as you did in your house. For this, you are going to need to downsize. I will be sharing some easy ways that you can do just that. So, let’s not muck about and get down to the meat and potatoes of this post.
Generally speaking, a move does not happen in a matter of days. In other words, you have advance notice that you are going to be moving. When you decide you will start looking for places to live and sell you home, you should begin to decluttering. For this, I suggest my one-year method. If you have not used something in a year (or more), you will not miss it. Sometimes this can be easy to decern; other times, it is not as simple.
For items like shoes, clothes, and other things you accumulate, I suggest storing them backward. For example, take all of your clothes hangers and turn them around. When you use a piece of clothing, set the hook back in the right direction. Any clothes that are still backward at the end of the year, you discard. You don’t have to throw them away, just get them out of your house. That is not to say you need to store them. My suggestion is to first talk to family and friends and see if they are interested. If not, try donating them to your favorite charity.
There may be some items that you have that are worth a bit more. It wouldn’t make much sense just to give them all away. Look through your home for anything that you don’t think you will be able to take with you. As I said, homes have been getting more significant over the past few decades. That means that people sometimes have more than one “living room” in their homes. As a result, they have more than enough televisions, couches, and recliners. Likewise, they have more beds than they could fit in a smaller apartment.
For these items, I suggest you sell rather than donate. You have a couple of choices when it comes to this. You can advertise on local websites run by your town’s newspaper, global sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook, or even have a yard sale.
Regarding the websites, I would like to remind you to be careful of scammers. Never let your high dollar items go unless you have cash in hand. Meaning, don’t take a check from people. This is because they can cancel a check on you, and you will never get your items back. Another common scam is they want you to send the item, and they will pay you once it arrives. In both cases, you will be out your furniture and the item. Insist on cash or a bank transfer.
Before you do anything, you need to see what you are going to be working with. It doesn’t make much sense to give away or sell a lot of your items only to have to rebuy them later because you had to room for them.
When you are looking for an apartment, make sure you take a tape measure with you. Measure all spaces you will be using. When I say all, I mean all. I suggest measuring the openings for washers, dryers, refrigerators, and stoves as well. You may need to downsize your appliances as well as your furniture and clothes. While most measurements are standard, you cannot be sure the landlord or contractor adhered to those measurements.
Moving can be stressful. If you start with a plan, you can make things much easier on yourself. If there was only one thing, I hope you have taken away from this; it would be planning. You need to make sure you have a plan on where you are going to live and how you will downsize your house. You can give items away, you can sell them, you can donate them to a charity, or you might even be able to keep them. You will know this once you have located an apartment of your liking. Don’t waste time trying to downsize if you don’t have to. The faster you can decide what you want in terms of an apartment, the quicker you can determine what you want to keep or toss.