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Tips to Downsize Your House

Preparing for a long-distance move? Learn how to downsize effectively with these tips for decluttering, selling unwanted items, and adjusting to your new space. Get expert advice now!

How to Downsize Your House for a Long Distance Move?

Making the decision to move long-distance can be challenging, but it also brings lots of excitement and opportunities. However, actually preparing for the logistics of a big interstate or cross-country move brings its own set of headaches. One of the key tasks is downsizing your belongings so they’ll fit your new home and lifestyle. Here’s a guide to make the downsizing process as smooth as possible when doing a long-distance move.

Take Stock of What You Have

The first step is surveying everything you currently own throughout your home, including furniture, decor, kitchenware, linens, books/media, clothing, outdoor items, and more. Go through every room, closet, basement, attic, and storage area and take stock. This will help you realistically see how much you have accumulated and make better decisions about what can be sold, donated, trashed, or moved.

As you take stock, don’t forget to peek inside boxes that have been packed away for years. You may uncover items you forgot you had. You’ll also probably find things that no longer fit your lifestyle or sparks joy (thanks Marie Kondo). Add those straight to the sell and donate piles.

Set Emotional Attachment Aside

It’s easy to get emotionally attached to belongings, especially if you’ve lived in one home for years. However, you need to make level-headed decisions during this downsizing process. The reality is you likely won’t have space for everything in your new home, plus you don’t want to pay astronomical moving fees to schlep rarely used items cross-country.

So, as you survey your belongings, try to view them objectively. Ask yourself when the last time you used or even saw certain items. If it’s been over a year, chances are you don’t really need them. This mindset shift takes practice but gets easier the more you declutter.

Determine Your New Home’s Space

Knowing the approximate square footage and layout of your new home is key for downsizing effectively. This allows you to tailor items kept to what will realistically fit into the new space. If you don’t have an exact new home yet, research typical home sizes and floor plans for the neighborhood or complex you plan to move to.

It’s better to overestimate the downsizing than under calculate and end up with items that don’t fit. Don’t forget storage space too – how many bedrooms have closets? Is there a basement, attic space, or shed to keep seasonal items? Understanding the full scope of your new home helps inform what can be moved.

Categorize Into Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash

As you survey your belongings, split them into four categories – keep, sell, donate, trash. This takes some decision making, but allows you to cleanly break down what happens to each item. Having defined categories also helps you let go of more since the fate is decided.

The keep pile is for items definitely moving with you. Be choosy and strict here, as you likely have limited space. The sell pile is for quality items that still have value to get some money back. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are great platforms to connect with local buyers.

Donatable items should still be in good condition. Do some research to find charities or organizations seeking specific donations in your area. Tax receipts are often provided too. Finally, the trash pile is for broken, worn out items that have seen better days. This is hard, but remember once items are trash they’re off your hands.

Pro Tip: Take photos of items as you sort to easily list for sale online later. Stage similar items (like decor) together in photos to give buyers room ideas.

Start Early and Downsize Slowly

Don’t underestimate how long the downsizing process takes. You want to allow enough time to thoughtfully sort through years of acquired belongings without last minute stress. Aim to start 6 months or more before your move date.

Additionally, be kind to yourself by working in short chunks instead of marathon sessions. It can get tiring constantly making keep or let go decisions. Downsizing is mentally taxing. Do a few hours at a time, then take breaks across multiple days or weeks. Slow but steady progress still gets the job done in time.

Selling Unwanted Items

Selling quality possessions, you’re parting with keeping items out of landfills and putting cash in your pocket. You have a few options for connecting with buyers. Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Nextdoor make it easy to post items available for local pickup.

For specialty items worth higher value consider auction sites like eBay. Some companies like Decluttr and Gazelle even buy back certain electronics and media via mail. Lastly, don’t rule out traditional yard sales and garage sales in your neighborhood. These take more effort to organize but reach community members.

Properly Vetting Donations

Donating unwanted household goods lightens your move load while benefiting charitable organizations. However, you want to properly vet organizations to guarantee donations are supporting a reputable cause.

Avoid places that claim to support specific groups but actually profit off donated goods. Ask detailed questions about how your items help people in need and what percentage goes directly to programming versus administrative costs. Also look into item conditions accepted and pickup/dropoff logistics before committing.

Moving Truck Rental

With your downsized item piles set, it’s time for the exciting step of securing a moving truck. Gather estimates from national rental companies like U-Haul, Penske and Budget. Compare costs for different truck sizes, rental lengths and mileage plans. Factor in extra days on both ends for loading and unloading.

You’ll definitely save moving heavy furniture yourself. But carefully consider if you need to hire professional movers for tricky items like pianos, safes or hot tubs. Get quotes that differentiate what’s self move versus mover assisted. This ensures you accurately budget the full moving costs.

Preparing House for Sale or End of Lease

Alongside downsizing belongings, you’ll need to prepare your house for ending your ownership or lease. Discuss needed repairs with your real estate agent or property manager for anything related to cleanliness, damage or general wear and tear. This ensures you follow specific guidelines and may get security deposits back.

Pay for repairs or deep cleaning yourself when possible so the final walk through goes smoothly. Remember even small holes from taking down paintings should be patched and painted. Aim to leave the property in as good or better condition than when you moved in years ago. This solidifies positive references if ever needed again.

Change Address Right Away

With restricted space in your long distance move, you likely opted for fewer physical possessions. So digitally forward important accounts to ensure no disruption receiving bills, statements and subscriptions on the go. Action critical changes of address with USPS, banks, vehicle registration, voting records and more at least one month pre-move.

Double check monthly memberships too – streaming services, gym memberships, alumni groups, everything. Providing temporary and permanent address adjustments ensures critical mail forwards while settling into your new hometown. Don’t lose track of key information during this transition.

Adjusting to New Space

When move day finally arrives and items get unloaded in your new home, take it slow settling in. Allow yourself mental bandwidth to make level-headed unpacking decisions. You may find certain furniture or decorative pieces don’t work as expected in the new layout. That’s ok – stay flexible vs. forcing items that don’t fit.

Patience is key to allowing your space preferences to evolve organically. Set up essential living areas first so you’re comfortable. Over time customize and tweak placements to optimize home flow. Allow weeks or months fully personalizing to create a relaxing oasis reflecting your long distance move goals.

Purging Sentimental Items

One of the hardest categories to downsize can be sentimental belongings. These are items deeply tied to memories, nostalgia or emotions, like photo albums, souvenirs, personalized gifts, children’s artwork and more. It feels nearly impossible to part with these, but unfortunately, they often don’t fit into a cross country move.

To tackle sentimental items, reframe your perspective that the memories live within you, not objects. Snap photos of special items for safekeeping. For personalized items like engraved gifts or monogrammed items, remove parts tying it to you and donate anonymously so it gets reuse.

If you have true heirlooms or collectibles getting appraisals can justify paying professional movers. Most sentimental items have less monetary value though, so let go of what realistically won’t fit your new lifestyle. Keep only tiny mementos most meaningful.

Securing Specialty Services

While you can self move plenty of household items, specialty pieces require vetting professional movers. This includes musical instruments like pianos and harps, weight equipment, grandfather clocks, pool tables, large safes, hot tubs, snowmobiles, ATVs and more.

Research companies with proven experience transporting such delicate, heavy duty or custom sized items. They should provide dollies, lifts, ramps and tools specifically for complicated moves along with insurance for any damages.

Many specialty movers include full packing services too – disassembly at origin home and reassembly at destination residence. Though an added service cost, this greatly reduces effort plus risk of personal injury or item destruction if improperly transported.

Storage Units for Extra Items

After purging most belongings, you may still struggle fitting everything into a smaller new home, especially coming from a large house. Self storage units offer secure, short or long term repositories for stuff without immediately deciding final fates. Consider what’s worth paying monthly storage fees – special holiday decor, kids’ memorabilia to pass down one day, heirloom furniture awaiting room.

Local storage facilities offer temperature controlled, 24/7 monitored units in various sizes. Make sure yours has drive up access for easy overflow loading and unloading on move days. Make a plan what items translate to new homes eventually vs. liquidating from storage later once settled.

Adjusting Utilities

Alongside change of address updates, contact all home utilities to cancel accounts associated with your old residence. Provide shutoff dates aligned to your moving timeline. Reach out to utilities available at your new address just afterward to confirm start dates matching move in day – services like electricity, gas, water, trash collection, cable/internet and more.

Consider service plan adjustments suiting your new locale and home too. You likely required different energy demands from previous houses. Research the best cable/internet bundles for reliably connectivity needs through the adjustment period. Setting up fresh accounts ahead of arrivals makes unpacking smoother.

Selling the House to We Buy Any House As Is

If your downsizing journey includes selling your property, consider contacting us at We Buy Any House As Is. We buy houses New York by offering a reasonable amount. You can expect us to offer flexible solutions for fast home sales to facilitate moves, especially when extensive repairs may overwhelm before traditional listings.

We buy houses for cash New York in any condition: pretty or ugly! We require no staging, make a cash offer within 24 hours, handle appraisals/inspections, and close as less as ten days. This hands-free process means securing funds quickly even with deferred maintenance items before heading out of state worry-free. Contact us now or fill out the form to receive a same-day response.

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