How to Maintain Your Quality of Living After Downsizing

In 2014, home ownership dropped to its lowest percent in nearly 20 years-just under 65%. The drop in home ownership happened because of changes in the perceptions and realities of property rental. In the last 20 years, renting has become more attractive and more practical than owning a home.

Whether you plan to move into an apartment for a fresh start or to more easily access your new career, you still have to downsize. A downsize means getting rid of some of your possessions or trading them in for smaller models, but it doesn’t have to mean downsizing your quality of living.

As you prepare to move out of your home and into a brand new apartment, use the following tips to optimize the experience.

Begin Early

You will need a lot of time to cut down on clutter. You likely feel attached to many possessions that you don’t really need. So you need long enough to decide which possessions you want to keep, not to mention come to terms with letting go of your other belongings.

As soon as you secure an apartment, take measurements of each room and closet to establish how much space you have at your disposal. Make preliminary plans about what you intend to move and what you intend to leave behind.

Inventory Your Belongings

Once you know what you have to work with, take an inventory of your belongings. Consider the following characteristics:
•    Purpose: How much do you use each item? If you have several pairs of similar shoes or a range of similar tools, try to reduce the amount down to one or two.
•    Sentiment: Even if an item isn’t inherently useful, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in your new home. Don’t feel obligated to throw out a keepsake because you don’t use it daily.
•    Size: Your home’s dimensions are likely significantly larger than those in your apartment. Decide which pieces of furniture suit the space and which would look awkward and oversized in your apartment.

You may find it helpful to make lists of your items as you sort through them. Then compare the lists. You may find you have three winter coats or two dog leashes when you only need one of each.

Make the Hard Decisions

Many individuals choose to downsize from a home to an apartment after a major life event, such as a graduation, career change, or divorce. To make the fresh start you may desire, you’ll need to make difficult decisions about your life in general.

Those difficult decisions include what you bring into your apartment. As you approach your move, you may feel tempted to continue purchasing new items to furnish or improve your prospective space. Hold off on those decisions until you settle in to your new living arrangements.

Once you know how your current belongings fit into your space, you can make informed decisions about any additions you make.

Even after you settle in, make ruthless and pragmatic decisions. In a home, you had expansive space for storage. You won’t have this advantage in an apartment. Prevent clutter by making strict, conscious decisions about new purchases. This process doesn’t restrict you from shopping for fun, but you must remain aware of how clutter impacts your quality of living.

Discuss Your Options with Others

If you have a friend in a similar living situation, see if you can visit his or her home and ask some questions about it. Look at the storage options in the apartment and determine if you could do something similar.

As you pack up and move in, discuss your options with your mover. Consider storing some of your possessions at first and move in with just the essentials. Pay attention to the items you miss. Bring those objects out of storage and consider selling or donating the others.

These tips can help you make the most of your new living situation.

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