So, you’ve decided to downsize, now comes the even bigger task – packing.

Use these tips to make moving as stress-free as possible.

Give yourself plenty of time 

You have a lifetime of memories to go through, and you don’t want to rush things. Give yourself ample time to go through your belongings and decide what you will be taking with you, what you will donate and what you will throw away.

When purging, sorting and packing, break things down by going room to room. It can make the process more manageable. Just leave out the items you will need between now and the move.

Making gradual progress and having a few items left at the end is always better than having to rush around packing up the entire contents of your house.

Have a system and stick to it! 

Creating a system at the start of your move can save a lot of time and stress further down the line.

A common system involves placing your belongings into one of four boxes, which streamlines the decision process, helping you efficiently decide what to keep and what to part ways with.

The boxes can be labelled:

  1. Recycle or dispose: These are the things that cannot be used or passed on to family, such as expired pantry items or disfigured and half-missing items.
  2. Sell or donate: This is for those items that could be given a second chance through garage sales or online marketplaces. This box would include unused clothing or clothing in good condition, old bedding, appliances, furniture, electronics and home décor.
  3. Pass it down: For belongings that have sentimental value consider passing them down the family tree for future generations. This can include family heirlooms, jewellery, old photos and kitchenware.
  4. Keep it: This can actually be the hardest box to (not) fill. It’s tempting to think you will need everything, but only keep the items you will actually use – and have space for – in your new home. You may need to revisit this box a couple of times and reallocate things to one of the other boxes.

Cut the paper trail – digitise what you can 

Do you still have old bills, receipts and user manuals sitting in your filing cabinet that you know you don’t need? Go digital.

Not only will you help the environment, but you will also save space in your new home. Most companies now offer electronic billing and will allow you to go back and see past bills in one convenient portal. Many user manuals can be found online and you can scan or take photos of your receipts.

Keeping your bills, photos and any other important documents saved on your computer will ensure you have them when you need them and save you space in your new home. Make sure you have them saved in a back-up location, whether it’s a hard-drive, USB or the Cloud on the off chance something happens to your computer and you lose access. Having a tech savvy family member or friend set this up for you will save you time and hassle.

Ditch the credit card 

This might be a hard one, but changing purchasing habits can lead to less clutter in your new home.

There’s two parts to this tip.

Purging and sorting in preparation for downsizing is pointless if you’re simply replacing old items with new ones. Wait until you move into your new home and see what you truly need before making any purchases.

When you do buy new things, consider choosing smaller, more compact appliances and electronics, or products that can multitask. This will not only save you space, but time and money too. For example, a combination pressure/slow cooker can do all the tasks two appliances can do, but will save you cupboard space and cooking time as well.

As a bonus, your bank balance will benefit.

Say goodbye after a year 

Once you’ve moved in, take a good look at what you’ve brought with you. If you haven’t used it in some time – 12 months is a good guide – get rid of it.

Downsizing is your opportunity to redefine what you need (and truly want) and get rid of those things you don’t. It might be the juicer you said you’d use but never have, or the pasta machine that you had to have after doing a cooking class.

Naturally, sentimental items are worth keeping. Make sure they’re safely stored.

While it can be a daunting and emotional task, downsizing is less about throwing everything away and more about keeping the things that are of actual value to you. Using the above tips can help streamline the process and ease the stress that is often associated with it.

If you’re think thing about downsizing, sign up for live alerts with as properties go on the market in your preferred locations.