Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space

downsizing tips

Large rooms can readily accommodate big items. And jumbo homes have many rooms for lots of big things. But when you’re transitioning to something smaller, downsizing tips for what not to keep are super important!

After all, moving in itself can be so stressful. Why add to the angst when you arrive at your new space and find out your things won’t fit?

I’ve had clients who were determined to keep certain hefty pieces of furniture or just too many components in general. The disappointment was heavy at the new place when alternative arrangements had to be made for the oversized and excess stuff.

As a matter of fact, do you know which household items are most commonly offered free of charge to professional moving crews? Pool tables, couches and pianos are on that short list!

OK, maybe you already knew the pool table was not an option. But there are numerous other sizable items worth swapping out for something smaller. Everything might almost fit but wouldn’t a little breathing room be desirable, too?

With thoughtful space planning and some creativity, you can set up your new digs with comfort and style … and with just the right amount of stuff!

Now on to five big things that shouldn’t make the list for the moving truck. 

downsizing tips
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Today's post is all about 5 downsizing tips to ensure your smaller space is filled with just the right sized items !

tips for downsizing to a smaller house
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Downsizing Tips | 1. Release Blocky Coffee Tables

A large central coffee table is a standard fixture in most living rooms. 

But is it practical when downsizing? I’ve witnessed many a client, anxious to hang on to their massive coffee table, only to be disappointed with how it demands major real estate in their tiny new space. 

And maneuvering around it can be a challenge, especially when using an assistive device such as a walker or wheelchair. So pay attention to safety and mobility.

However, even if you’re perfectly ambulatory now, consider replacing this traditional piece with a couple of smaller tables or tables that nest under each other. You gain flexibility when you can  re-position them where needed. 

Other downsizing tips include substituting a couple of antique trunks. Or buy an ottoman (or two) with lids that open to reveal stashed belongings. 

Now you’ve tripled the utility as you can use them for footrests, additional seating and storage, as well!

tips for downsizing possessions
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Downsizing Tips | 2. Release Boxy Nightstands

Once upon a time, bedroom furniture was only purchased in suites consisting of a bed frame, nightstands, dresser and mirror. 

But when you’re scaling down your living space, consider offloading your standard nightstands. For example, narrow bookcases might serve double duty for your alarm clock, tissue box, hand lotion and your bedtime reading collection.

I had one client use her pet’s kennel as a nightstand! Her fur baby was nearby all night. A small plank laid on top provided a solid surface for the items needed next to the bed. And voilá … another workhorse solution to the rescue!

Another alternative answer would be to install floating shelves on either side of the bed.

This creates a feeling of airiness yet affords the storage surface needed for everyday items. These could be made of wood or glass.

Or how about this: painted, stained or au natural wooden crates mounted on either side? Again, the floating concept creates multipurpose space as you could stow your slippers or a basket of magazines or your knitting supplies underneath.

Wall mounted reading lights above the bed (or suspended pendant lights) are yet one more clever way to reduce what used to sit on your traditional nightstands.

So think about th things you reach for when you’re settling into your night routine.

This helps determine the size and shape of what creative nightstand will work best. Remove the rest. Because having less stuff occupy your bedroom will allow for a more soothing night’s sleep.

downsizing tips and tricks

Downsizing Tips | 3. Release Bulky Single-Use Kitchen Appliances

How often do you make waffles these days? 

Are you regularly assembling cookies, cakes and pies? Stretching pasta?  There is a plethora of kitchen gadgets that perform only one function but how many of these should make the cut for space in your new place?

It makes sense to consider what meal prep you care to do these days. Or will actually do. Be realistic about how often you will reach for your stand mixer, toaster, deep fryer or popcorn popper.

How many sets of dishes, mixing bowls, kitchen gadgets and serveware accessories will be practical? 

Think about what your cooking style is now and replace a few different appliances with multi-tasking ones such as an Instant Pot, which provides several methods of cooking in one appliance!

Unless cooking and entertaining is your passion … and you will continue to do so on a larger scale … streamlining what will be in your new kitchen is important, too. 

tips for downsizing to an apartment

Downsizing Tips | 4. Release Brawny Couches & Chairs

Lazy Boy furniture has been scaling down their seating arrangements.

The furniture manufacturers have jumped on board with catering to the crowd seeking smaller scale pieces.

Remember that if you’re downsizing from the big house, you’re likely not needing to haul the huge sectionals and recliners with you. They command way too much space. Plus, they throw off the visual balance of your room.

Instead, why not substitute the massive sofa with a pair of small love seats? Or 4 small swivel club chairs? 

These actually lend themselves to a natural conversation area. And they can be positioned in front of a fireplace or by the window, whatever your new focal point will be. Style them with colorful pillows and a cozy throw. Your friends will love visiting in your right-sized living room!

downsizing tips for empty nesters
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Downsizing Tips | 5. Release Beefy Media Centers

Have you noticed that even hotels have ditched the entertainment armoires?

Flat screen TVs rule! Wall mounting them has truly opened up real estate in multi-purpose rooms. 

When you surround the TV with your own wall art, you create a visual gallery, as well. Your TV no longer dominates the room as the main event.

You can still place a very slim cabinet underneath. Or try a narrow table with small wicker cubes or trunks to house any additional media items such as CDs or movies, or board games. 

This approach is more modern and fresh. And once again, you’ll avoid having any one large item overpower your smaller room.

downsizing tips for seniors
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Bonus Tip: Plan, Plan, Plan!

Even if you haven’t defined your exact next destination, it’s still invaluable to start decluttering today!

When you know a downsizing move is in your future, think about your current rooms that will not exist in the new home. Start rehoming items in there, whether by donation, gifting or tossing if no longer serviceable. Then these empty rooms can serve as sorting and staging space for your future move.

Give thought to how you want to spend your time in the new home.

If your activities will be changing, there’s another clue for what to keep and what to release. Fewer people in the home usually leads to needing less of many things. And a new focus generally means the paraphernalia from a former hobby or interest will no longer be useful.

Once you have landed on your new home, sketch the layout and then play with the space.

This will ensure your furnishings will fit properly. If they don’t, now you can plan for what smaller scale furniture you will acquire. If you have a hard time visualizing, certainly, you can wait until you arrive. Get a feel for the place and then start shopping.

Or, invest in interior design help. A professional can listen to your vision and bring it to fruition with suggested pieces within your defined budget.

Less can be more when you accept that change will be a part of this downsizing decision.

Of all the downsizing tips shared here, letting go of what you no longer need, use or love is essential for a smooth and successful move!

Feeling unsure with where to start decluttering? This post will get you on track: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

And read this post which underlines the importance of how we view change: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! Because change is inevitable but how we handle it is up to us. Shall we face it with anticipation and grace or resistance and fear? That’s up to us!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today's downsizing tips focused on 5 big things to replace when a smaller space is in our future!

Reconsider moving oversized stuff to your new smaller space.

Avoid the cost of transporting things that won’t truly fit.

Instead, opt for smaller scale furnishings and multipurpose appliances.

Score extra points with serene space between your things!

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