By Martha Smith, Certified Self Storage Manager
Deciding to transition (downsize) into a smaller home or apartment can provide a less stressful and more affordable lifestyle. We downsize for all sorts of reasons; empty nesting, divorce, retirement, medical reasons, age…the list goes on and on. But, getting rid of all that extra stuff to move into a smaller space is not an easy task. That’s where self storage can be a huge benefit.
Rather than trying to decide what you want to keep, what should be donated and what needs to be tossed now; move it all to your storage unit and give yourself time to decide later on what you want or need to keep.
Prior to listing your home for sale, you need to start preparing for your “smaller” lifestyle. It’s a good idea to move all the stuff you don’t need for daily living into your storage unit to better stage your home. The less stuff you have in your home, the bigger and cleaner (and less lived in) it looks, making it more appealing to potential buyers. That means minimize the furniture in every room, clean out the closets, go through the basement, garage and bedrooms, and take all family photos and personalized items to storage. By removing the excess items and taking away the family photos, potential buyers can begin to picture themselves in your home.
After you have sold your home, you need to go through everything you still have in there. If you cannot (or don’t want to) decide what to keep right now or want to worry about it later after you have settled into your new smaller digs, then move it all into your storage unit to give yourself time to go through it at a later date.
When you are ready to go through your stuff, here are some things to think about:
- Be sure to measure your furniture so you know what will fit into your smaller home. If your new home is too small to fit the over-sized sofa or sectional, maybe you need to sell it and purchase smaller pieces. If you don’t want to sell it, you can place it in your storage unit.
- If you are downsizing from a four bedroom home to a two bedroom home, chances are you have extra bedroom suits that are no longer needed. You can sell them, donate them or place them into your storage unit for your kids to take once they buy their first home.
- Maybe you are moving into a condo community where the yard work and landscaping are taken care of for you. That means you no longer need the mowers, weed whackers or other lawn tools like rakes and shovels.
- Perhaps you have that 1911 piano that just won’t fit in a smaller home. The piano has been in your family since before your mother was born. Give it to another family member so it stays in the family, or place it into a temperature control storage unit until you know what to do with it.
- If you’re moving into a retirement or assisted living community, you will likely have a very small home or a small apartment, or even just a single room. Ask your children to come help you go through your belongings and decide what you need and what will fit in your new home. Let them take the excess furniture and small appliances they want, and put the rest into a storage unit until you are ready to part with it. Your extra clothing and knick-knacks can be donated or boxed up and put into storage.
- Maybe your husband is a collector and has tons of signed music posters and the largest record collection you have ever seen. If your new home just doesn’t have the space for this stuff, put it into storage if he refuses to let it go, or sell it and use the money to take a vacation!
- Depending on what you will be placing into storage, you may need a drive up, interior access or temperature control storage unit. You will also need to determine what size storage unit will work best. You can ask our knowledgeable property managers for some assistance and they will gladly help you determine which type and size is best for you.
If the whole idea of downsizing gives you overwhelming anxiety, it may be better to downsize slower in steps. You can still sell your large home (complete with a pool, large garage and a big yard). But, rather than buying a new home right away, move into a smaller rental home for few years. Once you are comfortable there and ready to downsize completely, you can then buy your much smaller home or move into an apartment. At that point, you will still have some items that may not fit but that you need to keep. Your storage unit is great for those items because you can go retrieve them when you need them, and then take them back afterwards. For example, all the holiday decorations, your motorcycle, snow shovels or other seasonal things are items you want and need but only need during certain times of the year. This slower transition will give you time to adjust to a smaller space gradually over time in steps.
The process of downsizing may be difficult and even painful at times, but with a little planning and some patience, you will get through it. Put anything you are not ready to part with yet into a storage unit to make it easier on you. Hold on to keepsakes because they likely have meaning and memories that you want to keep close. Then, when the time is right and you feel up to sorting through it all, you can visit your storage unit and take that next step of going through all the excess.
If you are ready to start downsizing and you need to secure storage, you can rent a storage unit online 24/7 or stop by any of our locations and speak with our helpful property managers. You can also contact us for more information.