Storage Solutions

10 Downsizing Tips from Storage Experts

woman downsizing apartment writing on boxes

Downsizing involves reducing the amount of belongings in your home to live a smaller and simpler lifestyle. But if you’re wondering how to downsize your home in preparation for a move or major life change, you might be overwhelmed by the process of even getting started. This is especially true if you have lived in the same place for a long time and have collected many furnishings and personal items that you love over the years. 

Here are 10 downsizing tips from the storage experts at Stop & Stor to help you make sense of the chaos and create a downsizing strategy that’s right for you. We’ve been a valued storage provider for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for over 30 years. 

Common Reasons to Downsize 

Are you considering cutting back on the amount of things you currently have in your house or apartment as you ponder relocating from a larger home to a smaller one? To feel comfortable in less square footage, you must carefully consider why you want to downsize and how downsizing could affect your life. 

Here are some of the most common reasons why people downsize: 

  • Save money on monthly bills 
  • Simplifying your lifestyle 
  • Getting a divorce 
  • Adult children have moved out 
  • Less maintenance burden 
  • Death of a partner 
  • Relocating to a new city 

Is Downsizing Right for You? 

Before diving into the steps for how to downsize your home, here are some pros and cons to think about:


  • Make money from sales and lower bills 

  • Less anxiety from excess clutter

  • Less cleaning and space to maintain


  • Overwhelming and time-consuming process 

  • Less space to store the things you love 

  • Must stay more organized in fewer square feet 

Downsizing in 10 Simple Steps 

The most logical approach to downsizing is to go room by room to address each section of your home individually as you make a plan. However, there are some big decisions you'll need to make with your new home in mind, such as whether it already has large appliances in place and the cost of hiring a moving company. You'll also want to think about what to do with large items that have sentimental and nostalgic value, perhaps heirlooms you inherited from family members and have been passed down through generations. 

Follow these downsizing tips to make getting rid of stuff as quickly and hassle-free as possible!

1. Take Inventory of Everything 

It's impossible to know where to begin on a project like this if you don't accurately assess what you have first. Going from one room to the next, make a list of items that you need to keep, are duplicates, or have gone unused for a long time. 

You may need to do some decluttering before making these types of inventory decisions, but they help guide you to the next steps for how to downsize your home. 

2. Start with the Smallest Rooms

To simplify the task of downsizing, start with the smallest rooms in your home, such as closets, sheds, and junk drawers. Other good places to start are attics, bathrooms, and spare rooms. Small areas are common places for junk to accumulate and are easy to sort through once you start.  

3. Sort Items into Five Piles

For each room you work on, sort items into five separate piles. This organizational system will make it easy for you to make decisions about your items and implement an effective downsizing plan. 

  • Trash pile: During the downsizing process, anything that doesn't have much value might need to go into the trash. For an eco-friendly approach, try to recycle as much as possible, and schedule a pickup or drop-off if your items are too large to put in your household bins. 
  • Sell pile: Downsizing is an excellent opportunity to make some extra cash for items you no longer want or need. Consider selling items that are in good condition and would be valuable to others. You can list sale items on eBay, NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, or other resale sites. But also consider posting flyers on a community bulletin board, talking to friends or neighbors, and hosting a garage sale if you are downsizing substantially. 
  • Donate pile: Many items in your home can be donated to a good cause to support a charity and people or animals in need. Goodwill and Salvation Army are popular donation organizations, but you may also be able to donate directly to local nonprofits, churches, and schools in your area. 
  • Keep pile: For household items that you want to take to your new home, put them in a specific section of each room, or leave them in place until moving day. Remember that this collection of items may change as you assess how much you intend to keep throughout the house. 
  • Store pile: You may encounter items you can't bear to part with but also won't have room for in your downsized home. Make a pile or list of items that you want long-term and could stash away in a storage unit without necessarily needing access immediately or frequently. 

4. Reconsider Your Furniture

Furniture takes up the most space in a home and must be seriously reconsidered as you strategize a plan for how to downsize your home. Focus on the largest pieces of furniture you own, such as sectional couches and china cabinets. Try to make some money selling large furniture to help with the costs of repurchasing smaller pieces of furniture for your new space. 

5. Sort Through the Kitchen

Kitchen cupboards and drawers are the next place to focus on as you figure out how to downsize. Think about how much you cook and the pans, dishes, and utensils you often use. Living in a smaller space usually means eliminating small appliances that take up valuable counter space. 

Start by removing all the essential kitchen items you can't live without. For whatever is left, decide whether you can sell or donate it to someone else. 

6. Digitize Everything Possible  

Documents, photo albums, books, and magazines occupy a lot of home space. Embrace the spirit of modern technology and digitize as much as possible to save space. A tiny hard drive can hold many memories and essential texts without cluttering your new, smaller space. 

7. Think About Multifunctional Items 

Another one of our downsizing tips is to think outside the box and consider multifunctional pieces that can do double-duty in your smaller home. Multifunctional pieces of furniture include sofa beds, Murphy beds, folding chairs and drop-leaf tables. You can also save space in a downsized home by using ottomans with storage inside, coffee tables that double as bookshelves, and shelving units that serve as both storage and décor. 

8. Think About What Makes You Happy 

As you work on your downsizing plan, take a step back from the tedious details and consider the KonMari method. This is Marie Kondo's minimalist approach to determining which items in your home spark joy. If you don't absolutely love pieces of your home décor and furnishings, it may be time to move on from them and start fresh as you transition into your next life phase. 

9. Pace Yourself Reasonably 

Take your time while working through these downsizing tips, and pace yourself to prevent burnout. If time allows, work on just one room per day, and set a reasonable schedule so the burden feels lighter and you don't feel forced to make rushed decisions. 

10. Rent a Storage Unit 

One of the easiest ways to handle downsizing your home is to rent an offsite storage unit so you don't have to part with too many of your beloved possessions. Our storage units are affordable and convenient, and they come in various sizes so that you only pay for the space you need.

Storage Solutions After You Downsize 

Stop & Stor is pleased to offer conveniently located storage solutions with month-to-month flexible renting so that you can complete your downsizing project and reassess the amount of stuff you have. Our family-owned and operated business promises no price hikes for your first year and has storage deals and discounts to help you stay within your moving budget. 

To browse unit availability and pricing, enter your zip code or postal address to find a storage unit near you. We hope you've found these downsizing tips helpful and are now more prepared to successfully move to a smaller space you'll love.

Established in 1980, Stop & Stor is a family owned and operated business that has become New York’s Self Storage Leader by offering cutting-edge facilities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.


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