4 Tips: Downsizing from a House to a Townhouse

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Over the years, people acquire countless memories. And if they’ve been living in a larger house, they also accumulate a fair amount of stuff. When the time comes to downsize to something like a townhouse, there’s the tricky issue of what should stay, what should go and what new things need to be purchased for the new piece of real estate you’ve just bought.

If you are downsizing, there are a number of strategies you can follow to ensure your new place is well-designed when downsizing from a house to a townhouse.

Plan Ahead

Moving is stressful no matter what. It can be especially so if you can’t take everything with you to the smaller place. Sarah Moyse, now a stager and previously a home designer, told Style at Home back in 2005 that it can help to write down a list of the items you can’t live without. In her words, “It’s hard to persuade people they can’t take everything with them…But by keeping what’s on your wish list, you won’t be upset about the things you can’t keep.”

Planning ahead also means starting the process of purging stuff you don’t need months in advance. That way, it won’t be a mad rush just as the moving trucks are pulling into your driveway. Jennie Davidson, a moving planner in Toronto, told Style at Home it’s wise to start at least three months before your move. You should set aside time every week to go through all your stuff. Some things, like boxes with paper, can take a long amount of time to get through so starting early can be really helpful.

Some Big Stuff Can Go

If you’re moving into a townhouse, it may just not be practical to keep some of your larger items. You may not have room for, say, a large dining room table given your new space constraints. Alternatively, as the website Money Crashers points out, you may simply not have use for some bigger items. If you’re going from four bedrooms to three, there’s at least one bed that probably can’t go with you. Of course, it may also be that your new bedrooms are smaller. In this case, you may have to look into buying smaller beds for the new home.

Think About the New Place

Sarah Moyse and Jennie Davidson suggested giving thought to how the floor plan of your smaller place can accommodate things like your furniture. It’s something you may already have considered before buying your new place, but if not you should do it before the move. The more you think about where to put your current items in the townhouse, the less strategizing you’ll need to do when you’re there. Believe it or not, there are actually apps out there that allow you to plan where your stuff can go based on your new place’s square footage and layout.

Multi-Tasking is Key

Some items in your house can only serve one purpose, while others can effectively multi-task. If you’re going to be in a smaller spot, you want as much multitasking as possible in order to most efficiently use your space. As author Erica Sofrina explains:

You may only have room for one table, which may have to double as a coffee table, task table, office workspace and meals table. Find a desk that can be closed up at night to disguise work if it is out in the middle of your living space. Find a hall organizer to put at the front door with specific bins to collect keys, bags, coats and shoes. Sofas and chairs should also be convertible to sleeper beds if you no longer have a guest room.

From Your Home to Another Good Home

The reality of downsizing is that unless you’ve been living a minimalist lifestyle already, you can’t take everything with you. And for things that are in good condition, you’ll want to give careful thought to where they should go. Perhaps you have a family member that could use your kitchen table, or maybe you have clothes that could be donated to Goodwill. Whatever the case, chances are if something is in good shape there’s a person out there that would love it.

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