Many people decide begin downsizing to a smaller home or even an apartment at some point in their life. This decision can be made for many reasons, such as: retirement, kids moving out, job change, divorce, marriage, medical reasons, age, and more. However, you have to think about all your extra stuff that is not going to fit into your new smaller home. That can be stressful and difficult. But, that is where self storage can become a great benefit.
Instead of taking the time now to decide on what to donate, throw away or keep while you are trying to move, you should move all your non-essential belongings into a storage unit. This will give you time to sort it later, and keep you focused on the move and lessen your stress.
A good first step before listing your home or signing a lease on a new smaller apartment is to prep for a “smaller” lifestyle. Go through each room, your garage and basement and decide which large items like furniture and exercise equipment that you will not need in the coming months. All of those items should be tagged and moved to your storage unit. This will make your home look larger, cleaner and less “lived in” which makes it more appealing to potential buyers. You should even clean out all closets and take down personal photos and other items that scream “family” or “kids”. Removing all these excess items allows potential buyers to picture themselves and their family in your home.
The next step comes after you have sold your home. You will need to go through everything you have left and whatever you are unsure of should be moved to your storage unit. You can literally only take your bedroom items (bed, clothes, dresser), necessary kitchen items (toaster, coffee maker, plates, cups, cutlery), bathroom necessities (towels, toiletries) and a few items for your living room (TV, couch, lamp). The rest can wait until you get settled into your new home. This will keep it off your plate now, and allow you to go through everything in your storage unit at the same time.
When the time comes and you are ready to sort through everything in your storage unit, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Measure all your furniture, specifically the items you definitely want to keep. This will let you know what items can fit into your new smaller space. The large and oversized items like a sectional may need to be sold or donated if they will not fit. You can also keep them in your storage unit to give to a family member or close friend.
- If you will have less bedrooms in your new home, you will likely have extra bedroom suits and mattresses. Decide which ones you want for your new home, and keep the others in storage until you decide what to do with them.
- If you are moving into a condo or apartment and will not have a yard, you will no longer need your mower, rakes, shovels and other lawn tools.
- You may have a large piano or organ that is not going to fit in your new home. If it is a family heirloom, see if another family member wants it. Otherwise, you can keep it in a temperature control storage unit for now and decide what to do with it later.
- If you are downsizing into a retirement or assisted living community, or an apartment, you will likely have much less room than before. It may even be a single room that combines your bedroom, living room and dining room together with just your kitchen and bathroom separated. Storage space in these communities if very limited, and often there is just a single closet. Be prepared to only take what is absolutely necessary and that you can fit into your home.
- If you have a large collection of something like records, dolls or trains, you can almost guarantee that you will have no room for those items any more. You can pick out a few items that are most important to take with you, and keep them rest of the collection in a temperature control storage unit. Or, if you really want to downsize, you can sell the collection!
- Keep in mind what you will be placing into your storage unit. This will determine the size you need, and the type that will suit best. You can choose from drive up, interior access or temperature control at many storage locations. At 140 Mini Storage, we only offer drive up storage units. If you have no idea how to figure this out, talk to our knowledgeable property manager for assistance.
If the idea of downsizing in general gives you anxiety and causes great stress, you will be better off doing it in steps and taking your time. You can make a year-long plan and tackle one room at a time. You can hold off on looking for a new home until you get at least half way through everything. You can even rent a smaller home to “test it out” before buying to make sure you can actually live comfortably with less space. If you enjoy the smaller home after renting for a year, you can then make the leap to start looking to buy. This slower transition will give you time to adjust to a smaller space gradually over time in steps.
Using a self storage unit to help you downsize is a great idea. You can move all the clutter out of your way and make the whole process much smoother. Things like holiday decorations, lawn tools, outdoor furniture and recreational items like kayaks and bikes, are great to keep in storage during the off season even if you have plenty of space.
With a little planning and patience, downsizing can be much easier and less stressful. Don’t think you can just jump right into it without any hiccups. A storage unit will become your best friend throughout the process. Make sure you hang on to your keepsakes and family heirlooms, because even if you don’t have room to keep them, your kids may want them some day. With a storage unit, they will be kept safe and you can get them out whenever you want to or need to with ease.
If you are ready to start downsizing and you need to secure some storage space, you can rent a storage unit online 24/7 or stop by our rental office and speak with our helpful property manager. You can also contact us for more information.