ways to downsize living spaces

7 Tips to Downsizing Your House

The day has finally come—your last child has moved to college or maybe they’ve moved into a place of their own. Maybe you’ve been on your own in your house for a while now, and you’re realizing how much space (and how many things) you’re surrounded by on a daily basis. Is it time to downsize and move somewhere smaller?

Downsizing your house can be stressful. There seems to be a never-ending list of decisions to make about items that you’ve had around for years. What do you get rid of, and what do you keep? Where do you even start?

Before You Get Started

One of the first things you can do is take an inventory of everything you own. If you plan on moving to a smaller home, you need to know exactly what you already own. Then, you can make decisions about what you want to keep and what to get rid of.

To help you decide what you to sell or give away, make a list of those things you can live without and those you can’t. If you plan on moving into a smaller home, the reality is that you won’t be able to take everything with you. It’s time to make some hard choices. You’ll want to keep precious family heirlooms and those things that “spark joy,” but the rest of the items in your home should be on the chopping block.

Making a move from the home you’ve lived in for many years isn’t always easy. Here are seven tips that make downsizing your house easier.

downsizing your house means parting with a few things but keeping what's important
Donate or sell those items you’re no longer wearing

1. Give Away Your Books

Even a few books can take up a lot of room. If you’re an avid reader, your book collection may be taking up shelves and shelves of space, which is space that you soon won’t have as you downsize and move to a smaller apartment or home. A good plan is to keep just a few of your favorite books and take the rest to a used bookstore or donate them to a charity. How many of those books are you really going to read again?

For books that you want to read in the future, consider getting an e-reader and loading it up with novels that you’re currently reading as well as those on your to-be-read list. You can store hundreds of books on electronic readers and save precious space in a smaller home.

2. Move Your CDs and DVDs to the Cloud

Have you been holding onto music CDs and movie discs for so long that your collection is taking up far too much space? Don’t get rid of them, just upload your music and movies to the cloud or choose a streaming service, using Apple Music, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. You’ll be able to access your media whenever you want, without giving up valuable space in your new home. Once you’ve uploaded your DVDs and CDs, you can give them away or donate them. It may be hard to part with the past, but downsizing your house is all about making difficult decisions.

3. Restructure Your Closet

Downsizing your house is your opportunity to dig deep into your clothes closet. We all hang on to items of clothing that we think we might wear again or that remind us of our youth. When will you wear that dress again? What about those shoes that you wore only once? This is the time to restructure your closet and donate or sell those items you’re no longer wearing. A good rule is to keep only those clothes that you fit into today and wear regularly.

4. Put Precious Photos Into the Cloud

All those family photos in photo albums can take up a lot of space. One way to save space, and keep those photos safe, is by scanning them and putting them onto a cloud server such as Google Drive or iCloud. No more packing boxes for your move with photo albums that have been sitting around, collecting dust.

5. Pick Your Furniture Favorites

Take a good look at your furniture. Pick out your favorites and decide if they’ll fit into a smaller space. You don’t want to keep your big dining room table if you know it can’t possibly be moved into a smaller home or apartment.  

Do the same with household items, such as kitchenware. Do an inventory of what you currently have and get rid of duplicate items. Are you using all those wine glasses or that second set of pots and pans you bought five years ago? By removing duplicates from your house, you’ll have considerably less to pack when you make your move to a smaller home.  

6. Make Generous Gifts to Family and Friends!

It can be difficult to part with some of those items that you’ve had for years. Don’t let sentimentality impede your downsizing mission. Offer some of your favorite things to family and friends or give them as a gift. This can be anything, such as paintings that have been in the family for years or those skis that you know you’ll never get on again. Gifting to someone you know is often easier than giving away or selling to strangers. Plus, you’ll know that your favorite items are being put to good use.  

7. Rent a Smaller “Big-Feel” Apartment

Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, it’s time to find a new place to live. Look for a space that doesn’t “feel” small. One way to accomplish this is by looking for apartments that have an open floor plan, which can make a small living space look larger than it is.

After you’re done downsizing your house, and you’re ready to make a move, consider renting rather than buying. With the Redwood Advantage, you can rent a smaller single-story apartment that’s the perfect size, with an attached garage just like a single-story home. We have unique open floor plans that complement your lifestyle, making rooms look large and spacious.   

When you find your home at Redwood, you become part of a special neighborhood. You’ll be able to take advantage of community events and facilities, take walks through well-maintained green space, and feel at home in your new space.


  1. […] you decide what’s the right fit for you, it’s time to simplify in terms of all the ‘stuff’ you’ve accumulated over time, and then move on to the simple life. You’ll get to focus […]

  2. Alyce Eskew on April 11, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Like the Moving Steps Guide in preparing and the actual 8 weeks prior to move countdown advice…Good info.
    Like Redwood Advantage Apartments – little pricy for retired – fixed income people.