Taking The Stress Out of Downsizing

Downsizing a family home can be a daunting and emotional task at first, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful. These tips below, combined with support from your Personal Relocation Manager, will help make the process more organized, approachable, and efficient.


Make an inventory

You cannot move and downsize things unless you have a clear understanding of what you are dealing with. The first step in any downsizing project is to assess the things you have. This first list doesn’t have to be perfect or exhaustive, but creating an initial inventory of your items, and plans with those items, helps make the rest of the process that much easier.

Bring a notebook into each room of your home and list all the medium to large items within that room. There is no need to list every single item – for smaller items, organize them by space, i.e.. Top desk drawer / laundry room closet / left kitchen cabinet.

Next to your item or space, label them based on intention: More on this later!

Consider Measurements of Your New Home

It is critical to understand the size of your current house and how it compares to the square footage and layout of your new home. Ask the community or your Personal Relocation Manager for a layout and measurements of your new floor plan. Be sure to measure large pieces of furniture and how they will be oriented in the new space. Don’t forget to compare linear hanging space in new and old closets and count cupboards in the kitchen and bath.

Professional Organizers can assist with this process by taking measurements and overlaying your furniture, to scale, on the floor plan.

Focus on One Room or Project at a Time

Choose one room or area at a time, rather than attempting to spread your energy across different areas in one day. Start with small areas within rooms that you use the least first, such as basement storage, a utility closet, junk drawer, or bookcase. This way, there will be less interference with your day-to-day life and the items that you use daily, such as kitchen equipment or clothing, will remain in place for easy use.

When it comes to clothes, start with things you don’t plan to wear such as clothing for special occasions, winter coats (if it’s summer) or beach attire (if it’s winter).

Sort Items into Categories

Be sure to organize all items based on your plan for them. The 4 main categories are Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash. For smaller items, you can organize the items in particular bins, boxes, rooms, or corners. For larger items such as furniture, it’s helpful to use a colored sticky note system. For example, Blue for Keep, Red for Trash, Yellow for Donate, and Green for Sell.

Ask for Help

Your Personal Relocation Manager (PRM) has resources available to assist you throughout this busy time. Your PRM knows the specific challenges and can provide customized tips and advice to help you. In addition to their individual support, we partner with professional organizers, planners, downsizers, and packers. Ask your PRM to connect you with one of these great resources to provide a consultation.

Also, don’t hesitate to request help from family, friends, neighbors, and other community organizations.


Above all else, the best way to manage stress and make the process more approachable is to start early. Even if you don’t plan to move for a full year, dedicating 20 minutes a day to downsizing will go a long way in making sure you are able to manage the workload and not be rushed as you get closer to your move. Your future self will thank you!

Contact Your Personal Relocation Manager

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