Five Top tips for less stressful downsizing

Property Reporter
4th December 2020

Homeowners can choose to downsize for a number of reasons, but usually, this process occurs with older homeowners who find that their family home is too spacious and harder to manage once their children have left.

As you would imagine, the thought of downsizing, particularly in this scenario, can be a little emotional and overwhelming, especially if you have lived in a property for many years. Attempting to sort through and, in some cases, throw out, your belongings can seem like an endless task. However, with a little planning and consideration about what you need, you will find that downsizing or ‘right-sizing’ can be a positive experience that sets you up for the future and fits your lifestyle.

NAEA Propertymark has put together five easy steps to help de-stress this process.

Plan ahead

A well-planned move is usually an easy move, so get organised. Start by making a list of all the necessary tasks you need to undertake, and the timescale in which you need to complete it. Knowing what you have to do, and the time you have to do it will make the whole process a lot easier.

It helps to start planning what you will do with furniture and other large items first. If you’re moving from a three-bedroom property to a smaller home, don’t move three beds, three dressers, and three bedside tables to your new house. It costs money to move big furniture, and if there’s nowhere to put it, you’ll just end up paying for external storage space.

Be brutal

Sort through your loft, garage and kitchen, as these are all rooms that tend to accumulate clutter you can live without. Do you have tools you’ve never touched? Or perhaps an unused exercise bike lurking in the corner of the spare room? If something is beyond repair or you haven’t used it for years, get rid.

Follow the one-year rule: If you haven’t used something in the last year, donate or sell it. It’s tempting to hang onto things you once loved but no longer use or think you might use someday. But the truth is if you haven’t used a particular item in the last year, you’re unlikely to use it in the next year.

Get generous

Now is a great time to “gift” items you plan on eventually passing on to friends and family such as photographs and sentimental gifts. Passing on family heirlooms and items with a special personal meaning will make your loved ones happy and free you from moving extra clutter that isn’t a permanent fixture to your new home.

Avoid hidden costs

While right-sizing will free up some of your expenses through lower energy bills, reduced maintenance costs and possibly a smaller council tax bill, there are additional costs to moving which can add up. It is important to factor in any estate agency fees, solicitor and conveyancing fees, a survey home buyer's report and removals which can all mount up.


You’re bound to have plenty of old photographs and home movies that could be easily transferred online to save the effort of moving them into your new home and free up plenty of storage space. Instead of keeping your memories at the back of a cupboard in a dusty box, upload them onto your computer or tablet so that they are easier to access and shareable while allowing you to de-clutter!

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, comments: "The ‘forever home’ is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as more and more homeowners choose to ‘right-size’ later in life and move into a smaller property. There are plenty of benefits to doing so, such as freeing up a bit of extra cash, having a more manageable sized home, better access to local amenities and ultimately improving your quality of life.

"It’s also great in terms of creating fluidity in the housing market, as it frees up larger properties for growing families in prime locations. Our easy tips should help those looking to ‘right-size’ make the process as stress-free and simple as possible."

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