Shrink wrap - how to downsize

Posted 22 August 2016 by Richenda Oldham

Downsizing can be a cathartic experience. It's a good way to clear out the clutter and start afresh as you adapt to a new life in a smaller home…

Downsizing to a smaller home can often be an emotional wrench, especially if you are used to a large home with plenty of space. But if your children have flown the nest and those empty rooms are starting to overwhelm then it makes sense both financially and practically to take the plunge.

It makes sense to plan ahead for a move of this nature. There is nothing worse than feeling pressurised by an unrealistic completion deadline, which can lead to hasty decisions that you wouldn't otherwise have made. So even before you put your house on the market, start your downsizing process by having a good declutter, which will help clear your mind and put you in a good position to begin to prepare for your move.



Once you've found somewhere to move into, measure your furniture to see whether it will a) physically fit into your new home and b) decide whether the style is right for the type of building that you will be inhabiting. For some people, this is a chance to get rid of pieces that they never really liked or it's an opportunity to change styles. For example, if you had previously always had antiques, but had secretly yearned for modern, avant garde designs, then you could perhaps keep just a few key pieces, but sell the remainder and invest in stunning pieces that are aesthetically pleasing.

Assess the dimensions of your future abode - obtain an accurate floor plan that shows the position of windows, doors, fireplaces and recesses, so you can plot where you will put your furniture. This is a very good way to help you work out what pieces you will sell and what you will keep. It will also assist your decision making in what needs to be purchased.


Before you move into the new house, make sure you accurately assess the amount of storage space it has to offer, as there is nothing worse than finding out too late, that you don't have sufficient kitchen cupboards or drawers, or the  built-in cupboards in the bedroom are too small for all your clothes. This will help you decide what you need to dispose of before the move. Alternatively you may want to consider fresh ideas for storage. There are plenty of sofa/armchair/bed designs that offer built-in storage, for example ottomans offer a combination of seating and storage, plus can be easily pushed to one side when you need more floor space, Look at wall-mounted shelving and under-bed storage boxes - there is plenty of storage inspiration online. IKEA and Lakeland Plastics offer plenty of ideas on how to manage your storage.

Keeping organised

Once you've moved into your new home, remember that small spaces fill up faster than larger ones, so you will have to be more organised about keeping your home clear of clutter, which in turn will allow you to enjoy it more.


1. An extending dining table is the perfect solution to accommodating extra guests, particularly if it offers extra storage space for cutlery and place mats, Olten extending dining table with drawer, £649,

2. Bathrooms are often overlooked as sources of additional storage, but mirror cabinets and washbasin units can all help keep clutter to a minimum, Halo mirror storage unit with pull out drawers in bleached walnut, £582,

3. When downsizing to a smaller property you need to maximise every square inch of space, including areas you might not have considered previously. This clever bespoke shoe cupboard makes good use of an awkward area,

4. Try to avoid stuffing your new home with masses of large furniture and instead consider choosing a smaller sofa that can be supplemented with an easy chair, sofa covered in Pergola fabric in Ecru, from £34.78 per metre,

5. A wall bed frees up valuable floor space during the day and works well as an occasional guest bed in an office, wall bed 01, from £1,295,


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