5 Steps to Effectively Plan to Downsize Your House

If you have been dreaming of a downsize into a smaller house, I’m here to lend some words of encouragement and let you know that it is totally possible! Back in 2015, our family of 5 began the process of downsizing from a 3,400 square foot home to a 1,400 finished square foot starter home. It changed our lives in the best way! The thing is, I get that it can be totally overwhelming for people to even know where to start. In this post, I will break down the step by step process we went through to smoothly transition into a smaller house with three kids in tow!

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Does downsizing fit your plans?

The most important thing to ask yourself before downsizing is…”Do I actually want to downsize?”

It might sound silly, but I’m guessing you’re reading this for one of two reasons:

  1. You have this gut feeling that is calling you to a downsized, simple life
  2. You heard about someone else doing it and thought maybe you should too

Chances are you are coming in hot off the number one reason.

There is some area of your life where you are feeling overwhelmed and are craving some simplicity and you have this nagging feeling that if you had less house, it might just take a lot off your plate.

Am I right?

But then your brain does this thing where it goes, “Well, downsizing would be so much work.” “We haven’t lived here that long.” “I really do like this house though!”

I get it, I do because we had those same thoughts running through our head too.

Here’s the thing I want you to ask yourself if you are struggling to know if this is right for you or not:

“What do I want for my life? Would downsizing help me achieve it in a faster more effective way?”

To be fair this may take some thinking, some journaling, some note taking. To give you a jump start on ideas, here’s a look at what we knew we wanted:

  • More time (AKA less cleaning/maintaining the house)
  • More money (cheaper payment and less space to upgrade and fix up)
  • More travel (AKA time outside the house)

We wanted these things for more life experiences for our family and more time together where we weren’t burnt out and exhausted.

So, if you think about the big picture of your life, would downsizing help you accomplish all of the things you envision? If so, you should probably keep reading!

Test the waters

If you’re not quite sure yet whether or not a smaller home is the right option for you, there are ways to test it out ahead of time.

  • Try vacationing in a smaller space for one week Click here to save $40 on your Airbnb
  • Close off certain rooms to make your living space smaller
  • Put items in boxes that you don’t think you need and see if you ever miss them

There are an endless number of ways in which you can see how comfortable you would be in a smaller space and/or with less stuff.

I know the idea of FOREVER can be nerve wracking, which is why these methods for testing out the waters is a good way to see how you feel before you commit to anything.

5 Steps to Effectively Plan to Downsize Your House

Know your value

If part of the reason you are wanting to downsize is to help reduce your costs, make sure you are fully aware of your current market value. You can look at this price estimate up on sites like Zillow.

It’s important to be well aware of what your home will sell for so you can plan accordingly. In some cases, a smaller home doesn’t necessarily mean a smaller mortgage. The home prices may be more expensive as well as property taxes.

Research homes in the area you are hoping to move to. What is the cost of the type of home you are looking at?

Based on your home’s value and the average price of your new potential home, is moving into a smaller home a smart financial move?

What are the upsides?

Besides potentially reducing your mortgage costs, what other perks are you hoping to gain from smaller house living?

  • More time
  • Less cleaning
  • Cheaper utility costs
  • Less maintenance and upkeep

Make sure you are keeping the benefits of a smaller space in mind.

Remembering the big picture goals you have set can be so beneficial in helping you make life decisions like this.

More on downsizing:

Set goals for your downsize

Now you know some of the perks you are hoping to take advantage of in a smaller space. What goals can you set so you have guidelines you can stick to?

Some things to consider:

  • How will you best use any monthly mortgage savings?
  • What size home do you want to fit into?
  • How much will you have to get rid of in order to make that happen?
  • Is there a time frame you want to make this happen in?

Personally, we set a goal of owning a home in the same town, we had a big sale before we moved and as much as we would have loved to have had a time frame, sometimes the housing market has other plans!

It’s important to remember to be patient and to not give up on your goals even if they take longer than you had hoped!

Get paid for your stuff

There is no doubt that moving into a smaller house will require decluttering some items. My best recommendation is to get paid for as much stuff as possible!

I’m a big fan of using Facebook Marketplace for things like furniture and other larger items. For electronics, I have found that Mercari is a great app. I was able to sell old, outdated iPods and iPads and still get paid well and most of these items sold rather quickly! Get my best Mercari selling tips here.

Other places to sell:

  • Poshmark
  • Half Priced Books
  • Nextdoor
  • Decluttr
  • OfferUp
  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • 5Miles
  • LetGo
  • Cash4Books

Stay inspired

There were so many amazing books, blogs, documentaries, and influencers who helped keep my focus during our downsize. Here are some of my favorite books that I read that inspired me to downsize in the first place:

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Dreaming of Downsizing Into a Smaller House. Here's How to Start.
Dreaming of Downsizing Into a Smaller House. Here's How to Start.