Posted by Bruce Borden in Home Maintenance

It’s a major milestone that almost no one will escape: the emotional and difficult journey of downsizing to a new home. The scary journey of leaving your current home where you’ve raised your children and made countless memories.

But downsizing doesn’t have to be scary, especially when you know you’re not alone.

According to a Zillow report, "46% of baby boomers who sold homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing. Nationwide, 12% of the overall home buyers between the ages of 45 and 64 in 2017 were downsizing."

Living in a smaller place definitely has benefits: less to clean and maintain, your carbon footprint is smaller, your stress levels can drop, and you can start fresh in your new home. But downsizing takes time and should never be a spur-of-the-moment thing.

Downsizers or right-sizers will do well to heed Zillow’s advice: “Part of downsizing means clearing the clutter that has accumulated over the years. That process should begin at least 6 months before the move.”

I’m here to help ease your mind and show you that downsizing doesn’t have to be as scary and stressful as it seems. I’ve come up with a list of the top 8 things to get rid of when downsizing to help you in your process!

1. Files and Paperwork

Do you have an office that is filled with paperwork from tax forms, bills, bank statements, user manuals, and other important documents that you’ve saved over the years? Categorize, sort, and arrange your records into shred or keep piles.

Consumer Reports advises organizing your important files into four categories: "Papers that you need to keep for the calendar year or less; ones that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover; tax records, which you should save for seven years; and papers to keep indefinitely."

These days, many of your documents are accessible online for you to view so you don’t have piles of unnecessary papers lying around.

2. Clothing

Has your wardrobe outgrown your dresser and closet? Do you have clothing that you can’t remember the last time you’ve worn?

Get rid of unwanted clothing and shoes by selling them at a yard sale, consignment shop, or online—or donate the items.

3. Kitchen Gadgets

If you looked through your kitchen right now, I bet you have two or three spatulas, ladles, stock pots, or different sized cookie sheets. If you eliminate any duplicates, unused culinary gadgets, mismatched tableware, and old dishtowels, you’ll be surprised by how much clutter you can get rid of.

Ask yourself, when was the last time I used this? If it’s been over 8 months since you've used a kitchen gadget, article of clothing, or another similar item, it's time to find those things a new home.

4. Holiday Decorations

Holiday décor can have sentimental value, while some just takes up space in your attic. Consider getting rid of any decorations you haven’t used in years, especially items such as large outdoor decorations and holiday tableware that you only use once a year.

5. Furniture

Your current home probably holds much more furniture than your new home can fit, so it’s important to only select items that are both functional and familiar.

Overburdening a room with furniture is a common habit for many, so move only enough furniture to fit your new space, not overwhelm it.

You can eliminate any bedroom furniture your children have left and that old couch you’ve been wanting to throw out anyway. In some of our communities, we offer ranch homes with open-concept kitchens and dining nooks.

Even though you won’t have a formal dining room for your oversized table, you still have enough room to entertain guests for dinner and the opportunity to get a new table for your dining nook! And who doesn’t love new furniture?

6. Antiques, Heirlooms, and Memorabilia

If you have certain items you plan to leave your loved ones, consider giving your family heirlooms as gifts now. You can get the items out of your way, plus you’ll be able to experience the joy of giving those items to your loved ones.

If your kids or other family members don’t want their childhood keepsakes (or yours) now, the probability of them wanting them later is slim.

Hold onto a few keepsakes that mean the most to you, and take photos of other things before you sell or donate them. You can print photos and put them in a photo book to place on your coffee table in your new home for you and your guests to view.

7. Exercise Equipment

One of the benefits of downsizing in a new construction community is the state-of-the-art amenities that are usually built in! Instead of lugging and storing your own exercise equipment, take advantage of these lifestyle conveniences.

Eliminating this large equipment will definitely give you more space for entertaining or new furniture to adorn your beautiful new home!

8. Books, Magazines, and DVDs

Unless a certain book or movie has some sentimental value, or you plan to read it or watch again, you can donate it to your local library or sell it to a store that will buy used books and DVDs.

You can easily digitize your movie collection and store all your e-books on an e-reader that is smaller than a single print copy book.

At M/I Homes, we understand that change is hard for everyone. That’s why we pride ourselves on great customer service, and we'll be by your side to give you an easy and stress-free experience.


Bruce Borden


Bruce has been with M/I Homes for over 20 years, has been the National Customer Experience Manager for over 10 years, and has been in the home building industry for over 30 years. Happily married and a proud father, Bruce enjoys outdoor activities and home improvement projects, and has never met someone he didn't like.

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