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How to Downsize and Move...with Grace

Downsizing and moving can be a massive undertaking, but you can manage the process nicely with a Move Plan. A Move Plan consists of tasks, time, resources (helping hands), and a schedule. Here are some helpful tips to downsize and move with minimum stress…and grace.


First, you’ll want to consider all the activities that will need to happen before you move. The major activities for your move will likely consist of… sorting household items, donating/selling/gifting items you do not wish to move, contacting utilities, insurance and home services, notifying newspapers/magazine and the post office of change of address, hiring movers, collecting moving supplies, packing, unpacking and settling in.


Next, determine how much time you will need to complete your move tasks. Allowing 8-12 weeks’ for move preparation is a typical timeframe to work with if moving from a large home that you’ve lived in for several years, and less if you’ve achieved one or two phases of the downsizing process in previous moves.

Inevitably, each stage of the Move Plan requires more time than one might initially estimate. The task of sorting/disseminating household items is the most significant time-consuming task and the hours to allot will vary according to the size of home, volume of household items and speed of decision-making. Another task that consumes significant hours is the packing/unpacking portion of your move. The simplest one bedroom pack/unpack can take 12-15 “man” hours to complete. A more complex two bedroom move can take 50 “man” hours to pack/unpack and settle in, while sorting/disseminating and moving from a four bedroom home with years’ of acquisition can take several more hours. Assess your personal situation and determine your timeframe, on the conservative side, so that you don’t find yourself in a position of having to rush heedlessly through your move.


Once you have identified tasks and have a rough idea of your timing, recruit your move team of family and friend helpers. Find out when your team is available to help. Is your son able to dedicate a weekend or two to help you sort through your home? Will a grandchild be available to help pack the contents that are moving with you? Can you contract a reciprocal trade with friends, i.e. I’ll help you, you help me? Downsizing and moving is a lengthy process but can be a serendipitous opportunity to connect with family and friends to share some remember when’s.


Develop a schedule based on your move team’s availability so that you know who you can count on and when and where you may have gaps. Where you have helper gaps, consider hiring a professional to help out. A Downsizing Professional can source or perform all that will be required for your move, including selling/donating unwanted items, packing/unpacking, hiring and overseeing a moving company, measuring your furniture, developing a floor plan, and much more.

Downsizing can feel overwhelming, it’s true, but a solid Move Plan and execution will minimize the stress and workload so that you can move with grace. For many people, the end result is worth it as downsizing can be freeing and a chance to fully embrace a new lifestyle.


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