Moving into a smaller home offers many benefits for families and senior adults. While some seniors prefer to downsize to a more manageable home for health or mobility reasons, other families do it to save money or live closer to their children or grandchildren. Moving into a condo downtown gives young families convenient access to employment opportunities, dining and recreation areas, entertainment, shopping areas, networking, and so on.
Regardless of your reasons for downsizing, one of the challenges you will be faced with is reducing the number of possessions you can take to your new, smaller home.
Although you may not have room to accommodate all of your belongings to make the best use of your smaller space, you don’t necessarily need to get rid of the valuables you’ve accumulated over the years — if you put them in long-term self-storage.
Renting a self-storage unit is one of the key downsizing hacks when downsizing from a house to a condo. You won't give up your belongings while taking advantage of the comfort, convenience, and security offered by a condo lifestyle.
Here are some of the reasons to consider self-storage:
1. It speeds up your move
After you’ve found a condo, you’ll want to move in as soon as you can. However, you need to first sort through all your possessions to determine which items you will be taking to your new home. Considering that these are items you have accumulated over many years, this process will take a bit of time. Rushing the process may cause you to regret throwing or donating something important or of sentimental value to you. Yet, delaying it will also delay your move.
By renting a storage unit, you can quickly pack all your possessions that you’re undecided on taking with you and put them in storage until you have more time to sort through them. This will allow you to hold onto valuables that can’t fit into your smaller house and make moving less stressful.
If you have to move in a hurry and put your items in storage, you can shift your valuables to a smaller self-storage unit once you sort through them and decide what you want to keep.
2. Additional long-term storage space
When planning to downsize, you should assess how much space will be available in your new home compared to your current home. For instance, can your entire living room fit in the new one? How big are the closets in your new home?
Knowing how much space you have to work with will give you an idea of the items that can fit there and how much more storage speed is needed to fit the items you’re unwilling to part with.
In such a situation, you may need to rent a self-storage unit for the long-term to keep you additional possessions that you can retrieve when the need arises. Self-storage can serve as a permanent home for some of the seasonal possessions you use for only a few months each year, such as your summer sports equipment, holiday decorations, or winter gear.
3. Long-term storage for frequent movers
Long-term self-storage may also be necessary if you move frequently because of your lifestyle or job requirements, such that you may be transferred at any moment.
If you can’t settle down permanently or at least for a few years in one location, you may consider keeping some of your belongings in storage. Every time you move, you only need to pack some essentials and then retrieve what you need from the storage unit later on.
4. Temporary storage
If you work on a contractual basis in a job that requires you to move for a few months or longer, then you may consider renting your home for the duration that you will be away to earn some additional income.
Rather than disposing of your possessions when downsizing to a smaller, temporary residence, you can opt to store them temporarily in a self-storage unit so you won’t have to rebuy new household items when the job contract expires.
5. Store valuables to pass on
There are some large items that you may not necessarily want to take with you to your smaller new home or donate them because they might be useful in future for your loved ones. For instance, you may choose to put old furniture and ornaments that are in good condition in self-storage temporarily until your children or other family members need them when they eventually move out.
6. Hold onto sentimental items
Although you may hand over your old furniture to your children when they move out to live independently, there are some sentimental items that you’d rather hold on to, such as their sports trophies, old toys, photo albums, special gifts, and so on.
But since they take up plenty of space that you may not have in your new home, and some of them are in a delicate condition, you may choose to store some of the keepsakes in a climate-controlled storage unit where your precious memories will be protected.
Organization is Key
Even when renting a self-storage unit to store your excess possessions while downsizing, it’s still important to be procedural and organized to reduce the number of trips you need to make to your storage unit to retrieve essential items, as well as rent right-size unit, so you don’t pay more for space that you don’t need.
Here are some downsizing questions to keep in mind:
- Does your smaller house come with a washer and dryer, or will you rely on hookups?
- If they have hookups, do you want to move with your old washer and dryer, or get new ones?
- Is there a fridge in the new place?
- If there’s one, it is better than your current one or would you rather move with it?
- Is it worth moving your appliances depending on the moving cost per pound?
- Will your current furniture fit through the doorways and inside the new space? Are there some you need to get rid of? How will you get rid of them?
- Do you want to hold onto your sentimental items and collectibles, or would you rather pass them on to family members, sell them, or gift them?
- If you have a hobby space, such as a workshop, music room, or craft closet, can the equipment and supplies fit in your new house or do you need to make special arrangements?
You need to examine all the items in your current house to identify the items you will be moving with, keeping in a self-storage unit, gifting to family and friends, donating, selling, or throwing in the trash.
Downsizing may seem like a scary project at first that will drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally, but with enough time and the opportunity to sort through your possessions while they sit in a self-storage unit, you will soon begin to enjoy your simplified, decluttered, and cozy smaller home.