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The ultimate downsizing checklist

Jul 14, 2021

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Downsizing is incredibly liberating if you feel like you’re rattling around a large family home that once used to be full of noise and laughter but now sits mostly empty because the children have left the nest.

While there’s a sadness to these situations, it can be an exciting time in which you’re able to create space in your life for new adventures.

As experienced local agents, we’ve helped many couples who have made the decision to downsize and make the most of the current boom in property prices to fund a new, more streamlined lifestyle.

Perhaps the most emotional element in the strategy is the need to discard many of the possessions that you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. So below is a downsizing checklist to help remove some of the stress.


  1. Take your time – Don’t try to downsize all in one day or weekend. The project will be too big. It’s taken a lifetime to accumulate all of this stuff – make sure your timeframe to cull is realistic.
  2. Go room by room – This will help you take on a larger project in bite-size chunks. Always finish one room before moving to the next, otherwise you might quickly become overwhelmed.
  3. Think creatively – Not everything needs to be thrown away. You can sell possessions that have value or give items to your family, friends or a favourite charity. You can now also list them with neighbourhood groups on social media and see if your possessions can find someone else who will appreciate them.
  4. Create a system – You’ll want a system to decide what you’re going to do with each item, so it’s best to be organised at the start of the project. Create different piles for keep, sell, donate and throw – and be tough when allocating.
  5. Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to seek help from family and friends – especially your kids! – but be clear with your instructions for them.
  6. Go carefully – It’s easy after a while to become a little careless. And that’s when you might throw away something that you’ll regret later. Put some time if you can between the sorting, and the decision to sell, donate or throw out just so you can revise if you need to. (But that doesn’t mean you keep everything!)
  7. Make a floor plan – If you’re in the great position of knowing where you’re moving to, then make a floorplan for each room and make sure you have measurements. This will help you qualify what’s in and out based on size and room allocation.
  8. Keep notes – It’s a smart idea to make a note of each item you intend to keep and why. You might add additional information, such as which room it will be kept or stored. The need to justify can help you cull just that little bit harder.
  9. Call a removalist – Once you’ve completed this project, get quotes on the cost of moving the items you’re keeping to your new home. This will help you decide whether you need to re-evaluate a few items
  10. Call a charity shop – Some charitable organisations offer a pick up service which can be helpful. It will also give you security about the items being useful to them – or if you need to find an alternative solution.
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