Tackle downsizing the smart way

If you're downsizing to a smaller home for financial reasons or like many people these days just trying to "downshift" to an easier lifestyle involving less home maintenance, you will probably have some hard decisions to make about what to take with you and what to leave behind.

These can be made easier, however, if you stick to the maxim of "quality over quantity" and start paring down your possessions well before you have to move, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

"A good start is to get a floorplan of your new home and plan where you will place chosen items of furniture, then dispose of the rest. You should not take anything else 'just in case' you might find a space for it, and nor should you hire a storage unit for your overflow."

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says that if you have been keeping heirlooms for grown children, now is the time for these to be re-housed in their own homes, and that many other things can be donated to a charity organisation or sold to a second-hand shop for cash.

"Then the next step is to make the most of the space you will have. You could plan, for example, to make a spare bedroom do double duty as an office, or perhaps as a play space for visiting grandchildren.

"You can also save space in your living area by opting for a flat screen TV monitor instead of a conventional television set, for example, and losing the bulky music system in favour of CDs in your DVD player."

Lastly, Everitt says, you will need ways to keep your new home uncluttered, so it will not look cramped, and the key to this is to ensure that you have enough storage space. You could for example look at installing new cupboard space above the existing units in the kitchen or behind the bathroom door, and putting double rails into clothes cupboards for additional hanging space.

"And, once again, you should not move anything to your new home that does not already have an allotted space. You can deal with messy papers and photos by scanning them to CD, and with books by keeping only those that will fit into your bookcases or cabinets, then donating the rest to a library."

Article by: www.chaseveritt.co.za