As we approach an economic recession in the United States, many people are left wondering if downsizing their homes could be a viable option to save money. After all, is having a large house that requires frequent maintenance and care really worth it if you could sell it for top dollar in a booming housing market? For others, moving from a house to an apartment or condo might just be a matter of switching up their current lifestyle or relocating to a bigger city for a new job opportunity or a change of scenery.
Whatever the case may be, many people have successfully downsized from a family home to a small(er) living space over the past few years. And while it may not be an easy project to take on, sometimes the benefits can have a lasting financial and emotional impact.
So whether you’re downsizing to an apartment by choice or due to circumstances out of your control, let’s look at some of the most common reasons people downsize, plus some helpful tips to help you along the way.
Why Do People Move from House to Apartment?
Here are a few common reasons why families, couples, and individuals might choose to downsize:
- Increased cash flow / making a profit off of the house sale
- Decreased monthly utility bills
- Fewer home responsibilities around maintenance and upkeep
- New lifestyle, more opportunities to travel
- Needing less space as children/family members move out
- Moving to a larger city with fewer housing options
Related: Should You Live in a Condo? Pros and Cons
Where Do I Start When Downsizing?
The prospect of downsizing can be incredibly daunting when you step back and take in the whole picture. And with so much to do before, during, and after the move, it’s hard to know where to begin. Check out these helpful tips to guide you through the process:
1. Get the Measurements of Your New Space
One of the first things you can do to make your life easier during the downsizing process is to take careful measurements of your new space. If you’re looking at the general floor plan of your apartment or condo, it’s hard to know exactly what will (and won’t) fit without the exact dimensions of each room. Some property management companies will provide this information on the initial listing. If not, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to your new landlord or the building’s owner before your move-in date. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll be able to bring before you even begin to pack up your stuff.
2. Take the Time to Declutter
Aside from the physical act of moving, decluttering your home is one of the most important aspects of downsizing. That means taking a thorough inventory of everything you own, making difficult decisions on what to keep versus what to sell or donate, and facing those catch-all areas of your home head-on. We’re talking cluttered hall closets, junk drawers, kids’ rooms, and other storage areas you may have long forgotten about in and around your home. It’s an exhausting process, to be sure, but a necessary one.
While you declutter, don’t be afraid to be ruthless in getting rid of items that no longer serve you. (You can even try the KonMari method if that helps!) Remind yourself that you (probably) won’t have nearly as much storage space in your new place. Not only that, but it’s always better to make cuts before you move since that means there will be less you have to pack into moving boxes or move into storage.
Related: Downsizing for Seniors: An Essential Checklist
3. Optimize the Limited Space You Have
If you’re moving from a house to an apartment, the idea of “small” is relative. Whether you’re downsizing into a 600-square-foot studio apartment or a two-bedroom condo, chances are you’re working with less space than you’re used to in almost every aspect. That’s why keeping functionality in mind while choosing furniture (and even decor items!) for your new home is important. Multi-functional furniture is ideal for small spaces like studios, apartments, and condos since they take up less space but can be used in multiple ways. For example:
- An ottoman or coffee table with an inner storage space can house blankets and pillows
- Some bed frames have built-in drawers that can store clothes, bedding, and linens
- Foldout tables that mount to the wall can be lowered into a temporary desk space
4. Give Yourself Time to Settle Into Your New Space
As with any big move, it takes time to feel fully settled and adjusted to your new routine. Moving from a house to a smaller apartment or condo is no different. After spending so much time decluttering, cleaning, moving, and unpacking, it’s normal to want to get everything done as soon as possible. And while it’s great to want to be productive, try to resist the urge to set everything up “perfectly” within the first few days or weeks of moving into your new space.
Not only is that a lot of pressure to put on yourself, but it’s helpful to casually live in a new apartment or condo for a few months before setting anything in stone. That way, you can see how you and your family interact with the space, brainstorm new storage solutions, and reassess your needs as you go. Maybe you’ll decide that you don’t need a certain piece of furniture or feel inspired to tackle an easy DIY project to help make a certain room come together. It’s tricky to live in “limbo” for a while, but try your best to remember that getting settled is a process that can take quite a while.
5. Adopt a Positive Mindset
It’s no secret that downsizing is an emotionally challenging process. Purging your belongings isn’t easy ; adding a potentially stressful move, a smaller living space, and a new daily routine to the mix doesn’t make things any easier. With so much going on, it’s easy to feel anxious and fixate on all the things you might be losing when moving from a house to an apartment. Less storage options, a cramped living space, and having to share a building with neighbors are all among the perceived downsides to downsizing.
Instead, it might help to flip your mindset by focusing on what you’ll gain by moving to a smaller space. For example, less space might also mean less time spent cleaning during the week. Fewer storage options might allow you to carefully examine your extra monthly purchases and maybe even try sticking to a better budget. New neighbors could become friends, especially if your apartment complex offers community amenities like a resident fitness center or lounge area. A positive mindset won’t make the downsizing process any less complicated, but it may make your thoughts, feelings, and anxieties more manageable.
Related: How to Downsize Your Home [Free Checklist]
Should You Move From a House to An Apartment or Condo?
There’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking about moving from a house to a smaller living situation. Do you have the time, money, and energy to commit to making a massive life change right now? Think about what is and isn’t working in your current home. How would a smaller home change your everyday routine? Will downsizing from a house to an apartment or condo benefit you and your family? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but no one can come to any conclusions for you. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what type of lifestyle change you’re looking for right now and if moving into an apartment is worth it.
What are the positives and negatives of downsizing, in your opinion? Have you downsized recently and want to share your story? Let us know by reaching out on social media!
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