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Perhaps you’re looking to move closer to downtown, or maybe your kids have left for college — whatever your reason for seeking out a smaller Chicago home, the more prepared you are, the better. If you’re used to a spacious home with plenty of storage, it can feel like an overwhelming process. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be. In fact, downsizing is a great opportunity to get rid of things you don’t need and to be creative with your new space. If you’re considering downsizing in Chicago, here are some important things to keep in mind:
Make a Timeline
This is the most important place to start. Maybe you’ve just begun house hunting and have many months ahead before relocating, or perhaps you’ve already found the place and a closing is rapidly approaching. If you have plenty of time, I’d recommend going through everything as you pack, from large items like furniture down to the smallest things like silverware. This will help you arrive in your new space with less stress and more freedom. Chances are you’ll do a second round of organizing and purging when you arrive as well. If you’re short on time, however, prioritize furniture. Let go of the pieces you don’t need rather than paying to move them and arriving at your new place feeling overcrowded. Once in your new home, give yourself plenty of time to unpack slowly so that you can go through every box of smaller things as you unpack.
Design a Schedule
In addition to creating that timeline for where the sorting processes will take place, it’s also a great idea to block off some time in your calendar specifically for downsizing. I’d recommend breaking it down by room or type of item to give yourself some direction. Breaking the process up over time can make it a lot less overwhelming and keep you on track as your moving date approaches.
If you’re making a move to a substantially smaller place, bringing in some professional help isn’t a bad idea. Do some research to make sure you find a service or consultant that matches your style and thinking. Letting go of personal items can be a challenging process for many, and it’s helpful to work with someone with whom you share a similar philosophy. Friends and family can also be great sources of support. Just be cautious of who you ask. If your sister will refuse to let you part with a single thing from your past, perhaps save her help for a later date.
Find Inspiration & Purpose
Maybe a philosophy like minimalism appeals to you. Check out a few documentaries, grab a book or two, and do some online research to turn that into downsizing inspiration. If you’re more of a visual person, consider a website like Pinterest where you can find images of smaller homes that get you excited for the move. Many people find it easier to downsize when they identify a purpose beyond just getting rid of stuff or fitting into a smaller home. Maybe it’s donating to a local charity or creating a fresh start. These things can keep you motivated when the process gets challenging.
If you have a good sense of the square footage and storage setup in your new place, you can use your current one for a dry run before you do any actual moving. Maybe your new place has 5 closets while your current one has 9. To help you prepare, empty out your closets at home and start working with only 5. Maybe to get a better sense of how your furniture will fit, you tape off parts of your floor to show you the size of your new space. When you have time to experiment in your current home, it can make the transition to the new one much easier.
Downsizing is a great opportunity for homeowners to let go of excess and find freedom in a new space. That doesn’t mean the process will necessarily be easy. If you’re making the move to a smaller Chicago home, give some of these tips a try to streamline your efforts and give you the motivation you need to get there.