Downsize Your Stuff Without Downsizing Your Spirit

Downsize your home without stress

The decision to downsize your living space can land you big savings in costs and time. But the challenge of downsizing your stuff can be daunting. Careful planning, some healthy mental and emotional strategies, and arming yourself with a great team will help you look forward to a smooth transition to your new home.

Build your vision

Take the opportunity to picture yourself in your new space, and think about how you want it to look and function. Get some inspiration from interior design resources such as Houzz, and small-space lifestyle sites such as Apartment Therapy. Having a vision you can set your sights on will cushion the bumps on the road.

Be prepared to detach

It is normal to have difficulty letting go of things, particularly if they have sentimental value. Try photographing mementos and writing about the memories they trigger. Compiling these in a personalized book, such as through Blurb, can make these memories far more accessible than they would be sitting in a box in the attic. For more ideas on detaching, check out Becoming Minimalist and Unclutterer.

Take stock and prioritize

The floor plan and door widths in your new space may be the two biggest factors in determining which of your big items will make the move. Create an inventory of your furniture, recording width, depth and height of larger pieces. Group and prioritize multiples of items on your list, taking into account space, functionality and coordination of pieces. If you know your floorplan, you can play with some virtual 3-D room layouts using Room Styler. If you’re still searching for the perfect space, do not hesitate to view our listings in the Ottawa area.

Tag system

Tag items to keep and sell with different-coloured tape or sticky notes. Immediately bag and move anything you intend to donate or discard to a remote area, such as in the garage, where you do not have to see it again. If you have difficulty letting go of things, ask a friend to manage the discard area. Companies such as 1-800-Got-Junk will haul it away for a fee. You can also pay by weight to dispose of your waste directly at most municipal landfills. Charity Wishlist Canada lists charities that will collect or accept donations of clothing and household items in your town.

Fight the space hogs

You can compact a huge collection of CDs, tapes and photographs into hard drives that take up a fraction of the space. Companies such as Ottawa Video Transfer will do this for a fee, or consider paying a teen to do it for you. Vow to part with anything you have not worn or used in 2 years. Give tools and appliances to friends you can borrow them from if you need them again. Why hang on to out-of-date formalwear when you can rent the latest fashions from places such as Rent Frock Repeat?


You may be surprised at how much unexpected cash flow you can gain from selling what you no longer need. Consider holding a garage sale, or selling your items online. If you are new to online selling, The Barefoot Nomad has an excellent guide to help you sell safely and effectively.

People power

As an Ottawa Realtor, I am tapped in to a network of local experts, such as professional organizers, designers and movers, who can support you through the process of downsizing. I can help you build a team that will power you towards your vision.

Do you have any additional tips on downsizing? Please share them in the comments. And please feel free to reach out with any questions!

Experienced - Trusted - Recommended

JEFF GREENBERG, REALTOR® | Office: 613-725-1171 | Toll Free: 1-800-307-1545 |

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