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Top tips for downsizing your home

Written by: Paula John
With more and more homeowners moving to smaller properties later in life, the National Association of Estate Agents offers the following advice for downsizers - or 'rightsizers':

Get organised

A well-planned move is usually an easy one, so get organised. Start by making a list of all the tasks you need to undertake, and the timescale in which you need to complete them by. Knowing what you have to do, and the time you have to do it will make the whole process a lot simpler.

Be practical

Realistically, if you’re moving from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom bungalow, you’re not going to be able to take all your belongings with you. When thinking about what to get rid of, be practical. You probably won’t need the extra beds, mattresses and bedding, and do you really use that old pressure cooker in the utility room? Your loft, garage and kitchen are all rooms that tend to accumulate clutter you can live without, so they’re a good place to start. If something is beyond repair or if you haven’t used it for years, get rid of it.

Don’t be afraid to be ruthless

Ditching clutter can be tough so it’s important to be strong and decisive when doing so. Approach it as though you’re having a spring clean, or a house detox. You’ll feel cleansed and more optimistic about the move afterwards. Don’t feel as though you must part with beloved possessions though. For those sentimental items you just can’t make up your mind about, offer them to a family member or put them into storage; you don’t want to part ways with a family heirloom if you’re going to regret it later. If you can’t live without it, keep it.

Establish how much room you have

Understanding how much space you have will help you work out what furniture you should take with you, and which items you should sell, give away, or donate to charity. Draw up a to-scale floorplan so you can see how your existing furniture will fit into each room, and then measure your bigger items of furniture to establish how and if they’ll fit.

Think about the additional costs

While downsizing will free up some of your funds (including lower energy bills, reduced maintenance costs and possibly a smaller council tax bill) there are one off costs to moving which can add up – and certainly cost you in the shorter term. It’s important to factor in any estate agency fees, and you will pay stamp duty on any purchase in excess of £125,000. Other expenses include solicitor and conveyancing fees, a survey home buyer’s report and removals which can all mount up.

Get rid of your unwanted items

Selling items that you can’t take with you, will give a welcome cash injection to help offset the cost of your move. You can do it really easily on online sites such as eBay, Shpock, Gumtree or even Facebook, and ask any potential buyers to come and collect items to stop you having to drop them off. Car boot sales are also a great way to get rid of items that aren’t too valuable, but which are still taking up space. If you don’t need to sell them, contact a local charity to see if they can sell or gift them to people that may appreciate them.

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