There are all kinds of reasons to downsize your home: kids moving out, retirement, divorce, or merely a desire to spend less money on your energy bills. There is a wealth of advantages in switching your large home for a smaller one. You will benefit from lower expenses, less clutter, and considerably easier cleaning and maintenance. Plus, the feeling of shedding your material possessions can be incredibly liberating.

It is a hugely worthwhile decision, but the logistics of downsizing can be a little overwhelming. You won’t be able to take everything with you into your smaller home, or you’ll barely have any room to breathe. You will need to decide which belongings to keep and which to discard before beginning the process of moving your life into a new house. To help reduce some of the stress involved with downsizing, here are five tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

Take inventory

The first step to downsizing is to take inventory of your possessions. You will only want to transport the essentials, so you should make a list of everything you own and divide it into categories. Your inventory should itemise things to keep, donate, sell, or throw away. Writing each item down can be an effective way to hammer home just how much unnecessary stuff you have accumulated over the years.

Be strict about what you don’t need

The time has come to get rid of all non-essential items. Selling the most valuable things is a great way to make a bit of money to put towards the move while ensuring they go to a good home. You could also give away some sentimental items to loved ones, to ensure they remain in the family but aren’t cluttering up your home. To get rid of any items not worth selling such as old books, ornaments, and worn furniture, set up a stall outside your house offering them for free to anyone willing to take them.

Consider self-storage

If you really can’t bring yourself to get rid of a lot of your possessions, another alternative is to put them in self-storage. This way, you still have the items, but they will not be taking up space in your new downsized home. There are plenty of convenient and affordable self-storage solutions you can choose from.

Invest in smart storage

Once you move to your new home, you will have less space to store your stuff. You don’t want your lovely house to feel cramped and cluttered. To help you make more space, invest in some smart storage solutions, which enable you to keep items out of sight until you need them. There are plenty of products that allow you to maximise hidden space under beds, floors or even inside the stairs

Adopt minimalist habits

Once you’ve downsized, you don’t want your new home to get cluttered all over again. It’s very easy to let things accumulate over time so you should adopt some good practices to keep your home looking minimalist and tidy. Be strict about what you bring into your house and make sure everything has its own dedicated place.