All About Downsizing: What to Let Go, What to Bring, What to Buy

More Americans than ever are looking to downsize for their next home purchase. Downsizing makes sense to people from all walks of life: empty-nesters, retirees, and people who are moving in with, or separating from, a significant other.

This article is aimed at anyone downsizing for the first time and looking for practical advice on where to begin.

Decluttering can be emotionally exhausting, so pace yourself by focusing on just one room at a time.

Starting early will give you time to pause and enjoy looking at old photos and travel mementos. You’ll also have time to research the value of your collectibles and antiques.

Everything you take to your next home should have a dedicated place. Choose only the best of the best of your furniture to bring with you.

A common downsizing tip is to sort your belongings into Yes, No, and Maybe piles. However, I would suggest you skip the ‘Maybe’ pile. ‘Maybe’ piles create an extra chore for you later when you look at all those items again.

An easy way to cut down on kitchen clutter is to identify and eliminate duplicates. If you don’t entertain large parties, you probably don’t need lots of drinking glasses or multiple sets of dishes.

Of course, downsizing isn’t just about getting rid of things; it’s also about finding new furniture and storage solutions for your new home. Free up space by choosing multi-purpose items whenever possible. Instead of having a guest bedroom, you can get a comfortable sofa sleeper or an attractive daybed with a trundle bed for your home office.

Professional designers can provide second opinions on what items to bring to the new home and guidance on space planning and furniture layout.

Downsizing is no easy task, but the results are worth it: a simpler lifestyle, less surface area to clean, less space for clutter to accumulate, and lower utility bills. This is an opportunity to give your old things a fresh start, creating a beautifully curated environment that you look forward to coming home to.

If downsizing is in your future, I hope this article can make your next move as stress-free as possible.

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Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers, a registered interior designer (RID) and member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), leads Chambers Interiors and Associates. Her colleague Caitlin Crowley helped edit this column. Find more design advice at

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