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Downsizing your home can provide you and your family with some amazing benefits over the years. You’ll have lower energy bills and maintenance costs, and keeping a smaller home clean and tidy takes just a fraction of the time. However, downsizing also requires planning and difficult decisions. If you’re planning to move to a smaller place, read ahead for some tips that’ll help you throughout the process.

Assess Your Needs
Before starting your home search, sit down with your family and make a list of must-have features. This might include an enclosed garage or nearby parks for the kids. Many people don’t realize just how different it is to live in a smaller home, and ensuring your new place has a few key features will lessen the shock.

Give Yourself Time
Trying to move into a new home under a tight schedule will almost always result in unnecessary stress. Even if you’re not ready to begin packing your personal items, collect moving supplies and start going through unused rooms. Many moving companies suggest that families start packing three or four months in advance. Starting early will also give you plenty of time to determine which items you won’t be bringing with you.

Make Tough Choices
Less room means fewer items. Unfortunately, those who plan on downsizing their home will have to make some tough decisions. If you’re having difficulty getting rid of any items, start creating separate piles in each room. The “keep” piles should contain all the items you absolutely must bring with you, and the “toss” piles should include what you don’t need or want. Meanwhile, the “maybe” piles should include possessions you’re still on the fence about. If you ultimately can’t decide on something, have friends or loved ones give an objective opinion. At the very least, they might need the item themselves.

Find Affordable Storage
Just because you’re downsizing your home doesn’t mean you need to get rid of all your belongings. Renting out a storage unit could give you more time to go through your possessions and decide what must be kept and what can be tossed after you’ve moved. Storage units are also an excellent option for any seasonal supplies you don’t need throughout the year.

Sell or Donate Your Extras
Seeing a trashcan full of your family’s possessions is unavoidable and heartbreaking. However, selling some extra items at a tag sale can help ease the pain by earning some additional cash. You can also donate items. By doing this, you can rest assured they’ll be going to those who need them the most. Many non-profits offer free curbside pickups for families getting ready to move. As a bonus, you might be able to claim the donations as a charitable deduction on your taxes.

Downsizing can be both therapeutic and stressful. Taking the time to carefully plan your move and decide what to bring with you will help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Source: Marlena Stoddard/RISMedia’s Housecall