Uncategorized September 18, 2023

Mistakes to Avoid When Downsizing

A small ranch home that someone may buy when downsizing

One of the biggest considerations when choosing a new home is: size. This may mean increasing the size of a home to accommodate a growing family or the need for more space. Or, this may mean downsizing your home. Regardless of which direction one is headed on the size scale, there are things to consider when choosing a home. If you are looking to decrease your home’s square footage, you are in the right place. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when downsizing your home.

Not considering your lifestyle & needs

If you are envisioning a home with less space, it’s still important to consider your lifestyle and needs when choosing your size or layout. Even if you don’t need a large amount of space, you still want to make sure the space you have is conducive to how you live. For example, if you are one to receive a lot of visitors, you may wish to make sure to have at least one extra bedroom to accommodate them. If you regularly entertain, it will be more important to have a space where your company can gather. If you work consistently from home, a designated office space will still need to be on your wish list.

Do not downsize your home in a way that focuses only on the number of square feet. Thoughtfully think about what your life looks like and make sure that your new home continues to enhance that.

Not getting enough storage when downsizing

Just because you are looking to downsize your home, does not mean that you will not need any storage space. In fact, we would argue that the amount of storage space is one of the most important things to consider, because it will allow you to stay more organized. According to Carolina Contractors, “One rule of thumb says that the total storage space in a home should equal about 10% of the total square footage.”

So, if you are looking to downsize into a 1200 square foot home, make sure there is at least 120 square feet of storage space, give or take, depending on your needs. Remember, if you aren’t sure, err on the side of more storage space than anticipated, rather than less.

Paying for space you won’t use

While you definitely want to pay for spaces to fit your lifestyle and needs and pay for enough storage, you don’t want to get in the position for paying for what you won’t use. There are obviously spaces that you’ll use no matter which house you choose, such as a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. Beyond those necessary spaces, you don’t want to add more space that you won’t end up using.

To figure out what will truly work best, think less about the spaces you might need in the future, and really narrow down the spaces you currently use now. If you don’t need a second bathroom now, you won’t need one later. If you aren’t using your den, you won’t use one later. That extra bathroom and den will cost you more money, so certainly figure out if you need them. Another tactic we suggest is to consider the aspect of cleaning. Nothing helps us figure out if we need a space more than thinking about having to clean it. Are we right or are we right? Ha!

Trying to fit your current furniture into your downsized space

When you are scoping out a smaller space, you may have a hard time envisioning your current furniture in it. So, don’t. If you are downsizing, it is likely that the rooms in the spaces you are viewing won’t fit your current furniture, because they are smaller. To alleviate this, we recommend creating a budget for potential new furniture before house hunting, so that you are prepared to make any furniture changes once you move into your smaller home. Another suggestion? Consider selling furniture you know will no longer fit and use the money from the sale to fund your new furniture.

Keeping things that you no longer need

This piece of advice piggy backs off the last. While you are giving furniture that will no longer fit your space the boot, do the same for everything else you won’t need. Breathe in. Breathe out. We get it. It is HARD to get rid of things. The whole process of determining which things we value over others or parting with things we’ve had our whole lives is immensely daunting. However, simply put, you will no longer have space for everything. So, to start, gather all the things you haven’t used in the past few years. Donate them. Next, find any doubles you might have, and keep only one. Clothes that no longer fit will have no space in your new closet. Starting this process will probably be the last thing you want to do during your move, but we promise that you will feel rejuvenated once it’s done and you move into your smaller space with only what you need.


There is a chance that this list (that is meant to help make downsizing easier) will actually feel more overwhelming. That is because moving to a property that is bigger or smaller is hard work. Our recommendation? Don’t rush. Visualizing what kind of space and size of space you will actually need is a task in itself. Take some time to sort through this before beginning your new house hunting journey. Give yourself the time to slowly sort through your current belongings. Remember, despite these tips, there’s no right or wrong way to go about downsizing. If you need more advice or a helping hand, our real estate team at Oak & Main Real Estate Group Coldwell Banker Advantage is ready and willing to assist.