How to Downsize From a House to an Apartment

In the words of philosopher Heraclitus, “Life is flux”. The only constant thing in life is change.

Heraclitus would not be surprised to learn that you now find yourself needing to downsize. Whether it’s out of necessity or by choice, you’re moving from a house to an apartment. Financial circumstances, life events, whatever is driving your decision, you can reduce the stress and even embrace the change with the right mindset and preparation.

Finding the Right Apartment

Choose an apartment that is best suited to your lifestyle. Is it pet-friendly? Are there children your kids’ age? Is there a community center where you can meet other empty-nesters? Prepare a checklist of those features that apply to your needs and keep it handy as you search for that ideal place.

Privacy is often an issue for house-dwellers when they move into apartments. Living quarters are closer, walls may be thin. It’s a good idea to get a sense of who your new neighbors will be, and whether you’ll be able to hear them snoring at night. Try to find an apartment in a location that mitigates the compromise in privacy. For instance, look for an upper floor or corner unit.

Making it All Fit

One of the biggest challenges in going from a house to an apartment is what to do with a houseful of stuff that simply won’t fit in your new home. If the move is financially motivated, you may benefit from selling off your excess goods. Take a hard look and carefully consider what needs to stay and what can go. When was the last time you used that pressure washer? Will you need it where you’re moving? You may be better off selling items you don’t use frequently, or items like lawnmowers that you won’t be using in your new abode. Consider donating clothing you don’t often wear.

Terrence S. Shulman Founder and Director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding gives this advice:

“Some tips to let go of stuff is to start with simple areas and tasks first and build some momentum; otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed. Think of letting go of things as letting go of the past, of debt, of weight, of chaos. Turn the music on and just do a little each day!”

Not everything that doesn’t fit has to go. Consider the self-storage option. It’s a very affordable way to hold on to those things you may not have room or need for right now, but don’t want to part with either.

Sometimes it takes a major decision to help us make the smaller choices. This move could be the impetus you’ve been needing to simplify your life, a choice you may not otherwise have made. Think of this as an opportunity to shed some excess baggage, and begin anew.

Getting a Lot From a Little Space

Remember that pressure washer you were thinking about selling earlier? Now that you’re living the apartment life, a lot of those outdoor chores that took up so much of your time are a thing of the past. You’ve got maintenance people for those tasks now, and a lot more leisure time. Not to mention the money you’re saving on home maintenance. If the roof leaks, or the water heater breaks, all you need to do is call the property manager. Now you’ve got some extra money to save, spend or invest.

Energy costs are reduced, and are often included with other utilities as part of the monthly rent. Amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers, and game rooms can make your transition a lot smoother too. Before you know it, you’ll be wondering why you waited so long to shed the burden of that big old house.

Kathleen Krueger

Kathleen is a full-time freelance writer and owner of Crafter of Words LLC. She specializes in providing high-quality blogs, website copy and email campaigns for businesses. She frequently writes on topics of interest to home owners such as remodeling, storage and moving.

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