The Decluttering Series: How to Downsize Before Moving

Moving homes can be a monumental task, and the process of downsizing before the move adds an additional layer of complexity. However, this step is not just about reducing the number of belongings; it's an opportunity to redefine your living space and priorities, creating a fresh start in your new home.

For many, the thought of sifting through years of accumulated items can be daunting. Yet, the act of decluttering not only simplifies the moving process but also paves the way for a more organised and peaceful living environment. It's about making thoughtful decisions on what to keep, what to let go of, and how to responsibly dispose of items no longer needed.

In this bustling era, where moving homes is a common part of life for many Canadians, understanding the art of downsizing is more relevant than ever. And that's where MoveMate comes into the picture. As a tech-forward moving company, MoveMate is not just about transporting your belongings; it's about offering a holistic moving experience that starts right from the moment you decide to declutter. In this blog, we'll guide you through effective decluttering strategies, ensuring your move with MoveMate is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

The Benefits of Downsizing

Downsizing before a move might initially seem like an overwhelming task, but it comes with a host of advantages that make the effort worthwhile. Let's explore some of these benefits:

  1. Cost Efficiency in Moving: The most immediate benefit of downsizing is the potential for reduced moving costs. Fewer items to move mean fewer resources needed. This not only translates to lower moving expenses but also a more environmentally friendly move. With companies like MoveMate, you can get a tailored moving service that matches your now streamlined list of belongings, ensuring you're not paying for excess capacity.
  2. Simplified Unpacking and Organization: Arriving at your new home with only the items you truly need or love makes unpacking and organizing much easier. You’re not just moving your stuff; you're setting the stage for your new life. A decluttered move leads to a clutter-free home, where everything has its place, reducing stress and increasing overall life satisfaction.
  3. Emotional and Mental Clarity: There's a significant emotional component to downsizing. Letting go of items that no longer serve a purpose in your life can be liberating. It’s an opportunity to reassess what’s important and make conscious choices about what you surround yourself with. This process can lead to a sense of renewal and clarity, both mentally and physically.
  4. Creating a Safer Living Environment: A decluttered home is often a safer home. With fewer items, there's less risk of accidents like tripping over objects or the dangers posed by over-stuffed storage areas. This is especially important for seniors or families with young children.
  5. Making Room for New Experiences: Finally, downsizing is about making space – not just in the physical sense, but in your life. With fewer possessions to worry about, you have more room for new hobbies, experiences, and relationships. It's a way of opening up to new possibilities that your new home and community might offer.

As we delve deeper into the strategies for effective downsizing, keep these benefits in mind. They're not just theoretical; they're practical advantages that can significantly improve your moving experience and your life in your new home.

Creating a Downsizing Plan

A successful downsizing process starts with a well-thought-out plan. Here's how to create a strategy that works for you:

  1. Start Early: Begin the downsizing process as soon as you decide to move. Giving yourself plenty of time prevents the last-minute rush and reduces stress. Ideally, start at least a few months before your moving date. This allows you to pace yourself and make thoughtful decisions about your belongings.
  2. Assess Your New Space: Consider the layout and storage capacity of your new home. What will fit? What won’t? Measure large furniture items and think critically about how much room you'll have. This helps in making practical decisions about what to keep.
  3. Create a Decluttering Schedule: Tackle the process one room at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Create a schedule that breaks down your home into sections and allocate time for each. This structured approach helps in maintaining focus and ensures that no area is overlooked.
  4. Involve Family or Housemates: If you’re not living alone, involve others in the process. Each person should be responsible for decluttering their own belongings. For shared items, make decisions together. It's also an opportunity to share memories and decide collectively what holds value for everyone.
  5. Use a Sorting System: As you go through your items, categorize them into ‘keep’, ‘donate/sell’, and ‘discard’. Be realistic and honest with yourself about what you use and need. Remember, the goal is to lighten your load for the move.
  6. Consider Storage Solutions: For items you can't take with you but aren't ready to part with, consider storage solutions. Look for local storage facilities, but be mindful of the costs and the likelihood of you needing these items in the future.
  7. Seek Professional Help if Needed: Sometimes, the task may seem too big to handle alone. In such cases, consider hiring professional organizers or decluttering services. MoveMate can also provide guidance and support in this phase of your move.

By following these steps, you'll create a downsizing plan that is manageable, effective, and tailored to your specific moving needs. Remember, the goal is to make your move lighter and your new home a more harmonious space.

Room-by-Room Decluttering Tips

Tackling your home room by room is an efficient way to declutter. Here are some tips to guide you through each space:

  1. The Bedroom: Start with clothes and accessories. If you haven’t worn something in over a year, it’s probably time to let it go. Organize your wardrobe into seasonal items, essentials, and special occasion wear. Utilize under-bed storage for out-of-season clothing to save space.
  2. The Living Room: This space often accumulates decorative items and miscellaneous objects. Assess each item’s utility and sentimental value. Keep only those that truly add to the room's aesthetic or have a specific purpose. Remember, your new living room might have a different layout or style.
  3. The Kitchen: Kitchens are prone to accumulating unused gadgets and duplicate items. Keep only the appliances and tools you use regularly. Donate or sell extras. Check expiry dates on food items and spices, and be ruthless with cluttered drawers and cabinets.
  4. The Bathroom: Go through your medicine cabinet and toiletries. Dispose of expired medications safely and pare down your skincare and beauty products to those you regularly use. Consider the space in your new bathroom and keep only what fits comfortably.
  5. The Garage/Storage Area: These areas often become dumping grounds for items we think we might need someday. Sort through tools, gardening equipment, and seasonal items. Keep only what’s essential, considering the amenities of your new home (e.g., no need for a lawnmower if you’re moving to a condo).
  6. Books and Media: While books and media collections can be dear, they’re also heavy and take up a lot of space. Keep favorites and those with sentimental value. Donate or sell the rest. Consider digital alternatives for music and movies.
  7. Children’s Rooms: Involve your kids in the process. It’s a good opportunity to teach them about letting go and donating. Keep favorite toys, books, and clothes that fit, and part with the items they’ve outgrown or no longer use.
  8. Home Office: Go through paperwork, old electronics, and office supplies. Digitize important documents to save space. Recycle or donate outdated electronics and equipment.

By systematically addressing each room with these guidelines, you’ll ensure that no corner of your home is overlooked in the downsizing process. This methodical approach will make your move with MoveMate not just easier, but also more efficient.

Sorting Items: Keep, Donate, Discard

Effective sorting is crucial in the downsizing process. Here's how to decide what stays and what goes:

  1. Deciding What to Keep: Focus on items that are necessary, have sentimental value, or bring joy to your life. Ask yourself questions like: Do I use this regularly? Does this item have a place in my new home? Is it something that cannot be easily replaced? This will help in making informed decisions.
  2. Donating Items: When it comes to items in good condition that you no longer need, consider donating them. Look for local charities, shelters, or community centers that accept donations. For example, organizations like the Salvation Army or local thrift stores are great places to donate clothes, furniture, and other household items.
  3. Selling Items: If you have items of value that you no longer need, selling them can be a good option. Utilize online platforms like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. This not only helps in decluttering but also can bring in some extra funds to offset moving costs.
  4. Environmentally Friendly Disposal: For items that are neither keepers nor suitable for donation or sale, ensure you dispose of them responsibly. Check with your municipality for recycling programs or special waste disposal days. Avoid adding to landfills whenever possible.
  5. Special Considerations for Unique Items: Items like artwork, collectibles, or antiques may need special consideration. If you’re unsure about an item's value, consider getting it appraised. Sometimes, it’s worth investing in professional moving services for these items, which MoveMate can provide.
  6. Emotional Attachment: It's common to have an emotional attachment to certain items. If you’re struggling to let go, ask for a friend's or family member's perspective. Sometimes an outside view can provide clarity.

By diligently sorting your belongings into these categories, you’ll streamline your possessions effectively, making your move with MoveMate not only easier but more meaningful.

Selling and Donating Belongings

Once you've sorted through your items, it's time to find new homes for the ones you're parting with. Here's how to approach selling and donating:

1. Selling Your Items:

  • Choose the Right Platform: For general items, platforms like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace are popular. For more specific items like electronics or designer clothing, consider specialized platforms or consignment stores.
  • Price Wisely: Research similar items to price yours competitively. Be realistic about the condition of your items and how eager you are to sell them.
  • Write Clear Descriptions: Be honest and detailed in your descriptions. Include the condition of the item, dimensions, and any defects.
  • Safety First: When meeting buyers, do so in public places or ensure someone is with you during the pickup.

2. Donating Your Items:

  • Research Charitable Organizations: Look for local charities that align with your values and need what you're offering. Organizations like Furniture Bank, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and local shelters often accept furniture and household items.
  • Understand Donation Guidelines: Check the donation guidelines of the chosen organization. Some have restrictions on what they can accept.
  • Consider Pickup Services: Some organizations offer pickup services for large items. This can be convenient, especially when you’re busy with moving preparations.

3. Specialized Items:

  • Art and Antiques: For valuable pieces, consider contacting an auction house or a dealer who specializes in such items.
  • Unique Collectibles: Niche marketplaces or collector groups might be the best place to sell collectibles like stamps, coins, or memorabilia.

4. Receipts for Donations:

  • Tax Deductions: Remember to ask for a donation receipt. In Canada, you can claim a tax deduction for charitable donations, which can be a small but welcome financial benefit.

By thoughtfully selling and donating your belongings, you're not just simplifying your move; you're also giving your items a second life and potentially assisting those in need. Plus, this step brings you one step closer to a seamless move with MoveMate, surrounded by only the items that truly matter to you.

Efficient Packing for Downsized Belongings

Packing your carefully selected items is the next step in your downsizing journey. Here's how to pack efficiently:

  1. Quality Packing Materials: Invest in good quality boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape. Sturdy materials protect your belongings during the move. Consider eco-friendly options like biodegradable packing peanuts or recycled boxes.
  2. Label Everything: Clearly label each box with its contents and the room it's destined for in your new home. This makes unpacking much easier and more organized.
  3. Pack Smart: Heavier items should go in smaller boxes to avoid overly heavy loads. Delicate items require extra padding. Make sure to fill any empty spaces in boxes to prevent items from shifting during transport.
  4. Essential Items Box: Pack a box of essentials that you'll need immediately upon arriving at your new home, like toiletries, a change of clothes, medications, and important documents. This should be the last box on the moving truck and the first one off.
  5. Utilize Suitcases and Bags: Use suitcases and duffle bags to pack clothing and soft items. This saves on boxes and makes these items easy to transport.
  6. Disassemble Furniture: If possible, disassemble larger pieces of furniture. This saves space and makes it easier to move and pack. Keep all screws and small parts in a labeled bag attached to the furniture or in a clearly marked box. MoveMate can take care of this tough task. 
  7. Consider MoveMate’s Packing Services: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that MoveMate offers professional packing services. Our expertise can ensure that your items are safely and efficiently packed, which is especially useful for fragile or valuable items.
  8. Plan the Unpacking Process: Think about how you want to unpack at your new home. Maybe you want to set up the bedroom first or the kitchen. Having a plan will make the process smoother.

By following these packing tips, you're ensuring that your downsized belongings are transported safely and efficiently. Remember, the goal is to arrive at your new home with everything in perfect condition, ready to start your new chapter with ease.

Streamlining Moving Day with MoveMate

The moving day is where all your preparation and hard work come together. Here's how MoveMate can make this day as smooth and stress-free as possible:

  1. Tailored Moving Services: MoveMate understands that every move is unique, especially when you’ve downsized. We offer customized moving services to match the scale and specific needs of your move, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  2. Professional Movers: MoveMate’s team of professional movers is trained to handle your belongings with care. Whether it’s navigating tight spaces or handling fragile items, they have the expertise to ensure everything arrives intact.
  3. Efficient Scheduling: With an emphasis on punctuality and efficiency, MoveMate works with you to schedule the move at a time that’s most convenient for you. This helps in reducing the disruption to your daily routine.
  4. Transporting Your Belongings Safely: Equipped with the right tools and vehicles, MoveMate ensures that your belongings are transported safely to your new home. Our movers’ vehicles are designed to secure items during transit, minimizing the risk of damage.
  5. Unloading and Placement Services: Upon arrival at your new home, MoveMate’s team can help with unloading and placing your items as per your instructions. This service is particularly helpful in organizing your new space quickly and effectively.
  6. Last-Minute Support: If there are any last-minute changes or additional requirements, MoveMate’s flexible approach allows for on-the-spot adjustments to accommodate your needs.
  7. Customer Testimonials: Don't just take our word for it. Many customers have shared their positive experiences with MoveMate, highlighting the ease and convenience they brought to their moving day, especially after downsizing.

Moving day doesn’t have to be chaotic. With MoveMate, you can look forward to a smooth transition into your new home, surrounded by only the items that add value to your life. Your downsized move is not just about relocating; it's about beginning a new chapter with a sense of lightness and simplicity.


As we've explored throughout this guide, downsizing before a move is more than just a practical necessity; it's an opportunity for personal growth and simplification. By decluttering, you not only make your move easier but also pave the way for a more organized and fulfilling life in your new home. The strategies and tips provided here aim to help you navigate this process with less stress and more confidence.

Remember, downsizing is not just about getting rid of things; it's about focusing on what truly matters. It's about making space for new experiences and memories in your new home. With a well-thought-out plan, a room-by-room approach, and thoughtful sorting, you can transform what might seem like an overwhelming task into a liberating experience.

As you embark on this journey of decluttering and moving, keep in mind that support is available. Whether it's professional packing services, efficient transportation, or just a helping hand on moving day, MoveMate is there to assist, making sure your transition into your new home is as smooth as possible.

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