How to Downsize with Ease

Full article first published on Houzz Denise O’Connor, Houzz Contributor

While it can be a wrench to leave a much-loved family home, there are many reasons why downsizing makes sense. A smaller space means less stress (let’s face it, running a large household can be a headache) as well as fewer rooms to keep tidy and clean. It also means reduced household expenditure and, whether you fancy travelling the world or are planning a more luxurious lifestyle, the extra funds are bound to come in useful.

With some planning and well-thought-out design ideas, you’ll soon make moving into your new home a seamless experience.

 Homerton Warehouse - Paul Craig Photography


Save the sentimental stuff for last

Start with rooms that don’t have as much sentimental value, such as the kitchen. Most of us won’t get too emotional about parting with the Tupperware, although a much-loved collection of Le Creuset saucepans might be another matter!

If you’re downsizing from a house to a flat, target areas such as your garage or garden shed. You might not have any need for things such as the lawn mower, ladders and spades.


Plan well in advance

Getting rid of your possessions is never easy. The best strategy is to plan ahead, even before you put your home on the market. Take some time each day to sort out the different rooms in your home.

Going through things such as papers and books can be very daunting; the best strategy is to tackle these one box at a time.

 

Work out what to keep
Antiques or family heirlooms can also be difficult to part with, so it’s a good idea to have them appraised to determine their value. You might find they’re worth far less than you expected and are perhaps not worth holding on to after all.


Assess the size of your new home

One of the biggest concerns for people thinking about downsizing is whether they’ll be able to fit all their possessions into a smaller property.

Try to get a good handle on how much space you’ll have to play with in your new place. It can be difficult to get a sense of the size of the new rooms, so try comparing them to those in your existing home and you’ll soon see which pieces of furniture fit and which need to go.


Measure the pieces you plan to take

Large furniture items, such as beds, can be hard to part with, but will they work in your new home? Make an inventory of your existing furniture, art and accessories and decide what you plan to put where, measuring everything to see whether it will fit.

Try to find alternative uses for pieces you really love. For example, a large hall table could become a functional desk in your new home.


Plan storage in your new space

As soon as you move in, think carefully about your storage requirements. For example, are the items you need to store being used every day? Things that need to be accessed frequently should be stored in a way that allows you to get to them easily. Creating built-in cupboards in the eaves or under the stairs is a good use of often lost space and they’re generally easy to access.

Browse 12 ideas for loft conversions to suit your budget


Opt for designated cupboards

Let what you need to store dictate the kind of storage you select. Designated storage is an efficient use of space, and will help you fit in as many items from your old home as possible.

The bank of cabinets above the double basins here offers lots of useful storage, while the mirrored doors help to create the illusion of space.

Check out 10 steps to making storage boxes work for you


Make a display

Don’t feel you have to hide everything away, even in a small space. Open storage units can make an attractive feature and are fantastic for displaying treasured collections, which will serve as a visual link to your previous home.

Built-in storage will give you a lot more for your money, as it can be customised to suit your exact requirements. You can also incorporate lighting to create a really elegant feature.

Self-store v long-term storage: what’s best for me?

Personal storage is an increasingly popular service, providing flexibility for homeowners when moving, decorating, or otherwise organising their belongings. So what’s the difference between the two main types of storage, self-store and long-term storage? What’s best for your living situation, and what are the benefits of each?

Self-store

Self storage is designed primarily for smaller volumes of goods needing storage for a short period. This service is ideal if you

  • Need somewhere to store seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations or outdoor furniture
  • Need to keep some furniture and effects out of the way while redecorating
  • Have a small household and need a stop gap during the move process

Self-store gives you the most control over your belongings. You will typically have ownership over your own packing and storage, and self-store facilities are usually very flexible about when you can access your possessions.

Long-term storage

Storage warehouses are designed to keep a large collection of belongings safe for as long as you need them. Long-term storage is perfect if you

  • Have inherited a legacy
  • Are transforming your home into a rental property or Airbnb
  • Have a large household and need a stop gap during the move process
  • Are moving abroad for a fixed period

Companies offering long-term storage will often provide a packing service to ensure professional protection of your items prior to storage. The container used to store your items should also be sealed at your home for security purposes, and transported to the storage centre for you.


Pickfords provides secure goods storage to customers throughout the UK and overseas, and operates self-storage facilities in key locations across the country. Click here to get a quote for storage, or request a call back.

Are my goods safe in storage? Your 5-point checklist

Storage loading

Long term and self-storage are great tools in the home moving process, allowing flexibility when selling your house or flat and keeping your belongings secure prior to settling into your new home.

Without sight of your possessions, however, it can be easy to worry about their safekeeping. Considering this potential concern, how do you ensure peace-of-mind when moving your belongings into storage?

1. Investigate the company

A reputable, experienced storage company will give you confidence that your goods will be handled with the utmost care. Look out for industry certifications and awards as helpful indicator of a company’s credentials.

Pickfords’ nation-wide storage centres are accredited by the FIDI Global Alliance and British Association of Removers (for warehouse and Self Store), as well as the ISO 9001 and BS 8522 quality standards.

For more information about Pickfords’ accreditations, click here.

2. Ask about the location

Understanding your storage facilities will give you confidence that your goods will be secure, however long you intend to store them.

Self store

For short term storage and smaller volumes, self storage facilities are ideal to pack and store you own belongings, giving you complete control over the process. Self Store also typically offers the most flexibility in accessing your possessions.

Pickfords Self Store provides access six days a week, convenient on-site parking at four accessible, inner-city locations.

Warehouse storage

Storage warehouses are designed to keep your goods safe for as long as you need them. Most warehouses use weatherproof wooden crates, nailed shut to protect against the elements, plus external security such as CCTV and burglar alarms.

Pickfords’ national storage network utilises larger wooden crates than any other removal company, eliminating safety risks associated with over-filling. Our flagship London facility includes Europe’s largest, unmanned, fire-safe warehouse, featuring 24-hour security and metal containers designed to protect items of the highest value.

3. Get help packing

If you opt for self store or otherwise wish to pack your own belongings, make sure you buy the right packing materials and research how to pack different items securely.

Drop by one of our Self Store locations for a wide range of boxes, tape and wrap to protect your goods. You can also visit our YouTube channel to help you pack like a pro!

For the truly professional touch, ask your storage company to pack your goods for you. Pickfords provide expert packing for long and short-term storage, using specialist packing materials and secure containers sealed at your residence for optimum security.

4. Request an inventory

If placing your belongings into long term storage, you may not be accessing them for several years. Arranging an inventory of your stored items means you’ll have an accurate record of all the goods in the care of your storage company.

As part of our long term storage solution, Pickfords create a complete inventory of your belongings in detail so you have complete control over your goods in store.

5. Choose the right insurance

While professional storage centres are designed to keep your belongings as safe as possible, taking out insurance helps protect you in the unlikely event that your goods are lost or damaged in store. A reputable storage company should offer sufficient insurance for your peace-of-mind.

Pickfords’ customers can opt for storage insurance, covering loss or damage excluding fire damage, fire insurance, covering damage by fire, or both. To cover all eventualities, you can also take out insurance to cover your goods while in transit to and from our storage centre.

To find out how Pickfords can help with your storage requirements, call 0800 019 8557 or visit our website.

Protecting your possessions in storage and transit

suzywithred_vase

There’s a lot at stake during your move, so it’s important to make sure you are adequately prepared. Aside from the money, time and effort it takes to move home, you need to take into account everything you are moving with you. Your furniture, clothes, and belongings may hold great value, whether financial or emotional. Nobody wants to arrive at their new home to find that some of their prized possessions and treasured memories have been lost or broken during the move.

You may be moving out of one home and into another on the same day, so will only need to protect your belongings during the moving process. Alternatively, you may be moving country, or may have to store your possessions while in between properties, so you’ll need to take this into account when protecting your belongings.

When you move home, make sure your goods are packed securely in clearly labelled boxes. For more valuable items, it’s always best to secure them with padding, such as bubble wrap, to add an extra layer of protection.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family, or hire a professional removal company who can make the packing and moving process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you need to store some of your belongings during your move, use a company you can trust. Pickfords have a nationwide network of storage facilities, with a solution to suit every situation.

Should I use long-term storage or self-store?

Pickfords Van loading_fork lift

Storage is commonly where goods and personal effects are loaded into containers or wooden pallets and kept in a secure warehouse, usually for longer periods.

Firms offering long-term storage often provide specialist packing services to ensure your items are protected prior to going into storage. The container used to store your items should also be sealed in your home for security purposes, and transported to the storage centre for you. 
 
If they do not inventory everything going into storage, make sure you do and keep a record of it for when you need to take your goods back out of storage in the future.
 
Self storage is a more flexible solution for shorter-term storage needs, commonly used when moving home, clearing space, redecorating or extending homes. Self storage is a more convenient, cost-effective solution. 
 
Self storage is commonly offered in units of varying sizes, with a scale of costs according to the size of unit you require. Access can be granted at any time, and elivery/redelivery of goods can either be handled by the customer or by the storage company. 
 
Find out more about Pickfords’ range of storage and self storage options:

Pickfords storage 
Pickfords self storage

Read more useful moving tips in our Moving Advice Centre