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.

Home storage hacks: making the most of your space

After a home move, most of us want our belongings packed and tidied away quickly so we can relax and settle in to our new abode. But faced with an unfamiliar layout, finding a place for everything can be tricky, especially if you want to keep each room tidy and clutter-free. Follow these storage tips to make the most of your space and keep your new home clean and tidy.

Freestanding shelving

pexels-photo-165228 - Copy.jpeg

Shelving isn’t just for dusty hardbacks

Don’t let the word ‘bookshelf’ limit your imagination. Freestanding shelving units can be used to display all sorts of household items, including:

  • Small ornaments, artwork or houseplants
  • Framed photos
  • Folded fabrics, linens and pillows
  • Paired shoes
  • Small boxes of jewellery, toys or gadgets
  • Crockery and glassware
  • Dry goods (anything in a sealed box, tin or jar)

Wall-mounted shelving

plant-prize-shelves-74942.jpeg

Free up floor space with shelving units

If you don’t have the floor space for freestanding storage, wall-mounted shelving is another great option for storing smaller items such as ornaments, houseplants and photos.

Strategically-placed wall mounts can help keep related houseware together: why not keep your cookbooks on small shelves in the kitchen, or install a couple of units in the living room for DVDs and console games? The possibilities are endless.

Bespoke kitchen and bathroom wall mounts

pexels-photo-211760 (1).jpeg

Hanging storage can help keep awkward utensils out the way

Rails, hooks and other accessories can save plenty of space in your kitchen and bathroom. You probably already have loo roll holders and towel rails, but have you considered wall mounting your soap dispenser, toilet brush or toothbrush holder?

In the kitchen, wall mounts such as magnets, polls and hooks can help keep knives, large utensils, spices and other culinary essentials neat and tidy.

Door and wall hooks

hook-2422317_1280.jpg

Save cupboard space with coat hooks in your hallway

Hangers and hooks can be used on the back of doors or in your hallway. Use these to keep bulky items such as hats, coats and bags out of drawers and cupboards yet easily accessible. You could also hang tie, belt or scarf racks from hooks on the back of your wardrobe doors for a neat display and easy access.

Baskets, chests and ottomans

f99588994779e4415c8de493c1061ff9

The best ottomans can double as extra seating

These squat storage solutions are ideal for blankets, throws, cushions, towels and bedding. Baskets, chests and ottomans are easily tidied away against walls, under beds or at the bottom of wardrobes, and the more robust designs can double as extra seating or a handy stool.

Drawer organisers

9700990264_e0ba6e524a_b

Keep accessories tidy by using dividers in your drawers

Most kitchens have cutlery dividers in their drawers, but have you ever thought of doing the same across the house? Socks, undies, ties, belts, makeup, jewellery, stationery, and anything else you keep in drawers can be handily organised with plastic or wooden dividers or small boxes.


Ready to move? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a call from us today.

How to make the most of your wardrobe space

A home move is a great opportunity to reconsider the layout of your wardrobe. When unpacking after moving in, it can be tempting to try and place your clothing back as it was in your old bedroom. But with a bit of forethought, you can maximise your wardrobe space and introduce a fresh layout that means you’ll always know where to find your favourite items.

Overhead storage

  • Use shelf dividers to keep bags and other items neatly stacked
  • Keep similar, smaller items together by using separate storage boxes, e.g. for belts, cufflinks, makeup, scarves, purses, hats and jewellery

Hanging items

  • Use cascading hooks or tiered hangers to optimise your hanging space
  • Invest in an over-the-door shoe organiser
  • Hang belts, scarves, necklaces, ties and other long items inside the doors with stick-on or screw-in hooks

Shelving

  • Dedicate certain shelves to folded clothes; keep out-of-season items at the back
  • Stack bulky jumpers and large towels no more than four high, and t-shirts and cardigans no more than five high
  • Make the most of your vertical space by investing in wire shelving units

Drawers

  • Stack clothes vertically rather than horizontally
  • Keep items separated with drawer dividers or mini storage boxes

Floor space

  • Free up floor space with an over-the-door shoe organiser
  • Alternatively, invest in a shoe rack to keep your footwear neat and paired
  • Invest in large storage boxes for bulky items such as bags and out-of-season coats
  • Make use of any extra space with wire mesh drawers or wheeled storage boxes

Need to clear some wardrobe space before your move? Pickfords will collect your unwanted clothing and homeware to raise money for Cancer Research UK!

Contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

How to turn people off your home

Selling up? In this volatile housing market, small changes can make a big difference to the saleability of your home. To maximise buyer interest in your property, here are a few things to avoid:

Clutter

Forget letting your home feel ‘lived in’. Tidy, open rooms help buyers mentally fill the space with their own belongings. Put away, get rid of, or put into store anything that could be seen as clutter or mess.

Family photos

Leave your home too personalised and buyers won’t be able to see themselves living there. Keep visible family photos and other personalised items to a minimum.

Keeping everything in its place

Your current home layout may be functional, but opening up the space will increase buyer interest. Achieve this by:

  • Pushing furniture back to the walls
  • Reducing the number of visible chairs and coffee tables
  • Swapping out your flat screen for a smaller model
  • Putting up some mirrors, especially in the hallway

Dodgy DIY

DIY done right may save a bundle on labour costs, but make a mess and you risk putting buyers off. If in doubt, hire a professional.

Out-pricing your street

There are lots of great ways to increase the value of your home. But far outpace the value of your neighbours’ properties and yours will be seen as too expensive for the area.


Ready to move? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a callback today.

Clearing the clutter of Christmas past: 9 top tips

Sofa Set

With the holiday season officially over, now’s a great time to declutter your home. Don’t stop with the Christmas decorations, what else can you clear out that provides maximum living space and, if moving home, ensures a tidy home for property viewings and ease of packing?

Here are our top tips for clearing your post-holiday clutter, and beyond:

Take your time

Decluttering can be a mammoth task; attempt to tackle everything at once and you’ll likely fail. Write a plan that covers no more than one room per day during weekends, with smaller tasks (specific cupboards or drawers) reserved for weekday evenings.

Start a room, don’t stop

Once you start a tricky room, such as a study or garage, it can be tempting to give up when the going gets tough, abandoning it for an easier task. Don’t fall into this trap, as it’ll make returning to the job much harder. Once you start a room, focus on just that room until you finish.

Use the gaps in your day

Identify small moments in your routine when you are otherwise in waiting (boiling a kettle, TV ad breaks, downloading software updates) and use them to progress a small part of your declutter, such as organising a drawer or paperwork pile.

Recruit friends and family

Make sure your entire household is involved in the project, with individuals taking primary responsibility for their own rooms and everyone pitching in with shared areas. To really power through, call in a favour from your neighbours to lend a hand.

Get the children involved

Unfortunately most of us don’t possess Mary Poppins’ magic to help clean the kids’ rooms, but you can still help children find the fun in decluttering by making a game of it or offering small rewards along the way.

Use the four-box method

For each room, label four packing boxes and place everything in them as follows:

  • ‘Keep’: items that will stay in the room
  • ‘Store’: items that can go into storage
  • ‘Recycle’: items that can be recycled or donated to charity
  • ‘Bin’: items that can be disposed of

Be ruthless!

Do you really still need last year’s Christmas cards or that ‘spare’ pair of running shoes? Be absolutely ruthless with throwing out or giving away items that you don’t need. If you haven’t used it in 12 months, chuck it. If you have paperwork going back more than a few years, most of it can be recycled or digitised.

Reorganise as you go

A primary cause of clutter is not having one place for certain things, e.g. paperwork, toys or clothes. Take this opportunity to designate a central new home for items you find strewn about the house, and keep them there.

Leave it to the experts!

Pickfords’ declutter service does the hard work for you. Whether you’re moving house and preparing for property viewings or simply in need of a tidy up, our team will pack and wrap any items you need cleared from your home and deliver them to your nearest storage warehouse until you need them again.


To find out how Pickfords can help you declutter your home, click here to contact us or speak to your local branch on 0800 019 8557.

How decluttering can help you sell your home

Sofa Set

If you’re looking to sell your property, you’ll want to do everything in your power to increase the chances of finding a buyer. One significant way to maximise interest in your home is by ridding it of clutter: all that unsorted paperwork, children’s toys, clothes and shoes you no longer wear, old CDs, DVDs and books; anything that might be a distraction to potential buyers at the viewing stage.

So how can declutting help you sell your home?

 1. Potential buyers will picture themselves living there

One thing that can throw people off when looking round a property struggling to visualise themselves living in it. You may have spent years accumulating all manner of knick knacks and possessions that make your house feel like a home, but if the abundance of ‘stuff’ prevents viewers from picturing themselves in the space, this may harm a potential sale. On the other hand, a tidy home with visible floors surfaces will help prospective buyers to see themselves living there.

2. It helps showcase the property’s best features

Decluttering allows your property’s best features to shine through; freeing your viewing space of clutter will help potential buyers to notice elements of your home that might be a tipping point in the buyer’s decision-making process.

At the same time, it stops buyers from wondering if there are any serious issues hiding beneath the clutter, or thinking that the home doesn’t have adequate storage space, which can be high on their list of priorities.

3. It demonstrates the potential of each room

After accumulating more and more belongings over the years, your may find your storage space has started to run out, and that certain rooms in your house have become inadvertent storage rooms, such as that study you no longer use, or a child’s bedroom after they have left home.

Removing the clutter from these rooms allows prospective buyers to see them used for their original purpose, and gets them thinking how they might utilise them if they purchased the property.

Pickfords: helping you declutter

If you’re looking to sell your home but have a problem with clutter, Pickfords can help. As part of our declutter storage service, we arrange for a removal team to visit your home and help you to pack unwanted items before delivering them to one of our storage facilities. Once you have moved to your new home, our team will safely transport your belongings back to you.

If you are looking to remove clutter more permanently, Pickfords also provide a clothes collection service in partnership with Clothes Aid, raising money for the NSPCC by collecting your unwanted clothes and shoes to be recycled.