Senior Move Partnership: Top 10 Tips for Tackling Downsizing

Audley Villages are proud to offer home owners expert advice from our partners, downsizing experts The Senior Move Partnership. Amanda Fyfe and Michelle Park - Directors at Senior Move Partnership Ltd - have kindly shared some key top tips below.

Downsizing and moving on to a new chapter in life can and should be a positive and liberating experience, but often the decluttering and downsizing element of the process is the most daunting for the client.

Our top 10 tips for tackling downsizing:

1. Write a list of your favourite possessions. Choose a few must-keeps from each room and it will gradually become clearer which items are less important.

2. If possible, sort and cut down gradually over a period of weeks or months. A cupboard or drawer a day perhaps, so that it feels manageable.

3. Try the ‘four boxes’ technique. Label them keep, sell, donate and tip and sort accordingly. You can always move items from one box to another until you are happy with your decision.

4. Start at the top and work down. The attic or loft is most likely the place where many possessions are simply in storage. Start here and work on the basis that if something hasn’t been used or needed for ages then it could be discarded.

5. Items of memorabilia can be offered to family and friends who may be interested. If they don’t want them, the items can safely be sold or donated to charity.

6. Consider the floor plan of the rooms in the new home and compare them with the size of a room in the existing home. This way you can work out which items of furniture will fit, and which can be sold or donated.

7. Cut down on numbers, especially in the kitchen and dining room. Will you be entertaining? Will you be eating out more? This might enable you to reduce cutlery, crockery, pans and cooking utensils you take to the new property.

8. Take the best of everything to the new home and (especially if it has always been kept only for best), start to enjoy using it!

9. Use the ‘is it unique or special’ tactic. An original painting is going to be worth keeping over and above a familiar print, a classic hardback book over a recent paperback thriller for example.

10. What else won’t be needed in the new home? Have you still got a video recorder or record player? Is it worth keeping those LPs, cassettes or videos if there is no longer the ability to play them? The lawnmower may be redundant too if someone else will be handling gardening at the new place.

The Senior Move Partnership often find that it is simply the time spent with someone going through this downsizing process which helps ensure a positive move.

At Senior Move Partnership, we quickly build a relationship with clients as they prepare for the move – we work as a team just like a family member or friend would do, sharing the workload but keeping the client focused on the task at hand. Having a friendly person to chat with while sorting through possessions makes it a lot less overwhelming and people are always delighted at how quickly and easily downsizing can be when we work with them.

"We don’t have any emotional attachment to their belongings in the way a family member might have, so we are able to help get this practical job done and make it a rewarding experience.” 

Amanda Fyfe, Director, Senior Move Partnership Ltd

When working with clients to downsize, the most important point to note is that the decisions made are the client’s. We provide advice and guidance but ultimately, if the client is keen to keep a collection of something or items of furniture, that is their choice.

The client is always in control, our job is to work sensitively to find a solution and a home for the important items.

Many things get uncovered during the process which have been forgotten or unused for many years, and quite often go to the new home as they fall into the ‘I’ll keep that just in case’ category. Again, we work to find storage solutions.

Over the years we have unearthed some gems when downsizing. For example, long forgotten paintings in lofts which have made money at auction, collections of chamber pots, original and valuable Star Wars figures, a rare vase in the back of a kitchen cupboard, a dusty clock which fetched over £3k, rare interwar marketing metal signs, first press LPs… every day is different for us when working with clients.

It is a pleasure to listen to their stories while we work; telling the tale of where an item originated from can often help someone make the decision to let it go. Every move will have an element of downsizing, for many clients this is the catalyst to ask themselves

“Do I still need this item, or could the new space be used differently?”

Historically, clients might have used a spare room for a stamp, map or book collection or arts and crafts, but now rooms may need to be dual purpose – a spare room when planned properly can be a study, guest and hobby room.

Sometimes the challenge can be lots of clothing and hobby related items, then there may be clients working from home who need a space to work. Others may have golf clubs, garden equipment and tools often stored in garages, which need a new home.

Everyone has different requirements and over the many years that we have supported Audley Villages, our professional advice and practical hands-on support has found solutions.

By Michelle Park, Director, Senior Move Partnership Ltd

Should you wish to find out more about how Senior Move could help you declutter and simplify your move, please feel free to call the team at Audley Villages and we can arrange a visit.