Downsizing Moving House Checklist


Moving house is a daunting task for anyone. When you find yourself needing to look for a smaller space the moving house to do list only seems to grow. Suddenly the whole task seems to be about throwing away meaningful pieces and leaving behind your family and friends.

But don’t worry! For most downsizers the process is actually extremely therapeutic. Ridding yourself of unwanted clutter only makes you realise what you do have to treasure. So embrace the opportunity you have been given. We have created a straightforward downsizing moving house checklist so that you can make the most of this move and not cost yourself in time, money or stress.

1) Decide what stays and what goes

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Okay, this sounds a lot more worrying that it really is. Do not try to take this on in one go, you will wear yourself out and find that you make really poor decisions. We recommend you get family and friends to help you with the tough choices and above all, stay organised!

- Sort your items into Keep, Give Away, Return, Recycle, Donate, Leave for Later and Throw Away (you want to keep this last one to an absolute minimum)
- Keep track of your choices by tagging items in the house discretely and making notes in a notebook. As always, colour codes are your friend!
- We recommend that you use the ‘last used’ method for objectivity; if you haven’t used the item in the last year it goes

Top Tip: Keep sentimental items, particularly small ones. How are you supposed to fall in love with your new home if you have none of your favourite pieces?

- Take your house on room-by-room. Try setting aside one or two afternoons per week to declutter and reward yourself for completing the harder areas

2) Plan the layout of your new home
This is an amazing opportunity to build your dream home. Have you always wanted to go monochrome? Or find hidden storage spaces under your staircase? Now is your chance.

- Obtain or draw a to-scale floor plan, making sure that doors, windows and ceiling lights are clearly marked
- Colour code each room and get large stickers of these colours (these will go on your packed boxes so that your removal company can unpack the van with minimal supervision)
- See where your larger items of furniture (e.g. sofas, beds, bookcases) will go in each room. If they are too large, try to sell them on and use that money to buy items that will fit in the space
- Think about what storage is already installed (e.g. kitchen cupboards, wardrobes) and what will be able to fit in those spaces

3) Let people know of your change of address

It can be easy here to forget important recipients. Keep a notebook on you, or take notes on your phone, if you remember another person or organisation that would need to know your address.

Top Tip: Consider getting change of address cards made. These can be lovely to receive for friends and family, especially if they keep a card-copy address book. They will also make notifying forgotten individuals a lot easier.

- Send notices to friends and family. If you are going to throw a going-away or house-warming party, send invitations with the new address on instead
- Let local organisations and services know. This should include: your bank, your doctor, newspaper and magazine providers, insurance/ pension agents, any lawyer or accountant, your place of worship and so on
- Let affected governmental organisations know. This should include: HMRC, the Post Office (not strictly governmental anymore, but nevertheless), voter registration, DVLA and so on

4) Go through your paperwork


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Here is the big whammy. Everyone accumulates old scraps of paper in every nook and cranny and leaves them there because the very thought of filtering out the important snippets is overwhelming. But, like we said, everyone has been here. Find a sympathetic friend, family member or fellow mover to give you a hand. Even something as little as a tea break every half hour will make this so much easier on you.

- Consult with an accountant, lawyer or friend with experience in this area over what needs to be retained for record-keeping purposes. Make an exhaustive list so you don’t accidentally chuck out something vital. This will put your mind at rest if nothing else
- Take this opportunity to file away all essential paperwork in an orderly manner. Everything should be in one concertina file, box folder or something similar to ensure that nothing goes astray. This should include: deeds, wills, powers of attorney, medical records, diplomas/ degrees, birth certificates, insurance documents and passports
- Shred or recycle (as appropriate) everything that you are not taking with you

Top Tip: Have some fun with this. There is no reason why you can’t organise paperwork while wearing a recycled paper hat or throwing carefully-built paper aeroplanes into a distant target. Let your inner kid out!

- Place everything into a small box. This will be extremely heavy so the smaller the box, the better

5) Go through all your medical and chemical items
The most important thing to remember here is that these cannot just be thrown away; anything unwanted or expired must be disposed of properly. Drugs can be given in to a pharmacist to dispose of, while chemicals (such as bleaches, pesticides and car batteries) need to be taken care of by a hazardous waste collector. These you can search for by postcode on the website.

- Consider what medicine you do really need. Everyday essentials are a must and versatile items such as alcohol wipes and bandages are necessary anyway. However, emergency provisions are unnecessary and a waste of cabinet space
- Some removal companies will not transport chemicals; check with the one you have booked with first. Beyond that, only take the bare minimum

6) Sort through your old photos

Some people recommend that you do this in your new house. However, if money is an issue with your move this could drastically increase the number of heavy boxes you have to pack. Not to mention that it is a lovely way to start your new home, with perfectly organised photo albums ready to go on shelves.

- Decide whether you want hardcopies of everything. Save the ones that you don’t onto CDs or a hard drive and back them up on the cloud
- Dispose of all duplicates, blurry images or destroyed copies
- Write the name of the people, the occasion and the date on the back of every photo. Ones where you can’t remember most or all of the above probably do not need to be kept
- Create very simple photo albums in chronological order with separate ones for important events (such as weddings, graduations and so on)

Top Tip: Do this with your family and friends. Photos you don’t want they may well do. This is also a great way to bring back some fond memories.

7) Packing up
Senior Couple Unpacking Boxes from Car

Do this as you go, if you can pack up and entire room weeks before moving that is ideal. It is extremely stressful trying to pack up everything the evening before a move and it will only leave you exhausted on your move day. You want to pack as little the night before as possible.

- Keep a list of all the items that have gone into each box and label them with the room followed by a number. This way you will know which order to unpack everything in
- Stick a colour coded sticker onto each box that matches a colour coded floor plan. Give this to your removal company so that they can unpack without you watching over every stage
- Make a box specifically for items you will need in the day of and after the move. This should include: bedding, toiletries, toilet paper, towels, a change of clothes, pyjamas, scissors, a torch, a kettle and some tea bags and milk
- Pack a separate bag with important documents and items that will be helpful on the day of the move. The should include: your check book, a phone charger (portable if possible), address book, important documents, key to the new home, notebook and a pen (and a spare).

Top Tip: Have some imagination with what you bring by your side. Think about the items you wished you had on every road trip. We recommend chocolate, an instant coffee sachet, hand wipes, aspirin and a water bottle.

Our last and final piece of advice for a secure home move? Say hello to your new neighbours, it’s the easiest way to start making new friends in your new home. If you have any other tips for a downsizing home move, please leave a comment at the end of the post.

If you are looking for a trusted removals company to make your move to a small place simple and hassle free, book today with Buzzmove.


One thought on “Downsizing Moving House Checklist

  1. Ria B. Hubbel

    Downsizing your house and moving for a smaller one may look like you are suffering from a financial distress but then you can always sell unwanted clothes and stuffs instead of leaving them behind your new house or throwing them away.

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