Downsizing your home is a great way to save money or unlock a bit of equity from your property. If you have raised kids in a large family home, then you might find yourself with too much space on your hands after your children move away. Alternatively, you may want to downsize so that you can move to a different area: often moving to a more expensive neighbourhood is possible if you’re willing to live in a smaller property.
Whatever your reasons, downsizing can make sound financial sense. If you own your home outright then it will leave you with some excess cash to save or put towards other life expenses. You’ll also find that the monthly costs associated with running a home – things like fuel bills and maintenance – are lower when your house is smaller.
Clearing the clutter
The first thing to do when you’re planning to downsize is to clear out the clutter that’s accumulated throughout your life. From clothes to books to bric-a-brac, having a good sort through the cupboards will usually turn up a lot of unnecessary items. Stuff that’s in good condition can be donated to charity, and for things that are broken or otherwise unsellable, a trip to the tip will allow you to recycle a lot and scrap the rest.
For most people, though, clearing out is easier said than done. While you can probably get rid of a certain amount of your clutter, there will also be lots that you want to hang onto. This can be even more of an issue for empty nesters, who often find that their adult children want to leave some of their childhood belongings at home. This is where self storage becomes an invaluable tool to help with downsizing.
How self storage can help
Self storage is a flexible and relatively inexpensive way to store any furniture or home goods that you want to set aside while you move into a smaller home. It can help if you want to set items aside for your children or grandchildren or keep things for a rainy day – some people use self storage if their new property isn’t going to have a garage.
It has a range of other benefits too:
- Cost effective. Self storage is a lot cheaper than continuing to live in a home that’s too big for your needs. If the only thing stopping you from moving is a collection of stuff, then consider how much is needed on a daily basis.
- Prioritise your life. Clearing out is hard, and many of us fall into the trap of keeping items because we’re not sure if we’ll need them in the future. In this case, consider putting things into self storage. Then, after a year, if you haven’t used it yet it’s time to get rid. You can also try the 15×15 rule: if you’re not sure you need something, and you could replace it for under £15 in less than 15 minutes then it needs to go.
- Make a temporary move. Self storage can be a particularly practical solution if you’re only downsizing temporarily, as it means that all of your belongings will be waiting for you when you’re ready to move back into a bigger space. For instance, if you’re planning on renting a smaller property (or one that’s already furnished) while waiting for your dream house to come on the market, self storage could definitely help out.
- Get seasonal items out of the way. Christmas decorations and summer garden furniture are expensive to throw out, but a pain to store when they’re not in use. These kinds of items can be locked away in storage for most of the year, and retrieved when you actually need them.
If you decide that self storage could help you downsize effectively, then it’s time to start thinking about how much space you need. The experts over at Stop and Store have put together a space calculator to help you work out exactly what the dimensions of your storage solution should be. They’ll consider your specific reason for needing storage, as well as the type of items that you’re looking to store and give you suggestions as well as cost estimates. This should put you in the perfect position to start talking to your friendly local storage suppliers about the different options that are available.