What You Should Know Before You Downsize and Declutter Your Home

Most people consider downsizing at some point in their lives – usually as they approach retirement. When the kids have moved out and had kids of their own, it can only seem logical to many that the unused space could be better used converted into more money to supplement your finances to enjoy your time in retirement. 

Reasons for downsizing can come in many forms. The most popular is retirement, however, younger generations are deciding to take smaller homes in smaller towns in lieu of costly bills. Tiny homes have also grown in popularity and have provided economic and environmentally friendly ways of living. As well, there’s an extra happiness factor that comes with getting rid of the stressful clutter that doesn’t bring us peace. 

Why not move to a smaller home to be able to:

  • Pay off a mortgage or other outstanding debt at retirement.


  • Save money to use elsewhere, such as travelling.


  • Save time on house cleaning and yard work.


  • Cut monthly hydro, electricity, and other upkeep bills.

The steps to downsizing can get a little complicated, especially when you factor in moving and other costs associated with the change in setting. Although only half of the baby boomers admit to wanting to downsize as they age, the pressure of younger families hoping to find homes during a housing crisis can put some pressure on parents to rethink their plans. 

Regardless of why you may be thinking about a downsize, here are some important steps to remember. We’ve also provided you with an easy step-by-step process to decluttering that will help you organize before your small move while also keeping those accumulated memories with you (while taking up less space).  

The Cost of Downsizing in Canada

31% of homeowners don’t realize how much it actually costs to downsize. Your first thought when downsizing is probably the idea of gaining a substantial amount of money when selling a larger home of more value for something smaller, such as a condo, apartment, or townhome. There can be, however, costs and downsides to downsizing that you should keep in mind. 

  • There are often costs associated with preparing your current house for the market, such as painting, repairs, and some renovations.


  • There can be costs for decluttering the household items you no longer need. If you don’t have space, but can’t force yourself to part with some sentimental pieces, you could be paying a hefty monthly bill for a storage unit.


  • Moving expenses, including legal fees, land transfer tax, and real estate commissions.


  • The cost of living at your new home, such as condo fees that can quickly add up to even $1,200 per month.


  • The emotional costs of possibly needing to change towns to find a smaller home, leaving behind neighbours, friends and the many memories made in your long-term home.


  • There could also be health costs to downsizing, such as leaving behind a backyard or garden that got you outside and moving. 

For many, the need or want to downsize outweighs the costs. The thought of living smaller does have its advantages and can be a pretty decent way to live. The savings over time can also become a welcomed benefit. When and if you do decide to downsize, remember…

Make a Proper Plan and Commit to It

You can get a better idea of how much you need to downsize by visiting your new home and measuring the space. Look at each room and take the idea of your space back to your belongings. 

  • Start with the biggest furniture first. Will you be able to fit two couches in your new home? Do you need that extra bookshelf? Without a guest room, you don’t necessarily need two beds. Once you’ve narrowed down the big stuff, you can start purging the smaller things you don’t need – such as books you haven’t looked at in years.
  • Go one room at a time and do a little each day leading up to the move. If you need to, allow yourself a few boxes per room only to keep. The rest get donated or sold. Giving yourself a limit will let you better decide what actually means something to you to save compared to others.
  • If it helps, separate your belongings into “yes” and “no” piles. If you haven’t used something in over a year and it has no sentimental value to you, put it in the “no” pile. If it’s something you’re actually going to use in the next few years, consider the “yes” pile but don’t start a “maybe” pile. Things will only get more cluttered and confusing if you do.
  • If you have multiples of things, get rid of all but one. This goes for china sets, books, movies, toasters, etc.
  • Scan photos or take pictures of items that have value to you. Digitizing all your albums can clear up quite a bit of space. Consider passing on those treasured mementos to family members (children, grandchildren, etc) who can give new life to them. They’ll treasure these items because they mean something to you – and you won’t have to feel bad about storing them or getting rid of them.

Are you looking for a home in Kingston to downsize into? Check out our downsizing manual or reach out for a conversation with the Real Estate Reimagined team today to find out what’s available within your budget. 

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