There are a lot of reasons why people might consider downsizing from a house to an apartment. A smaller home means fewer home expenses every month, fewer rooms to clean, and generally less stuff to take care of. While you won’t have as much home to enjoy, you might find that you have more of a budget for traveling or other hobbies. While the dream of downsizing can be nice, it might be overwhelming to think about how to actually get there. With a strategy, you can make this dream a reality in no time.
Unless you already live in a tiny home, chances are that to downsize to an apartment you’ll need to get rid of a lot of stuff. Decluttering is best-tackled one room at a time and one category of items at a time. You might find it easiest, for example, to start with the bathroom and go through toiletries that you aren’t using and can throw out. Or start with a closet and donate old clothes. Working room by room, and setting a timer for even just one hour can get the job done in no time. If you are having a hard time deciding what to keep and what to say goodbye to, Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of keeping only those items that “spark joy” can help you make difficult decisions about what to keep.
Visualize your dream apartment
Do you want to move from the suburbs to the city, or see yourself with a cottage or beach house in your favorite resort town? Before you start getting serious about your next home, make a list of the qualities that you are seeking in your dream apartment, to help you decide your priorities about where you want to live. Think about factors like access to public transportation and parking, nightlife, or any other features that matter to you. Decide how many bedrooms you need and what kind of amenities matter most for you in a home. You can dream big here and then narrow down your list later.
Create a budget and decide if you will rent or buy
After you’ve created your list, then it’s time to start thinking realistically about your budget and where it aligns with your dream list. If you are selling a home first, then the proceeds from the sale can factor into your budget. You will also want to consider how your expenses will change after you downsize, such as property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance. If you have a lot of furniture, some of this could be sold — for example on a website like Craigslist — to factor into your new apartment fund. Think about whether you want to rent or buy, too. While renting can be less of a long-term commitment, buying can be an investment that can pay off in the future.
Study the market
To know how your budget aligns with real homes, you’ll want to start studying the market. Keep in mind that markets are constantly in flux and you may want to start your research as soon as you start thinking about making the move. You can also consult with real estate agents in your area who can advise you about what’s available within your budget.
Downsizing to an apartment can give you a lot of freedom, but it’s a move that takes planning. By having a clear understanding of what you want, you’ll be on the road to that carefree lifestyle in no time.