How to Downsize Into an Apartment

Moving into your first apartment can be a challenge, but there are checklists galore for stocking up on furniture, kitchen equipment, and other household supplies. What about when, for the first time in ages, you have to downsize into an apartment from a house or other large space? Whereas buying a bunch of new things for your first apartment can be fun (but expensive), condensing a house’s worth of objects into a 500-square-foot apartment is often stressful and sometimes emotional. Here’s how to downsize into an apartment while keeping the objects that mean the most to you and make your apartment life easier without occupying much space.

Start with an inventory

The mere thought of having to downsize into an apartment can be overwhelming. How will you find the time and the energy to take stock of all your belongings? How can you properly organize them and transport them from your big house to your modest apartment? To get around these fears, start by creating an inventory of everything you own. Break open your laptop and start a spreadsheet that lists all your items and the quantity of each that you own. You may also want to create additional columns for how many of each item you plan to get rid of or keep.

Measure your new apartment

It might not look like you can fit your giant dresser in your new apartment, but if you measure your new apartment before moving in, you might be surprised. That tight space between your front door and your staircase might be just the right size to fit that dresser, atop which you can put your big TV, sentimental objects such as photos, and other decorative items. Alternatively, if you find out that keeping your queen bed will take up too much of your new apartment’s precious floor space, you might want to downgrade to a full or even a twin bed (or get a lofted full bed so you can have ample sleeping space and floor space).

Trim the fat

Now that you’ve made an inventory and measured your new apartment, you know what you can’t or simply don’t want to keep, so get rid of it. You’ll inevitably wind up throwing out certain objects, but you should put together a plan to sell, donate, or recycle other items. Not only can selling items earn you extra money that you can put toward moving expenses, but just as with donating and recycling, selling objects keeps them out of landfills and decreases your contributions to the world’s ever-worsening trash problem

Use space-saving items

Even if you sell, donate, and recycle many items you don’t need before you downsize into an apartment, you’ll still need ways to store the objects you keep in a space smaller than you’re used to. If your new home lacks closet space, kitchen cabinets, or other storage fixtures, replace your furniture with inbuilt storage options and supplement these pieces with other multi-purpose items. Installing wall shelves or buying kitchen or bathroom storage racks can also help you make the most of a smaller space.

Begin now

When it comes to downsizing, it’s never too early to start. You’ll need ample mental, physical, and emotional perseverance to power through the stresses of taking an inventory, measuring your entire new apartment, getting rid of your old belongings, and moving into your new apartment. The sooner you begin, the less stress you’ll face, as even without downsizing, moving is among the most stressful life events. Begin now to feel better later.

What tips do you have for downsizing into an apartment? Share your advice in the comments!

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