Moving from a home into an apartment

Read the 7 steps on how to successfully downsize from the family home into a two bedroom apartment

In 2017 we worked with a wonderful client who decided to sell the family home and move into a 2 bedroom apartment close to the city. We initially thought the whole process to be a real challenge. Our client managed to work through this transitional phase with good spirits and efficiency.

Following their experience in downsizing from the family home; we decided to cover the essentials steps in succeeding in moving into a smaller space.

In this post, we cover 7 steps on how to successfully downsize from the family home to a smaller living space. Patience, decision-making and a clear mind are required. These elements can be overwhelming in planning to downsize from the family home. Following these steps will add clarity to the whole process.

Family room and lounge area with brick wall and timber panelling
The family home |Our client’s entertainment area.

Step 1 | Working Room by Room

The process of working room by room at a steady pace is a great way to start decluttering. One room per week, this process will boost your productivity. Above all, it will keep you sane during this exercise.

Steps 2 to 7 cover how to deal with furniture, books, clothes, photos, art and small decorative pieces.

modern lounge room with blue sofa
Our client spacious lounge room in their new apartment.

Step 2 | Furniture what to keep?

Back in 2017 we presented and staged the family home of our beautiful clients for the real estate market. During this initial process, we advised them which furniture to keep. We highlighted which to remove from the property. This step starts the real process of decluttering.

Large and heavy piece of furniture, for example, a chest of drawers or buffet will be a miss-fit for the new space. These pieces will create new clutter as will be unpractical in a smaller room. Asking other family members if they wish to have a favourite piece to keep is a starting point.

Selling furniture is the first option. Auction house like Lawsons Auctioneers in Sydney is a good way to salvage your loved pieces.

Another selling platform is through the likes of Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

Do you have some IKEA furniture? Who hasn’t! IKEA is launching a take-back of items that are in good condition. It’s a great initiative from this giant of interior solutions. IKEA is leading in the way of becoming a sustainable brand. Not all IKEA stores offer this service, as it’s a trialling concept stage. In Sydney, you can contact the Tempe store, which does offer this service.

Donate furniture. Extending the life of your loved pieces is a great feeling knowing that it will be put to good use. The last resort is to place items in a storage unit. It can be a short-term solution but it could become costly in the long run. Only keep pieces that are in top condition; broken and unusable pieces are to go!

Organised and styled bookshelf
An organised and styled bookshelf for one of our client.

Step 3 | Books

Starting with bookcases, our suggestion is to keep books to a minimum. Save books that are only in good condition. Novels and encyclopedias are space invaders and need to be donated.

walking wardrobe
A custom joinery walking wardrobe, photo from containerstore.com

Step 4 | Clothing

Now is the time to work on your personal wardrobe. Separate your winter to your summer garment. Keep what fits only, live in the moment and not in the past. Keep for the time being the clothing that is in seasons and stores the summer/winter clothe in vacuum-sealed bags. Donate all unwanted good clothing. Some second-hand shops specialise in recycling designer clothing. Type on your internet browser “donate second-hand clothes near me”…. a long list of businesses will show on screen looking for exactly what you are letting go.

Display of framed photos
A display of family photographs

Step 5 | Photos

Who doesn’t have boxes of loose photos? Snaps that were taken over the years, which have never made it into the family photo albums. Chop the duplicate photos, after that step keep your original photos in a secure box. Organising photos is a fantastic project to work on once you are comfortably established in your new abode. Existing photos can be digitalised and kept on disk. Printed photo albums from online store are such a lovely way to organise your memories.

Dining space with framed artworks on wall
A fun way to group and display arts, photo from Better Homes & Gardens

Step 6 | Art

It’s sad to say but after years of having the same artworks on your walls, we tend to stop admiring it. We ignore it until it’s time to take that art off the wall for the big move. With the years gone by, framed artwork can deteriorate. Humidity and varied weather conditions have an effect on the best art pieces too. Keep the most sentimental and valued art pieces. Pack your artworks in an appropriate storage box.

Once established in your new home it is then that you work on which piece to keep and refurbish. Giving it a new life that will match with your new décor. When we design a home we always take into consideration the art pieces. We select art during the concept stage and we hang it last when all the furniture is in place.

Floating timber shelves with china and vases
Show off your pottery, glassware and china, photo from anthropologie.com

Step 7 | Decorative

China, porcelain wares and glassware are considered decorative. Often these items are passed down from generation to generation. Decorative has an important place in personalising an interior, it defines who we are, and each piece often has a story to tell. Place your decoratives on display instead of the cupboard. Use clusters of vases with fresh flowers for an instant uplift to your home.

Bring the best china to the table even for everyday use, now is the time to live with your best ware and enjoy it!

Please find out how our clients have settled into their new abode…