Upholstered sofa in pewter with ottoman



In this post, we cover the 7 steps on how to successfully downsize from the family home to a smaller living space.

Back in 2017, we worked with a wonderful client who decided to sell the family home and move into a two-bedroom apartment close to the city. We initially thought the whole process to be a real challenge but our client managed to work through this transitional phase of scaling down with good spirits and efficiency.

Following their experience on this life-changing move; we decided to cover the essential steps in succeeding in moving into a smaller 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 large entertainment area.


How to deal with furniture, books, clothes, photos, art and small decorative pieces.


The process of working room by room in your home at a sensible pace is a great way to start decluttering and scaling down successfully.

Working one room per week or one room per month if time is on your side, this process will boost your productivity. Above all, it will keep you sane during this exercise.

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

Our first onsite visit to the family home was to prepare the home for the real estate market.

During this initial process, we advised our clients on which furniture to keep.

We highlighted which to remove from the property. This step starts the real process of decluttering.

Moving to a smaller space with existing large and heavy pieces of furniture, for example, a chest of drawers or buffet will be a miss-fit in the new interior.

These pieces will create new clutter and 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 or donating furniture

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

Other selling platforms are 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 to 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.

Keeping What’s Sentimental

Keeping furniture that has a sentimental value is important, donating pieces in the hope of extending the life is a great feeling too; 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 clients.

Starting with bookcases, our suggestion is to keep books to a minimum.

Save books that are only in good condition. Novels and encyclopaedias are space invaders and need to be donated, don’t throw your books in the bin, place an advertising post on the Facebook marketplace for example. I’ve seen some great artworks and creative ideas made from old books, dictionaries and encyclopaedias.

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

Now is the time to work on your personal wardrobe.

Separate your winter from 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 store the summer/winter clothing 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 of.

BEDLINEN – Apply the same step as for clothing, keep the linen that fits your bed and that is in good condition.

Display of family portrait photos
A display of family photographs

Organising boxes of loose photos, yes we all have them!

Snaps that were taken over the years, have never made it into the family photo albums.

Chop the duplicate photos, after that step, keep your original photos in a secure box.

Once comfortably established in your new abode, organising photos is a fantastic project to work on.

Existing photos can be digitalised and kept on a disc or a USB key. Printed photo albums from an 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

It’s sad to say but after years of having the same artworks on your walls, we tend to stop admiring them.

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, work on which piece of art you wish to keep and refurbish. Selecting the right style and colour of frame finish to an existing work of art will enhance the look of your new space as well as your artwork!

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

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


To get started on the task, we have created a room planner for you to use, print one sheet per room or as many as you need for your task.

Fill the planner with the list of furniture and decoratives you have in each room. Recording the description, size and condition of each item will make it easy to activate the right decision and action to take, whether to keep it, donate or sell it.

Room Planner PDF


Are you ready to downsize from your current home?

Find out how our clients have settled into their new abode…

We would be more than happy to help you make this transition successfully.

Please GET IN TOUCH for a friendly chat.

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