Sometimes less is truly more. So don’t make the mistake of looking at downsizing as “doing without.” There are plenty of upsides to downsizing. But without the right mindset and plan of action, you might find yourself feeling pretty overwhelmed. Taking small steps can help ensure that your downsizing journey won’t get out of hand. After all, the goal is to simplify your life across the board—not add more worries to your plate.

Rule No. 1 – Downsize with Purpose

Gearing up for any type of move can be full of tough decisions and a lengthy to-do list. And downsizing, in particular, will often raise its own set of challenges. By moving to a smaller space, you can’t realistically take everything you already own and expect it to fit within the flow of your new home. You need to stay focused on what should stay vs what needs to go.

The first step when you’re downsizing is to have the right attitude. Downsizing presents an excellent opportunity to align your living space with your current lifestyle and priorities. Not only that, you’ve got to consider your future aspirations too! Before you start packing, be sure to take some time to think about how you’ll utilize the space in your new, downsized home. This is especially crucial if you’re downsizing in preparation for retirement or to age in place. Getting clear about your long-term vision can make a big difference for how you approach the process of decluttering and saying goodbye to certain pieces of furniture.

Rule No. 2 – Define the Essentials

What truly adds value to your life? As you sort through your belongings, this might not always be clear. To gain some clarity as you downsize, it might help to ask yourself what you would replace if everything you owned was lost in a fire. This exercise helps you distinguish between items that are genuinely important and those you could live without.

There are likely a handful of items that you’ve been keeping just as backups in case of an unlikely scenario. For example, that extra mattress sitting in the garage. Does that really need to make the move? While it might have seemed prudent to hold onto in the past, it might be time to part ways. Selling any “extras” can be a great way to generate some new funds. Or you can donate them to a charitable organization. Even if they no longer serve a purpose for you, they could make a real difference in the life of someone else.

Rule No. 3 – Enjoy Your Rewards

The things you’ve been living with and have enjoyed for years may no longer serve you or make sense in your new home. When evaluating what to move, try not to let your emotions overrule your logic. The property layout, room dimensions, and even the width of doorways might quickly rule out the option of moving a large sofa or dresser. Remember the big picture.

You want to create a home that reflects your values and brings you joy. Take your time to sort through your belongings, making deliberate decisions about what to keep, sell, or donate. By letting go of unnecessary possessions, you’ll be giving yourself a more comfortable, functional environment. There’s a certain type of freedom that comes with letting go of what’s no longer needed. Make this new chapter something to celebrate!