How-to March 2, 2023

How to Downsize for a Move and Make Room for What Matters

Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

Whether you’re relocating across town or moving internationally, the process can be challenging and stressful. The key to a smooth transition lies in learning how to downsize for a move effectively. Learn practical tips and insights to help declutter your life, prioritize your belongings, and create a more manageable move.

How to Downsize for a Move and Focus on What Truly Matters in Your New Home

Embarking on the journey of downsizing for a move can be tough, especially when moving across the world. It’s a time to carefully consider your possessions, decide what to keep and what to let go of and focus on what truly matters in your new home. By doing so, you’ll make relocating easier and create a fresh start in a more meaningful living space.

Breaking the language barrier and adapting to a new culture are significant challenges of relocating internationally. Amid such a significant transition, prioritize the objects and belongings that will help you build connections, establish your new home, and support your personal growth.

Begin by setting clear goals and establishing a timeline. This will help you stay organized and focused on the task at hand. Assess your belongings and categorize them into three groups: essentials, sentimental items, and items to let go of.

When sorting through your possessions, consider their functional value and emotional significance. Keep items that serve a practical purpose, bring joy, or hold sentimental value. Consider your new home’s space limitations and the costs of shipping or storing items. By doing so, you can strike a balance between practicality and sentimentality.

Lastly, explore various methods for letting go of the items you no longer need. This may include donating, selling, or recycling. By finding new homes for your belongings, you’ll contribute to a more sustainable and mindful lifestyle.

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Assessing Your Belongings When Moving Overseas

Moving overseas comes with the challenge of deciding what to pack and determining your relocation essentials. To make the process smoother and more manageable, it’s crucial to carefully assess your belongings and prioritize what to bring with you on your international journey.

Take Inventory of Your Possessions

Before diving into the packing process, create a moving abroad checklist to keep track of your belongings and mitigate relocation anxiety. Start by taking inventory of everything you own, from furniture to clothing to kitchenware. This comprehensive list will serve as a valuable tool for deciding what to bring with you and what to leave behind.

Divide and Conquer

Once you have a complete inventory, categorize your belongings into different groups, such as must-haves, items that can be replaced, and those that can be sold, donated, or discarded. This division will help you visualize the scope of your move and identify the items that should be prioritized in the attempt to move efficiently.

Identify Items of Value, Sentiment, and Utility

As you prepare to move to another country, focus on three main criteria when assessing your belongings: value, sentiment, and utility. High-value items, such as essential documents, electronics, and heirlooms, should be carefully packed and accounted for.

Sentimental items, like family photos and keepsakes, should be considered for their emotional significance and ability to help you feel connected to your roots. Lastly, focus on practical items like clothing appropriate for the local climate and versatile pieces of furniture.

Packing list for moving internationally
Creating a packaging list will resolve most of your dilemmas on what to pack and get rid of

Sorting and Categorizing Items to Keep or Get Rid Of

Sorting and categorizing helps you avoid last-minute moving stress and ensure you don’t overlook essential tasks or items—things you forget to do when you move can often cause unnecessary complications. By prioritizing items that align with your lifestyle and values, you’ll create a more organized and efficient move.

Start by Decluttering

Before categorizing items, declutter your living space. Go through each room and separate your belongings into categories: items to keep, items to donate or sell, and items to discard. This way, you’ll have a clearer view of what you truly need and what no longer serves a purpose in your life.

Consider Your New Living Space

When sorting and categorizing, think about the size and layout of your new living space. Will your current furniture fit comfortably, or will it be necessary to downsize? By considering your new home’s dimensions, you can make informed decisions about which items to keep and which to let go of.

Evaluate Lifestyle and Values

Prioritize items that align with your current lifestyle and values. This may include clothing that suits your everyday activities, frequently used kitchenware, and books and hobbies that contribute to your personal growth. By focusing on what genuinely matters, you’ll create a living environment that supports your goals and well-being.

Create a System for Categorizing

You can create a system for categorizing your belongings, like using color-coded labels or designated boxes for different categories. For example, green labels can be for items to keep, yellow for items to donate or sell, and red for items to discard. A clear categorization system will help you stay organized and make packing more manageable. You can also try the 4-container method.

Plan for Last-Minute Items

Lastly, list last-minute items you’ll need to pack or address before your move. These may include essential documents, medication, toiletries, and a few changes in clothes. By planning, you’ll avoid the stress of forgotten items and ensure a smoother relocation day.

The woman from the video below lists as many as sixty-seven things you can throw out of your home right now – and never look back. Her tips are divided by rooms and have a short reasoning and overview attached. Watch this video to help you declutter effectively.

How to Downsize When Moving to a Country With Different Values and Lifestyle

Going to a country with different values and lifestyle presents unique challenges, especially when downsizing your possessions. From relocating to a different climate to navigating new cultural norms, there are several factors to consider when deciding what to bring on your international journey.

Here are some tips on what to do before relocating to a very different place.

  • Research the local culture and lifestyle – take the time to research the local culture, customs, and lifestyle in your destination country. Familiarize yourself with social norms, dress codes, and the general way of life.
  • Consider climate and weather conditions – if you’re relocating from a cold to a warm climate, you may need to downsize your winter clothing and invest in lighter, more suitable attire. Conversely, you’ll want to prioritize warm clothing and other essentials like blankets and space heaters.
  • Adapt to different living spaces – housing styles and space limitations can vary significantly from one country to another. Be prepared to adapt to a different living space by considering the size and layout of your new home. This may involve downsizing bulky furniture or prioritizing multi-functional items.
  • Seek local advice and assistance – reach out to friends, colleagues, or even local social media groups for recommendations on what to bring and leave behind. Local insights can be invaluable in helping you adapt to your new environment.
  • Utilize packing services – professional packing services can be a valuable resource when downsizing for an international move. Experienced packers can help you decide what to pack. Additionally, they can ensure your belongings are packed securely and efficiently, reducing stress.

By researching your destination, adapting to the new environment, seeking local advice, and utilizing packing services, you’ll be well-prepared to embrace your new life while making room for what truly matters.

Selling and Donating Unwanted Items

One of the benefits of relocating is the opportunity to declutter your life and focus on the belongings that truly matter. When you pack clothes and other items, you’ll likely come across items that no longer serve a purpose or hold sentimental value. Instead of discarding them, consider selling or donating.

Organize a Garage Sale or Online Sales

Holding a garage sale is a traditional and effective way to sell unwanted belongings. Set a date, organize items, and advertise your sale in the local community. Garage sales are an excellent way to declutter, engage with neighbors, and make extra cash before hiring movers.

Online platforms such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist also offer convenient ways to sell stuff. By listing it online, you can reach a wider audience and potentially sell them faster. Take clear photos, provide accurate descriptions, and price your items reasonably to increase the likelihood of a sale.

Research Local Charities and Donation Centers

If you prefer to donate unwanted stuff, research local charities and donation centers. Many organizations accept gently used clothing, furniture, and household items, which they can redistribute to those in need or sell to support their cause.

Before donating, ensure your items are clean and in good condition, and verify that the organization accepts the type of items you’re offering. Some charities also have pick-up services for large items like furniture, which can help you save money when calling international moving services.

A person folding clothes
Reducing the load of your wardrobe will help you pack only the essentials

How to Downsize a Home When You’re Relocating Abroad Without a Job

Relocating without a job overseas can be exciting and challenging, requiring careful planning and resourcefulness. One crucial aspect to consider during this transition is how to downsize your home effectively. By prioritizing what truly matters, you’ll not only create a clutter-free and purposeful living environment but also ease the moving process as you prepare for movers.

You Can Create a Clutter-Free and Purposeful Living Environment

Embracing a minimalist mindset can make downsizing manageable and efficient. Here are some steps for creating a clutter-free and purposeful living environment as you embark on your new adventure abroad.

  • Take inventory – this will help you identify items essential to your daily life and those that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy,
  • Assess purpose and value – evaluate your possessions based on their practical function, contribution to your well-being, or sentimental value. Focus on keeping belongings that align with your goals and values,
  • Eliminate duplicates and unnecessary items – identify items that serve the same purpose or are seldom used. Reducing clutter will help create a more functional and organized living space,
  • Set limits – limit the number of items you’ll keep in each category. Adhering to them will make you more mindful of your possessions and prevent the accumulation of clutter,
  • Practice mindful consumption – carefully consider the purpose and value of each item before bringing it into your home.

By following these steps and embracing relocation hacks, you’ll be better prepared to downsize your home and face the challenges of moving abroad without a job and adjusting to a new country.

Let an International Moving Company Help You Declutter Successfully

As you pack furniture, create a list of who to notify when relocating, and declutter your life, choosing a moving company like Shepherd International Movers can make all the difference. With our expertise and tailored solutions, Shepherd International Movers will ensure a smooth and successful transition to your new destination.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance and support throughout your relocation journey, allowing you to embrace your new adventure with confidence and peace of mind. Contact us at Shepherd International Movers to begin your exciting journey towards a clutter-free and purposeful life abroad.


What Are the Benefits of Downsizing Before a Move?

Downsizing before a move offers several benefits, including reduced moving costs, easier packing and unpacking, less clutter in your new home, and a fresh start to reevaluate your priorities and possessions.

How Can I Effectively Sort and Categorize My Belongings for Downsizing?

Start by creating categories for your items, such as clothing, kitchenware, and electronics. Then, systematically sort through your belongings, assigning each item to its respective category. This process will help you identify duplicates and unnecessary items.

How Do I Decide What to Keep, Sell, Donate, or Discard?

To decide consciously, consider each item’s practical use, sentimental value, and overall importance in your life. Keep items that serve a purpose, bring joy, or hold sentimental value while selling, donating, or discarding the rest.

What Are Some Tips for Letting Go of Items With Sentimental Value?

To ensure you can let go of an item or items, take photos of sentimental stuff before parting with it, share the items with family or friends, or repurpose them into something new, like transforming old clothes into a quilt.

How Can I Organize a Garage Sale or Sell Items Online During the Downsizing Process?

To have a successful garage sale, set a date, advertise it in your local community, and display items. For online sales, use platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, and provide clear photos, accurate descriptions, and reasonable pricing.

What Reputable Charities or Organizations Accept Donations of Unwanted Items?

Charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and local shelters are just a few examples of organizations that accept donations of gently used items. There are local ones that could accept donations, too, but that’s something you can check online or by contacting them.

How Do I Maintain a Clutter-Free Lifestyle After Downsizing and Moving?

To maintain a clutter-free lifestyle, you should practice mindful consumption, regularly declutter, and establish routines to keep your space organized and clutter-free. This will help you create new habits after relocating.

What Are Some Strategies for Packing and Organizing My Belongings After Downsizing?

For best packaging and organizing results, choose quality packing materials, label boxes clearly, and pack similar items together. Create an inventory list to track your belongings and make unpacking easier.

How Can I Apply Lessons Learned From Downsizing to Create a More Intentional Living Space in My New Home?

When you apply the knowledge from your minimalist relocation, try focusing on quality over quantity, prioritize items with purpose and value, and create designated spaces for belongings to maintain organization and intentionality.

How Can I Manage the Emotional Aspects of Downsizing and Letting Go of Possessions?

For emotional management and avoiding stress, you should acknowledge your feelings, seek support from friends or family, and focus on the positive aspects of downsizing, such as creating a more intentional living space and embracing new opportunities.

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