Downsizing? The Do’s and Don’ts of What to Bring and What to Leave Behind

If you want to downsize or ‘right size’, deciding what to bring and what not to bring can often be the hardest part. Looking forward rather than looking back is the key.

Visualize what you want your next space to look like and how you would like it to function, and the decisions become easier and more clear. 

Here are some DO’s and DON’TS  to help you decide what to bring and what to leave behind, followed by a special tip:



Prioritize. Make a list of what you absolutely need. Keep the best of the best whether that’s your best mugs, best picture frames, or best pajamas. This includes lotions, books, frying pans, and shoes, too!

Be Organized and Methodical.  Identify in the following order: what you need, what you want to give to family and friends, what you want to sell or donate and lastly, trash. Having boxes and bags available at this point will be necessary and the work can become physical so enlist a friend, relative or an expert. 

Measure and Space Plan. Become educated and realistic about what you can fit. Bringing too much can lead to safety hazards, disorganization and embarrassment. As professional organizers, we see it all the time. Now is the time to simplify!

Be Accepting. Sometimes our friends and family are honored and excited to receive our items and sometimes we find they already have ‘enough’ and taking on more may feel like a burden to them. If this happens, consider passing along just a few special pieces. Ask yourself: “Do I really have to know the person who will love my  items next?” When you donate a belonging, be assured that someone who really wants the item will experience joy when they select it. you are allowing someone to experience joy when selecting your items to use and love. 



Allow Items to Hold You Back. Sometimes our belongings prevent us from moving forward into a situation which could improve our health and our overall enjoyment of life. Being afraid to let things go can keep us from the benefits of living in a more manageable, and safer home. Keep the goal of an easier, carefree life in mind when letting go of possessions. Though this may seem difficult, once the possessions have been let go, most find that they place importance on new things like experiences and they scarcely remember the material objects..  

Keep Unneeded Items. Keeping something just because you paid for it at one time, will continue to cost you. Square footage is more valuable than most any material item! Having the unused item in your closet does not reimburse you for what you spent, but it may continue to cost you in the form of usable space, moving costs, disorganization and home safety. If recovering some of the money spent is super important to you, consider selling items, but be realistic. There is a high supply and a low demand for most household goods on the market now and most items do not sell for the value placed on them by the original owner. Also, take into account the value of your time, if you go down this route. Consider gifting or donating as a form of recouping money spent.

Prioritize Items Over People. A family disagreement may ensue because several loved ones want your items or more often than not, do not want your items. Sometimes insisting on passing along items to loved ones creates a burden on our loved ones when they already have enough of their own items. Try to be objective and realize that it’s the people in your life who are important, not the stuff. 

Don’t keep items you don’t use and will never use. Period.



To make moving day your first carefree day, pack a day-of-move-bag and include the following items:

  • Medications

  • Eyeglasses

  • Toiletries

  • Change of clothing and pajamas

  • Important papers, important numbers, and identification cards

  • Essential electronics

  • Snacks, drinks, disposable cups, plates, and utensils, 

  • Paper towels and a cleanser

  • Tape, scissors, flashlight, hammer and screwdriver

  • Payment for the moving company

Some struggle to release anything at all. If this is you, gently try to focus on keeping only the items you treasure most. Take the focus off of that which you must let go of and visualize yourself in your new space, surrounded only by belongings which you love and need now. If you’re still struggling, enlisting the help of a friend or an expert will help get you there!

For a specific list of Essential Items to Bring, email us at