Downsizing is an exciting new adventure for anyone, whether you are a retiree whose kids have left home or you want to live a simpler lifestyle. Downsizing also makes a lot of financial sense, as a smaller space means fewer living costs. De-cluttering and living with only those things that are necessary is a great way to find more time for the things you love, like travelling or spending time with friends and family.

Downsizing often means getting rid of items that are not considered essential to your new lifestyle. At first, it can be difficult to part with items that are financially valuable when they simply won’t fit into your downsized home, and it is even harder to part with items that hold sentimental value. So, what do you do with a life’s worth of memories?

Long-term storage is a safe and secure way to store special items when downsizing. There are many types of long-term storage facilities suitable for downsizers, such as warehouses and self-storage containers; however, renting a self-storage facility is considered the most effective option. Self-storage facilities are secure and accessible only to you; as a bonus, they are also often climate controlled, which is ideal for people living in areas with high humidity that may damage delicate items.

Once you have made the decision to downsize your home and lifestyle, you need to think about how you are going to pack. If you can’t let go of everything at the time of moving, some selected items can go to long-term storage. So, here are some tips on long-term storage when you downsize to help you get started.


Step 1: Start Packing as Soon as Possible

One of the main reasons to downsize is to learn to live with less. Start practising your new lifestyle by beginning the de-cluttering and packing process as soon as possible. Last minute packing can result in damaged items, poor organisation, and forgotten items. The last thing you want to do is take unnecessary items to your new, downsized home. So, start organising and packing as soon as you can to reduce the stress of moving, and allow yourself the time to get the job done properly.

Step 2: Take Inventory

This process may seem overwhelming, but it is an important part of ensuring you only take your most essential items with you when you downsize. The most efficient way to do this is to go room by room, rather than by category. Otherwise, you will be running all over your house. After you have made a list of everything you own, you can divide your possessions into categories and make separate lists for things you wish to keep, things you want to donate or need to throw away, and, finally, things you want to store.

Step 3: Plan Your Space Carefully

Taking note of the space you have available in both your new home and your storage facility will allow you to calculate the most effective way to store your items. Unfortunately, long-term storage facilities do not have infinite space for your things, and it may take some “Tetris-like” moves to fit everything in place.

Make sure you measure large items and packing boxes to ensure you select the right-sized facility to store your items. This precaution will save you stress and money when it comes time to move

Step 4: Invest in Durable Packing Solutions

Storing items long-term means you need to pack your items in a way that will keep them safe and in good condition for many years. Investing in sturdy packing solutions, rather than flimsy cardboard boxes, will ensure your precious items aren’t exposed to potentially damaging environmental factors like mould and mildew.

Some effective packing solutions include large, plastic, sealable containers. These are also easily stackable to maximise the space you have available. Buy bubble wrap rather than using old newspapers, as the newsprint can rub off over time and damage china and glassware.

Large nylon sheets will keep bigger items, such as couches and chairs, dust free, while Styrofoam blocks can protect appliances from dents and scratches. For more specialised items, such as musical instruments, it is best to purchase an appropriate carrying case specifically designed to protect them from humidity and corrosion.

Step 5: Prepare Your Items

Before packing and storing your items, ensure all your items are clean and dry. There is nothing worse than coming to check on your carefully stored items only to discover mould damage or nasty smells.

Remove refrigerator doors or leave them slightly ajar to reduce the likelihood of mould build-up. Washing machines and dishwashers should be completely drained before storing, and dryers should have their lint compartment emptied and cleaned. Steam clean rugs and upholstered couches and chairs. Polish and protect wooden furniture, such as dining tables, wardrobes, and chests of drawers to ensure they remain in good condition.

Step 6: Hire a Moving Company

Though much of the sorting and packing can be done yourself, it may be wise to hire a moving company to do the heavy lifting for you when you are transporting your items to your storage facility. This job can likely be done on the same day you move to your new home, depending on the location and the number of items to be moved.

When selecting a removalist, opt for the full-service option, which means they can also help you store and unpack your items once you’ve reached your location. They also have the right equipment for moving heavy items, such as couches and appliances, which means that you don’t have to worry about any injuries and you can get on with enjoying your new downsized lifestyle. Ask a friend or search online for local businesses.


For more free advice on downsizing your home, visit our Tips & Resources page.

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