Downsizing with children can seem like a dream to accomplish, but a nightmare to go through. How do you manage to get rid of excess stuff, find a new, smaller home, and keep the kids happy and secure through all these changes—all at the same time? Well, thankfully, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re downsizing with kids.
1. Have a plan.
Having a solid plan in place is absolutely necessary when you’re moving with children, let alone moving to a smaller place. How much space are you looking for? How will playing and sleeping arrangements change? About how much stuff do you need to get rid of—a room’s worth, or an entire floor’s worth?
By knowing in advance what changes will occur and just how much change you expect, you’ll be better able to prepare your kids for the move.
2. Involve your children as much as possible.
When you’re selling your house with kids, it’s important to remember that moving can be a scary experience for children. Keeping them as informed and involved as possible is a good way to decrease that fear factor. If you’re scouting out neighborhoods, take them along. If you’re sorting through kitchen gadgets to find ones you can live without, ask them to help. The more involved your children can be (assuming they want to be involved, that is), the smoother the move will go overall.
3. Make it fun.
Downsizing means getting rid of lots of stuff—and that’s going to include your children’s possessions, too. Children, especially young children, may not understand why they’re having to get rid of things like toys or games, even if they only play with them once every few months. To help them enjoy the process and reduce any tears, make it into a game: see how big of a pile your kids can make with the stuff they want to give away or toss.
You can also increase their enjoyment of the downsizing process by talking about how their donated toys will make other children happy. Let your kids know how proud you are of them for letting go of things they don’t need, and passing them along to someone else.
4. Get items you’re donating or throwing away out of the house as quickly as possible.
Nothing will change a kid’s mind about giving something away like seeing it sitting in a box in the family room day after day. If you’re serious about downsizing, get those items out of sight as soon as you can.
If you can’t make a trip to Goodwill every time you sort through things, take your donation boxes into the garage or put them away in a closet—somewhere the kids won’t see them. Then, when you’ve got the time, take everything in at once.
Downsizing with kids will have its ups and downs, but it doesn’t have to be something you dread. By creating a plan and keeping the whole family involved, you’ll sail through the process and into your new, smaller home with ease.