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To keep or not to keep? How to sort furniture when downsizing your home.

Sorting through furniture is hard enough when moving house, let alone when your new place is too small to accommodate all the things you want to take. Read on for top tips on how to sort the wheat from the chaff.
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There are lots of reasons for downsizing. And whether it’s because your kids have flown the nest or you’re moving to an exciting new (and more expensive) city, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. There’s a lot to be said for cosier properties, especially if you’re a solo dweller, or have grown tired of the empty feeling of your teenager-less house.

But one thing that’s not so pleasant is the prospect of deciding what to take, and – more specifically – what not to take to your new home. Moving into a smaller place means facing one, unavoidable fact – you’re not going to be able to take everything!

Try not to panic, though. Instead, see this as the perfect opportunity to reassess which pieces of furniture you really love, and those that you’ve been far too kind to hold on to all these years.

It also helps to take a methodical approach to things. So without further ado, read our four simple rules for culling the clutter, and deciding which items are going to make the cut.

1. The love it factor: time to be true to yourself

Post-its at the ready. It’s time to do a stock check – but not in the ordinary sense. This step is essential and should be done way before your actual move date to avoid unnecessary stress and general floundering over what to keep when it comes to the crunch.

Arm yourself with labels and make your way around the house, clearly marking the items of furniture you absolutely love. It’s important to be strict with yourself here, and to not be too generous with what ‘love’ actually means. You must really madly truly deeply adore the items that go on this list, and we don’t just mean in the past – we mean now. Gorgeous set of velveteen armchairs you’d sooner flog your own soul for than give up? Check! Tired old console table that’s more scuffed than your running shoes?... we think not.

It’s important at this stage to focus exclusively on the ‘Love Factor’ rather than thinking about things you need (that comes later). The point of this exercise is to instantly identify your real treasures, and give yourself a good starting point for the rest of the sorting.

2. The need it factor: let’s get realistic

Ok, back to stuff we might not necessarily love but that we most certainly need, even if it’s just for now. That might be a dining table you’re no longer crazy about but can’t afford to replace right now, your sofas, wardrobe or even bed. The point of this exercise is to narrow down your list of furniture to its bare essentials. Ask yourself this: what do you absolutely need with you, and what’s going to be more of a hindrance than a help when you’re settled into your new place?

By getting to grips with both the things you’re crazy about (see above!), and the things you can’t live without from a practical point of view, you’ll already have narrowed down the list of furniture that’s going to come with you to your new place considerably. But it doesn’t end there. Which brings us on to…

3. The décor factor: aesthetic matters

When you move into your new place you’re bound to want to decorate or at least spruce it up to make it feel like home. So, thinking of the ‘décor factor’ can be another great way to sift through items of furniture and ditch the ones that simply aren’t going to fit with the aesthetic of your new place. Take this opportunity to really visualise what you want your new home to look like. Then don’t be shy in admitting that some of the furniture you currently own (leopard print sofa bed, bought on a whim), might not reflect your taste accurately. Essentially, if it didn’t make it on to the ‘love it’ or ‘need it’ lists, and it’s not a good indicator of how you want your new home to look – it’s time to say goodbye.

4. The size factor: practical considerations

Now you’ve got your shortlist of furniture, it’s time to get practical and make sure nothing you want to bring to your new home is going to be physically too big to fit (or to be in proportion – same difference). Moving into a smaller home might mean that your giant (albeit gorgeous) leather corner sofa would be bulging out the windows if you were to try and squeeze it into the living room. So now’s the time to draw up a list of things that will need replacing. But don’t despair. Get creative instead.

If your sofa is the issue, why not replace it with a gorgeous new set-up consisting of a more sensibly sized three-seater and a couple of divine accent chairs? This combo is perfect for cosier lounges – we particularly love these charming Alexander and James New Romance Betsy Fabric Armchairs, which would slot perfectly into a snug living room nook.

Likewise, if your gigantic, rectangular dining table isn’t going to fit, try replacing it with an extendable option or a round table which can be easier to fit into small spaces.

Deciding what to keep, and what not to keep is harder than it seems when it comes to furniture – especially for sentimental types! But the trick is to view your downsize as an opportunity for a much needed clear out; a time to get back to basics, to think about what matters to you and most of all, to make some firm choices about what you really love in terms of interior design. You never know, you might just end up with a space that’s ten times more ‘you’ than your bigger property ever was! Now that’s what we call a very successful move.


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