What To Keep and What To Get Rid Of When You’re Downsizing

Updated on June 28, 2021
What To Keep and What To Get Rid Of When You’re Downsizing

There are all kinds of reasons to move to a smaller place as you reassess your lifestyle. A house is a lot to maintain, and you can save time and money by letting go of what you don’t need. But sorting through your possessions can be a big job. Start thinking about it early, and consider these suggestions for what to keep and what to get rid of when you’re downsizing. Give yourself some grace to reminisce as you go. And when you have a hard time making decisions, focus on a simpler future.

Keep These

Your Favorite Chair

When you transition to an apartment, condo unit, or retirement community, you’ll have less square footage for furniture. That means that you’ll have to pass on any pieces that are too large-scale for your new place. You’ll need compact furniture instead—but hold on to a comfy chair you love to settle into. It will help you feel at home.

Wall Art

You’ll have fewer walls, but paintings and prints won’t take up living space. If you have too many that you can’t part with, you can always group them together for a gallery wall.

Display Unit

A full-fledged china cabinet may be out of the question, but you’ll probably need a way to display some meaningful keepsakes. Shelves are always useful—or you might prefer a hanging curio cabinet.

Get Rid of These


You might love to read, but the truth is that you don’t need to keep books, and they take up a lot of space. Try checking books out of the library, swapping with a friend, or downloading them onto a reading tablet that’s easier on your eyes. In this format, you can even experiment with font size if larger words are more comfortable to read.


Remove everything from your closet and put it all on your bed to see just how many excess clothes you’ve accumulated. Pay attention to what you really wear day-to-day, and assemble a capsule wardrobe that you can dress up or down with accessories. Donate whatever you reject to a charitable organization. They can get it to someone who needs it.


When deciding what to keep and what to get rid of when you’re downsizing, you might assume that photos go in the “keep” category. But this is one time to embrace technology. Unless you’re paging through albums every day, it makes more sense to scan your pictures professionally. It’s more convenient to have them handy on your tablet or phone when you want to show off photos of your loved ones.