I Downsized from a House to an Apartment. Here Are 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Packing

published May 9, 2022
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That old high school football jersey two sizes too small to fit? Tossed it. That R&B CD collection collecting dust on the bookcase? Farewell.

One of the hardest things about moving from a house to an apartment is having to part with those heartstring-tugging sentimental items. But when I did just that recently, I knew that decluttering would be an essential way to make my move easier. 

One of the ways I was able to downsize, organize, and then pack efficiently for my move was by using a PODS container. The things I wanted to keep would go outside in the storage container, and the things that would be thrown away or donated would go in the giveaway or trash bins to the left. 

Still, since moving is usually a challenging experience, there were many things that I would do over, from installing security ahead of time to selling my furniture much earlier in the process. Here are four tips I learned from moving from a house to an apartment.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Alex Brannian

Don’t underestimate the extremely taxing task of downsizing.

When you’ve accumulated decades worth of possessions, you end up with three of everything, as well as tons of sentimental clothing, trinkets, albums, and countless other items. It was tough to go through high school and college clothes, diplomas, and old essays and then decide what needed to be thrown away. Because of the emotional energy this zaps from you, it helps to have a friend or family member present. They can be a neutral party to help you dispose and give away those things.

Organize and pack simultaneously.

When you downsize, it’s also important to organize the things you decide to keep and pack. I was able to take Trent Brock, a PODS moving expert’s, advice: to part with old towels, sheets, CDs, and DVDs that were collecting dust in the attic. Local charity organizations were able to relieve me of several bags of donations. I also realized the importance of using multi-use items for extra storage instead of packing things separately. In hindsight, I should have put purses and bags in empty suitcases; perfume bottles in the bottom of empty cooking pots; and plant supplies in empty planting pots. These are efficient ways of using multi-use items for extra storage during your move. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to sell your furniture.

There were some mahogany bookcases and lightly used couches that I wanted to sell on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist leading up to my move. However, I made the mistake of waiting until a week or so before. With the house being located in a more suburban area and not in a large city, it took too long to sell the pieces and I ended up throwing them out or giving them away. I recommend listing your large furniture items a couple months ahead of the move, especially in less populated areas.

Don’t neglect security essentials.

Just because you are moving from a house to an apartment doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have security and smart home essentials throughout. I made the mistake of deactivating my Vivint security system when I should have transferred my account and installed a doorbell cam, water sensors, and outdoor camera so that I had the same sense of security from day one.