You're moving to an apartment. What on earth are you going to do with decades' worth of belongings? It can seem like an insurmountable task.

The average downsizer only keeps one-third of their belongings, says Katie Tomasi Edwards, co-owner of MJT Property Styling, and an apartment dweller herself.

When you're staring down the barrel of downsizing, it will feel like a big job, especially if you have been in the same property for many years, she says.

The first thing to do is take an inventory of all of your belongings.


"Ask yourself: 'if everything I owned was lost in a fire what would I replace?'" says Edwards.

That will help you take stock of the things that are important to you, as well as the items that you could live without.

Ideally, she says, you should make three lists: must-haves, can live withouts and things I could replace.

Your must-haves obviously need to come with you, says Edwards.

Your live-withouts are the things you could sell, donate or get rid of entirely in some fashion.

That doesn't mean you will in fact get rid of them. If space becomes a concern they're the first ones to go.

Your could-replace list should be reserved for items that you could potentially sell and replace with something smaller, such as a smaller TV.

Sometimes taking your existing furniture with you doesn't make sense. The space will be smaller and sometimes access to the apartment may not allow you to bring huge furniture in. Edwards often recommends space saving furniture.


"Space-saving furniture is the way to go in smaller spaces. This will help maximise space so opt for compact, multifunctional furniture. Things such as beds with drawers in the base, storage ottomans and sofa beds."

House-hold bric a brac can take up a lot of room. Go through everything as a family and decide what pieces are truly sentimental and precious and which ones you can rehome to other people who will love the items.

Dealing with the family heirlooms which have been passed down the generations will prove to be more difficult than items you've bought yourself.

Consider talking to your family and going through all your precious items and gifting them now instead of leaving them until you die.

"This means you can truly know who was hoping for what, and see (the heirlooms) getting great use and love.

"So for example a daughter may love entertaining. Why not pass on the huge crystal bowl to her for her cocktail evenings and Christmas brunch at hers for the trifle."

Do ask yourself some honest questions. For example, question whether you keep certain belongings because you felt guilty about selling them or passing them on, she says.

If you're struggling with culling items that you don't need, reset your thinking. Think of the joy being passed on to a new owner.

"For example with me I love crystal and am always looking for more beautiful crystal and a lot of the time its people going through their homes decluttering it. So (the) joy is passed on."

Finding homes for the items you will part with isn't as hard as it may seem. As well as giving it to family, you can sell it, pass it forward, donate it to charities or put items outside your house with a "free" sign. It's amazing what will disappear.