Real Estate

Tips and Tricks on Downsizing to Sell Your Home

Oct 2021 | By Jo-Ann Capelaci

Downsizing? Rightsizing? Here’s how to make sure you get it right

Selling your home can be a stressful time, but downsizing can also be cathartic! You will feel more empowered in your move if you prepare in advance, and allow ample time to do so. Take time now to purge, declutter, clean, and organize, so there will be less to do when it’s time to move!

Homes that sell quickly and for more money are generally well maintained. When preparing to sell, put on your “buyer hat” and pretend you are looking for a new home. This will help you to be more objective. Consider enlisting a friend or neighbour to help do the same. Sometimes undertaking minor renovations will also help you to achieve higher dollar sales.

Here are some the key things to keep in mind when preparing to move.

Curb Appeal

  • Consider painting your front door – believe it or not, painting your front door black or charcoal can increase value

  • Cut grass and fill in brown and thinning areas

  • Prune trees and gardens keeping free of weeds

  • Add colourful garden plants if needed

  • Decorate with potted plants for colour

  • In winter keep drive and pathways clear


  • Deep clean kitchen, baths and laundry

  • Carpet and tile should be freshly cleaned

  • Wash the windows

  • Open the windows for fresh air

  • Avoid scented air fresheners


Create a list naming each room in your home. Each room should have 3 columns; Keep, Give to Family/Friends, Donate/Sell. Tackle a room at a time to avoid overwhelm. If you are unsure and it is causing you to feel stone-walled you can create a 4th column – Decide Later.

1. Keep – Keep items that you love and want to incorporate in your new home. If you do not plan to keep something now is the time to deal with it. This is especially true with old items. If your home is filled with outdated furniture (and window treatments) for example the entire home will look outdated to many potential home buyers. When considering what to bring to your new abode sometimes there are opportunities to repurpose items such as;

  • Use Grandma’s plates and pottery in a new way or paint the legs of an antique table to make it look interesting

  • Add an interesting mirror in a bathroom

  • Display memorabilia in a dedicated room

  • Repurpose a piece of furniture you have 

2. Give to a Friend or Family Member – Many of us hold onto things for sentimental reasons and to pass down to our children. Often times our children don’t have the same attachment. Now is the time to have the conversation about who wants what you are holding on to for them.

3. Donate/Sell – If your friend or family member don’t want the selection, now may be the time to donate. Ask yourself if the item still serves you. If not, it is time to pass it along to someone who will use and appreciate it. Donating makes you feel good, and you may be able to get a tax donation too! Or perhaps sell some items and use the profits to invest in items for your new home. You can take pictures of the items to remember them in later years.

Make Your Home Photo Ready 

Now that you have purged by giving away and donating what you no longer need you are on your way. To make your home ready for a photo-op, consider;

  • Repainting to neutral walls if needed

  • Rooms should be well lit – sometimes just changing to LED light bulbs can improve a room

  • Items not being used should be stored

  • Putting away clothes and shoes from another season

  • Organizing closets so they are no more than two thirds full

  • Getting rid of any house plants that are unhealthy

  • Removing family photos and knick-knacks and only leave out a few larger  accessories

  • Purchasing new towels or shower curtains if needed – white is almost always a good choice

  • When possible, do away with too much pattern on sofas and bedding to keep a neutral look

Label and Prepare Boxes

Start preparing and labelling boxes 1-2 months in advance. Label the name of the room and contents. Use different coloured markers or colour code tape for each room.

If you have too much clutter it will appear like your home is small. Keep the garage tidy too!  And remember to tackle one room at a time. Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to add value to your home. Paint can make a space appear larger, smaller, brighter. Small investments can often pay big dividends!

Tip: I believe there is an energy in giving. When you give something away something it creates space for better things to come into your life.

Wishing you serenity in your new journey!


Jo-Ann Capelaci is president and principal interior designer of Colours & Concepts Inc. The award-winning company specializes in model homes and colour and upgrade selections for builders. They have been helping new home buyers choose finishes for their homes for over 25 years. Jo-Ann is dedicated to helping new home buyers create a model home feeling in their new home. Look for future articles on other topics to assist in decorating and designing your new home.