7 Items to Hold onto When Moving into a Smaller Apartment


It’s human nature to want to hold on to stuff that’s valuable or sentimental. 


Of course we like to hold onto things that bring functionality into our lives. However, we also tend to keep things that boast a significant price tag or have a special place of significance in our past.


However, when downsizing to a smaller apartment, it’s unavoidable that you’ll have to let go of some of your belongings. 

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The real question, then, becomes this. 


What should you let go of, and what should you hold onto?


In this post, you’re going to learn about seven items that you may definitely want to hold onto when moving—even if you’re moving into a smaller apartment. 


True, it’s challenging to find enough space for everything. But even if you’re downsizing, there’s a strong argument to be made for keeping these seven items around even after the move has been completed. 


Let’s jump in and talk about it. 


1. Your Artifacts

Perhaps you’ve collected some historical or valuable artifacts throughout your life, and now you’re wrestling with whether or not you should keep them or let them go. 


This is an understandable question. And to be fair, the best answer probably comes from the minimalist mindset. 


Ask yourself the following questions:


  • Does this item bring value to your life?

  • Do you enjoy this item on a regular basis?

  • Have you enjoyed, utilized, or displayed this artifact for others at any point within the past year?


If you can answer ‘yes’ to all three of these questions, the odds are good that the item still provides value and deserves a resting place in your new life. 


But if you’re struggling to answer ‘yes,’ and you find that you’re holding onto it out of the sheer fear of letting it go, then it may be time to at least consider selling it or handing it down to someone else. 


2. Your Family Heirlooms

Family heirlooms are complicated to deal with when it comes time to downsize and move.  


On the one hand, they hold a sentimental and historical value that’s been passed down from generation to generation—and that’s nothing to scoff at. 


But on the other hand, you can’t possibly take everything that your family has ever possessed with you when you move—especially if you’re moving to a smaller apartment. 


Once again, it all really comes down to how much you value that particular family heirloom. 


Ask yourself the following questions as you contemplate whether or not to bring those specific items with you:  


  • Do these family heirlooms bring enjoyment to my life on a regular basis?

  • Have I used, utilized, or specifically appreciated them directly at any point over the last year?


Then, if you have heirlooms that you’ve answered ‘yes’ to that require you to narrow it further down:


  • Which of these family heirlooms brings you the most enjoyment, nostalgic value, and connection to your heritage?


Figure out which ones score the highest according to this metric, and consider either handing down, selling, or donating the rest. 


3. Your Pillow

Upon moving into a new apartment, some people opt to just buy new pillows, blankets, and sheets. 


But there’s an argument to be made for bringing your old pillow with you. 


First of all, it’ll bring you a small bit of comfort as you go through this transition and settle into a new living space. 


Secondly, even if you don’t keep it and use it forever, that familiarity may help you to acclimate to your new home, sleep better through those first few nights, and settle in, all while feeling more at home. 


This matters, especially if moving tends to stress you out or cause anxiety. 


4. Your Centerpiece

Speaking of family heirlooms—your dining room table centerpiece may be one type of item that’s very likely to get passed down from generation to generation. 


If this particular piece of decor is special to you, bringing it with you to your smaller apartment, even as you downsize your space, could be meaningful and beneficial. 


For one, it’ll help to convey a sense of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ to your new space. 


But at the same time, this may also be something that your kids, grandchildren, friends, or extended family have come to know and recognize in your home—which speaks to tradition. 


It may be worth keeping around. 


5. Your Favorite Book

Do you have a favorite book that’s been a mainstay in your home and life for a long time?


Perhaps this particular book was given to you as a gift.  Or, perhaps this particular volume taught you important lessons about life and now represents knowledge or transition to you as you reflect on it and read it. 


Feeling a special attachment to a particular book isn't that uncommon—especially if that book helped you through difficult times or provided information you needed to make your life better. 


Once again, the question bears asking. 


Does this item provide significant value or enjoyment in your life on a regular basis?


If the answer is ‘yes,’ you may want to consider bringing it along. 

6. The Basic Repair Toolkit

When downsizing from a larger house to a smaller apartment, there will be categories of items that are just really difficult to bring with you. 


Tools and home improvement supplies are one such type of item. 


This is especially true if you had a garage that housed your tools before but will be downsizing to an apartment that doesn't have that kind of extra space. 


This will pose a difficult question. 


Which tools should you bring, and which ones will you need to downsize?


Since you can't bring everything with you, an excellent general rule of thumb to follow is to stick with the most basic tools in your collection— the ones that you use the most. 


Hand tools, screw guns, a tape measure, a saw or two, screwdrivers, and wrenches— these are tools that the average family utilizes on a fairly regular basis. 


These types of tools are most likely to continue to add value to your life,  even after downsizing to a smaller apartment. 


7. The Multipurpose Ladder

Speaking of tools that'll help you in the future—one significant inclusion to this category would be your multi-purpose ladder. 


From cleaning gutters to hanging pictures to decorating for the holidays, there are so many uses for a multi-purpose ladder that it really only makes sense to bring it along with you. 


Once again, this is a very pragmatic way of thinking about the move. 


  • What items are going to add value?

  • What items are going to see regular use?


These are the questions to ask yourself as you decide what to bring with you as you downsize from a larger house to a smaller living space, and a multipurpose ladder absolutely checks ‘yes’ to both of these queries.



There you have it!


Seven items to hold onto when moving into a smaller apartment. 


Moving isn't easy. And deciding what to bring and what to get rid of can be a difficult decision.


But always remember to trust your instincts. 


Also, don't be afraid to get rid of things if you’re in doubt about their potential future usefulness.  


And most of all, remember to take the time to enjoy this life-changing move. 


You got this!


Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Parkway Plaza to help them with their online marketing.