Moves are always tricky — there’s so much to plan for and even more to pack. This notion is especially true when you intend to head across the country. If you’re about to adapt to a lot less square footage, that’s a burden all by itself. What are you supposed to do with all your stuff? Luckily, this process doesn’t have to be discouraging or even stressful. With a few of these simple steps, you can turn a downsize into an adventure.

1. Detach Yourself

So, you’re moving from a four-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment. Chances are, you can’t take all your unique knick-knacks with you. Because we tie memories to these things, it’s incredibly challenging to get rid of them. Remember this — when you discard a sentimental item, you don’t have to forget the memory linked to it. By all means, take along your baseball card collection. But not every single one of those objects can fit in your new home.

Prepare yourself early on, so you don’t have to deal with emotional roadblocks later.

2. Stay Organized

Try not to wait around — the sooner you begin, the easier the move is in the long run. A few weeks before you make your trip across the country, look to each room in your house and mark what you want to donate and keep. A color-coded system works wonders here. This way, you can make plans for each item. That antique side-table in your den that’s collecting dust? Sell it online.

You won’t need multiple beds for a one-bedroom place, so figure out what you want to do with those. Like your side-table, you could sell the bed frames online if they’re in good condition. Take your mattresses to a recycling center that’ll accept them if you’re ready to part ways.

Don’t trash everything, though. You’ll still need your silverware in your new place. A good rule of thumb is to think about what you use in your day-to-day and go with that. Plan as much as possible so you can downsize with ease.

3. Figure Out Storage

Once you know what you want to donate and keep, take your must-haves and set them aside. Think about your new home’s storage for a second. If the bathroom only has two cabinets, simulate that in your current place. Can you fit all your toiletries in that amount of space? This strategy is a great way to determine whether or not you’ve decluttered enough. You can also think about how you can effectively make use of specific areas. Hooks and shelves are incredibly handy.

In some cases, a storage unit is in order, especially if this new place won’t be your last. Keep larger pieces, like couches and tables, under protective covers so they stay clean. Then, when you’re ready to move into your forever home, you’ll have furniture on hand. You can put anything in a storage unit — but don’t use this for keeping all your stuff.

4. Think Ahead

What we own often depends on where we live. For example, many life-long Californians have probably never needed a winter jacket. Take a look inside your closet and determine what you’ll need for a new climate. The same goes for other outdoor-related objects. That grill on your porch isn’t of any use to you if your next home doesn’t have a back yard. Think ahead to what life will be like and make some adjustments.

At the same time, you want to remain on the safe side. Keep a couple of sweaters for the rare cold-front. Pack a pair of dressy sandals in case of a heatwave. Don’t go overboard, but try to be realistic. Balance is critical here.

5. Re-Home What’s Left

Now that you’ve visualized your future space and packed accordingly, you have to find a place for everything else. Thrift stores and donation centers can always use certain items — be sure to check beforehand to see what they’ll accept. Another terrific idea is to have a garage sale. Make a few signs and set out your objects. You don’t even have to price them if you don’t want to. List more expensive pieces online, so there’s a broader audience.

For more sentimental things, invite family and friends over and have them choose what they’d like to keep. This way, you know your knick-knacks are in good hands. Whatever method you choose, try not to throw anything away. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

Preparation Is Essential

The most important part of a move is determining which items are necessary. When you downsize, you aren’t able to take everything even though you wish you could. That’s why it’s crucial to plan thoroughly and stay organized. Ready yourself for this experience by keeping track of each part of the process. When the time comes, you can enjoy your new residence and look to the future without worry.