Selling or Storing Furniture: What to Do When Downsizing Apartments

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If you’re moving apartments from a larger apartment into a smaller one, you have the option of storing your furniture or selling it (smaller apartments simply don’t look good cluttered with too much large furniture). What you choose to do depends on the longevity of your living situation and your personal preferences.

When to Store

Renting a storage unit is a simple and safe way to hang onto any belongings that will not fit into your smaller apartment space. Other than committing to a monthly payment, the decision to store your furniture doesn’t require much maintenance. If you need something from the space or decide to use a piece of furniture you stored in the unit, you can easily access it. Storing is preferable if you have furniture items you truly want to remain in your possession, like heirloom furniture or larger items you intend to use on down the road when you move into a house or a roomier apartment.

The cost of renting the storage unit should be justified by the furniture and items you’re storing. If you’re simply hanging onto cheap furniture and storing it to avoid completely refurnishing a larger apartment a year or two from now, you’re better off just selling it. The money you save from not renting a storage unit can be used to save for new furniture in the future.

Also keep in mind the amount of time you’re going to live in your downsized space. If you’re only going to be living in a smaller apartment for two or three years at max, keeping furniture in storage makes sense. Shorter periods of storage time will more likely result in your eventual use of the items. Anything longer than that and you’re basically hanging onto things you really don’t need.

When to Sell

If you have a lot of furniture that you’ve accumulated and aren’t attached to, sell it. There’s absolutely no reason to pay to store furniture that’s not your style or that could easily be replaced for very little money on down the road. Moving is a great time to reassess your decorating style and take inventory of what you have and actually like. Clean out and sell or donate anything that you wish to shed. There’s no greater time than moving time to clear the clutter. With websites like Craigslist and eBay, making a quick buck from furniture sales is easier than ever. You can always hold a traditional garage sale to rid of unwanted furniture, too.

If you’re moving to a smaller apartment for the long run, selling is your best bet. Who wants to pay to store a bunch of furniture you’re just going to forget you even own–or send off to a thrift store when you clear it out years later? Strike while the iron is hot and make a quick buck. You can the money to help with moving costs.

The decision to sell or store your furniture should be pretty intuitive. The things you truly want and need will be the things you’re using in your new space. All superfluous furniture will hold some sort of value—monetary or other—if you choose to store it.


Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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