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How to Downsize Your Belongings and Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Want in NYC

The number one moving tip you’ll hear – especially if you want to save money on your move – is to downsize. Reducing your possessions to only things you want, need, or use can result in having fewer boxes of things to move. Smaller moves cost less money. This is especially true if you’re moving a long-distance or internationally: as a rule of thumb, the further you’re going, the less you’ll want to bring with you.

But what are you supposed to do with all of your stuff? Selling things on Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Craigslist is always an option, but it’s not always what people want to do. One alternative is to pass along the stuff you don’t want to move to friends and acquaintances. This can turn out to be a positive situation for everyone, but it does take a little effort and coordination on your part. Here are some tips to make downsizing simpler:

Describe your stuff in appealing terms.

If you’re moving to Florida and won’t need your winter wardrobe anymore, don’t tell your friends you’ve got a bunch of old clothes to get rid of – who would want that? Instead, tell them about the warm coat, super sweaters, and really cute boots that need a home. When you describe your stuff in appealing terms, people are much more likely to be interested.

super sweater

Think about people’s personality & lifestyle before offering them stuff.

If your friends don’t have cats, they probably won’t want your cat tree – no matter how amazing it is. Your friends with little kids might appreciate your collection of erotic coffee table books, but not so much so that they want to keep them in their house. On the other hand, your friend who loves trying out recipes might be thrilled to take the pots and pans you never use.


Remember, size matters!

Most likely, if you’re downsizing your NYC apartment, you’ll be giving things to family and friends who also live in New York. No one has any space for anything – but if you have an item that a friend may be tempted by, such as a super comfy armchair or the bar cart you thought you’d use to entertain but never did – have the measurements available so you can assure your friend that yes, absolutely, it will fit in their place.

cluttered room

Ask people if they’d like anything of yours.

Odds are your closest friends have spent some time in your place. If you have the type of relationship that allows for this conversation, ask them if there’s anything of yours they’d like to have when you move. They may be very interested in an item you really don’t have strong feelings about: this can make downsizing simple. This tip works best when you can set boundaries, such as excluding items from the offer or saying “No, I need to keep that” while being happy to let other items go.

ask friends if they want your belongings

Have a Recycle, Reuse, Regift Party.

When you don’t have a lot of time and need to get rid of a lot of possessions at once, invite your friends over for a recycle, reuse, regift party. The set up is simple: you pile up the items that are free for the taking; add some snacks, beverages, and music, and it’s a party. Provide bags or boxes for people to bring items home with them if you can: it encourages people to take more.

regift party