Five Books to Help You Downsize to a Smaller Home

The kitchen and dining room of a home in Santa Fe

With Americans living longer than past generations, many baby boomers face longer, healthier retirements along with all the decisions that go with navigating a new chapter in life’s journey.


One of those decisions may be the choice to downsize to a smaller home.


It may sound simple. Sell the family home where you raised your kids and move to a smaller home. According to the 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, it’s a goal shared by many home sellers 61 years and old who downsize to a smaller and lower-priced home. Embracing the decision to downsize and actually doing it are two different things, however. And making the decision to downsize in itself is fraught with practical and emotional considerations that often collide. Downsizing to a smaller home involves multiple steps and a host of other decisions, such as figuring out where to move and how to pare down family belongings.


As a leading Santa Fe real estate company, we often hear from clients who want to move to a smaller home in the Santa Fe area. We also know that Santa Fe is ranked as one of the top places in the world to retire. That’s why we developed a series of blog posts to address downsizing in Santa Fe. You can find our previous blog posts here:


The Ultimate Empty Nester Homebuying Checklist

The Ultimate Guide to Downsizing Your Home

How to Declutter Before Downsizing to a Smaller Home


In this blog post, we’re adding to our toolkit of downsizing resources by highlighting books to help you downsize to a smaller home. There’s certainly no shortage of downsizing books on the market. Amazon lists nearly 400 titles on the subject of downsizing a home. We culled through the list to recommend these five titles.


Downsizing Your Home with Style: Living Well in a Smaller SpaceThe front cover of the book "Decorating Your Home With Style" by Lauri Ward

Noting that many of her clients are downsizing to smaller homes in other states, including New Mexico, New York-based interior designer Lauri Ward maps out a common-sense downsizing plan that breaks down a mammoth task into manageable, practical steps. Ward’s process begins after the homebuyer has already chosen a smaller space. From how-to’s on measuring the new space to a one-year-later assessment, she provides a blueprint for how to pare down belongings, repurpose what you keep, and how to dispose of items that won’t move with you. The author of the best-selling Use What You Have Decorating, Ward applies her small-space design expertise and her you-can-do-it perspective to the challenge of downsizing.


  • 208 pages
  • Published by William Morrow Paperbacks, 2008


Downsizing The Family Home: What to Save, What to Let GoThe front cover of the book "Downsizing the Family Home" published by AARP

When journalist and nationally syndicated home columnist Marni Jameson faced the challenge of helping her parents downsize from the home where they had lived for nearly 50 years, she “looked for help and found little published about what to do with the avalanche that the greatest generation is leaving to those in its wake.” So she did what many journalists do: Dove into her own pool of experts and wrote a book. Jameson’s book is a personal story that details her parent’s downsizing into an assisted living facility. That process coincided with her own downsizing journey from a large family home to a smaller house of her own. While readers may not be in the same situation, Jameson’s guide provides useful strategies and tips for anyone who’s tacking the often emotionally-laden downsizing process.


  • 256 pages
  • Published by Sterling Publishing, 2016


The front cover of the book "Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash" by Vickie DellaquilaThe front cover of the book "Moving Workbook" by Vickie DellaquilaDon’t Toss My Memories in the Trash

Moving Workbook

Professional organizer and senior move manager Vickie Dellaquila aimed Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash at older adults who are moving. Her advice, however, applies to anyone who is downsizing to a smaller home. Dellaquila begins with the decision of whether and when to move to a smaller place and then moves to the task of downsizing possessions and the process of moving out and moving in. Her companion book, Moving Workbook, provides forms and checklists that downsizers can use to organize and keep track of the moving process.


  • Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash, 144 pages, published by Victoria Dellaquila, 2017
  • Moving Workbook, 32 pages, Mountain Publishing, 2008


Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller SpaceThe front cover of "Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space" by Marj Decker and Judi Culbertson

Authors Marj Decker and Judi Culbertson point out that “Americans are in the middle of a weight crisis,” not from overeating, but from too much stuff. As professional organizers, they provide a comprehensive guide that addresses both the practical and emotional side of downsizing, including the challenge of moving on a short timeline. You’ll find strategies for getting rid of cars, clutter, and clothing as well as how to deal with family members who don’t want to let go of possessions.


  • 284 pages
  • Publisher by Rodale Books, 2005


One thing we noticed about all five books was that each one acknowledges the emotional aspect of downsizing. That’s an important reality to face. Moving from a long-time home into a smaller one is a milestone equal to any of life’s major passages. Adding a major financial transaction of selling and buying real estate, it’s no wonder that there are so many books on the subject. Are you considering downsizing in Santa Fe? Contact us today to get started. We can help you find the ideal property in the Santa Fe area.