10 Top Tips For Downsizing Without Compromising

10 Top Tips For Downsizing Without Compromising

We meet a lot of people looking at annexes as the ideal way to downsize, free up equity, move close to family members and anticipate or prepare for their needs as they get older.

First let me just say that from a vast amount of experience in the Granny Annexe market we meet some very young looking, very active and very healthy people aged 60+ every week.

We live in an amazingly diverse era where good nutrition and a more active lifestyle are becoming increasingly popular as part of our preferred every day life.

The more we can do today to side-step some of today’s biggest health issues and degenerative diseases the better! 

But we also live in an era where our younger generations are not able to see themselves affording a home of their own and if you have equity to release and can help family members at the same time, most of us would choose to help them out if we can.

So downsizing today within families is a popular way to do both.

There are also some Inheritance Tax benefits too which we’ll talk about in another article but if you are looking to downsize without compromise in the near future, here are our top 10 tips on making it as easy as possible. 


1. Get Crystal Clear About Your Why

If you have been living in your home for many years it’s very likely that the thought of having to sift and sort through all those boxes, cupboards and drawers has you feeling overwhelmed.

The best way we’ve found to approach this, is to focus on where you are headed and how that could be the fresh start you have always wanted.

The beauty of annexe living is that it’s like buying a new home off-plan. That new kitchen you always dreamed of, new carpets, curtains, poles, blinds and soft furnishings, all hand selected and built ready for you to move into.

Start with a clear note book (get a pretty one to make the whole experience seem more special to you) and think about what space you actually need.

How big is your existing home?

Which rooms do you use the most now?

Would you like a large living area or is a large bedroom more important to you?

What furniture pieces are a must-have for your new annexe?

Are you going to buy all new or fill your annexe with all your treasured possessions?

Your REASON WHY will become your primary motivating factor when it comes to downsizing because for many people it’s a lifestyle choice that should be beneficial to all concerned.


2. Start With Something Easy To Get Things Underway

It’s very often the decision to downsize that is the most difficult.

Once the decision is made and all family members agree on who is doing what, it’s time to enlist the help of some willing family members on what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away.

Very often the family members you have in mind for keeping that treasured possession you have in mind for them to pass down from generation to generation may not feel quite the same way about that as you do.

Let them guide you into thinking about living a life where you will be seeing more of your Grandchildren, be more part of an active family life again, have less stress, smaller bills and more travel & hobby time.

You may already be playing an active role in childcare for your Grandchildren right now (I know we are!)

Tackle downsizing bit by bit, the momentum will start to build as each room becomes more organised and streamlined and you may even see yourself going for a contemporary style modern annexe living space rather than a traditional style.

Use our 8-10 week Planning Permission timescale as plenty of time to get prepared for the big move.


3. Prepare For It To Get Sentimental

How many photos, school certificates, Mother’s Day cards & hand-made gifts and family heirlooms you have will determine how easy the next step of downsizing may be.

Creating a list of your favourite things (the ones that bring you the most joy when you look at them) and then set each one aside in a separate box for going through when you feel ready.

This may well be the last box you sift and sort and that’s perfectly OK.

One of the best ways to save your favourite photos today is by turning them into canvas art online on websites like HelloCanvas.

This can quickly become one of the most loved aspects of your new annexe where you will be surrounded by your loved ones and treasured memories all at the same time!.

By approaching this part of downsizing in a positive way you will have dealt with it emotionally and you will find when the time comes to making other decisions they will be a lot easier having got this one out of the way early in the process.


4. Imagine If You Lost Everything In A Flood Or Fire What Would You Replace?

Heaven forbid the worst happens and you lose your entire house contents in a fire or flood.

What would you replace?

What would buy new?

What would buy differently?

Believe it or not and dramatic as it may sound, this could be the perfect way to approach downsizing to annexe living if the annexe you have planned is smaller than your current home of course.

In some cases annexe living may well be upsizing or rightsizing depending on the circumstances.

And in some cases an annexe may well be bigger than some of the new homes being built today and offer far better value than what your money would buy in certain areas of the UK.

Such is the beauty of annexe living.


5. Get Your New Address Ready

Get ready for your new address and make a list of important service providers you will need to contact:

  • Your Dentist & Doctor
  • Your Driving Licence
  • Your Bank & Any Financial Advisers Or Investment Account Holders
  • Internet & Phone Providers
  • Your Utilities Will Be Shared With The Main Home (but you may want to have a counter metre put in the new annexe to see what proportion of the utility bills is yours you can. Just ask! )
  • Insurance policies / life cover / pensions
  • Subscriptions to any magazines or postal delivery services etc

All annexes remain part of the main dwelling (and can’t be sold off separately) so you will not have a separate post code.

A lot of annexe owners call their annexe a name so that the Postman will soon get to know who the new mail is for.

You want to add a mail box near a front entrance for you to collect American style every day.


6. Pick The Smallest Room To Start With To Make It As Easy As Possible

Making a big task seem small and manageable is all about breaking things down into bite-sized chunks.

A tried and tested method for easier de-cluttering and downsizing as you go is to create 4 baskets / boxes or piles and label them up MUST TAKE / WOULD LIKE TO THINK ABOUT / GIVE AWAY / THROW AWAY.

MUST-TAKE : These are the things you simply must take with you to your new annexe home.

WOULD LIKE TO THINK ABOUT: These are things you are still thinking about taking and are not sure yet whether they are going to be a part of your new annexe. You simply come back to them later in the process when you will find it easier to decide on them.

GIVE AWAY / DONATE : Charity shops, friends and family members or neighbours will sometimes be looking for exactly what you no longer need.

THROW AWAY : Be as ruthless as you need to be when it comes to broken, unwanted, unused or useless items you have collected along the way.


7. Pack As You Go Room By Room If You Can

Investing in some packing boxes and marker pens, bubble wrap and labels early in the process can help you pack as you go where you can.

This can potentially save you a lot of time in the long run and help you get organised about the whole process quickly and easily.

Always aim to go down by half and then reassess before editing and packing again.

Remember to keep all your most used everyday items and essentials to hand and you will find you adjust to a more streamlined organised way of life that might well be something you’ve not experienced before.

Your existing home is likely to feel a lot less like home during the process and maybe this is the perfect time to tackle your wardrobes too!


8. Visit Some Show Homes Near You For Inspiration

"buckland residential mobile annexe"

Annexe living is one-level living like a bungalow with an apartment feel. So visiting some show apartments is a very good place to see what can be done with a “all new” approach to modern open plan living spaces.

  • Take photos of how interior designers use colours, patterns and textures to create a flow to the space.
  • Make notes on how they use mirrors, art and accessories to keep everything pulled together and not too fussy or cluttered.
  • Measure some of the rooms to see how they compare with your favourite annexe floor plans.
  • Note what appliances come as standard with the kitchen and what styles and colours are available.
  • Ask yourself whether you like vinyl, carpet or wooden flooring.

This part of the process will help you visualise your new annexe more than any other.


9. Go Window Shopping At John Lewis, Next Home & More

Downsizing to annexe living should be a new adventure. It’s a new chapter in life that calls for a little excitement.

With us all shopping online more and more of the time. take some time out to visit IKEA, NEXT HOME, JOHN LEWIS and more to get a feel for the latest styles in home furnishings and decor to match your new annexe.

A little retail therapy applied to all those little things that can add up to a whole new feel to your annexe won’t break the bank!

Things like:

  • A new dinner service.
  • Fresh new bed linen & fluffy towels.
  • Curtains, poles & blinds.
  • A new kettle and toaster.
  • A new mirror or piece of art.
  • A beautiful new vase & artificial flowers.
  • A new rug or welcome mat.
  • New table lamps or a floor lamp.
  • Scented candles.
  • New photo frames.

It’s the little details that make all the difference to how your new annexe will feel. It should feel as special as you.


10. Plan Your Moving In Day

Annexes take time.

Getting all your quotes in, visiting show sites & working out the best option for your & your family takes time.

Then there are 8-10 weeks to wait for us to create all the drawings and submit your annexe for Planning approval.

Add in a few weeks for manufacturing or preparing a custom build and your moving in day can be several months away from when you first order your annexe.

That gives you plenty of time to plan for your big move.

And nobody offers a wider choice of annexe styles & designs than us.

That’s why we like to call annexe living, downsizing without compromising because it’s easy when you see what is possible.



  • The beauty of annexe living is that is is usually a win / win for all concerned.
  • It is perfect for downsizing without compromising and can free up equity to help family members at the same time.
  • With a little planning ahead downsizing can quickly turn from a dreaded task into an enjoyable one.
  • We offer the widest range of annexe available to choose from and a turn-key service to make everything as easy as possible.

As always we look forward to your thoughts and comments below or join in the conversation on our Facebook Page! Use The Contact Us Page To Email Us With Your Enquiry

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