There are many reasons why a person may decide to move from a house to an apartment. Some have raised their families and don't want to the upkeep responsibilities of a house any longer. Others have been hit financially, and downsizing to an apartment is a necessity. In either case, people have a tendency to fill the space they have, which means those who have been living in a house usually have a lot of stuff -- often more that they will be able to use in an apartment. In these cases, some scaling back must be done in order to fit into the new place.
Give Yourself Time
Making any move is a big deal, and some moves come up rather suddenly. But in most cases people at least have an inkling that they will need to downsize their lifestyle and fit into a smaller space. In these cases, the downsizing process can start several months before the actual move, and usually long before you've chosen an apartment to move into.
With time, you can organize yard sales or donate items to charity. You can sell your snow blower or lawn mower during the appropriate season. You can even scale back gradually while you are still in your house by designating a few rooms to live in that will function similarly to the apartment you will live in.
Giving yourself time will also allow you to look at a wider variety of apartments and get on a waiting list for a place you really want, rather than settling for what's available. With a wider net, you can get the amenities you are looking for and even find a place that will accommodate your pets.
Make a List of What You Need
If you were to move into an apartment for just one month, and then return to your house what would you take? For the most part, the items you choose represent what is truly necessary to your life. As you go through everything else, you will likely find other things you don't want to part with, but you will know to be choosy about how much of it comes with you.
Sell or Give Away "House Only" Items
Another part of downsizing to an apartment is getting rid of things that you need a home of your own to use. The lawnmower, snow blower, various shovels, outdoor grills and gardening supplies are all things that are normally useless or unnecessary when you live in an apartment. Snow and lawn care will be included in your lease, and often there will be grills on the premises that you can use. Even if you can use your grill, you'll have to move away from the building to do it, and it's often easier to the ones already provided.
It's also a good time to take a look at all those things that aren't on your one month list. Most of these can probably be sold as well. This will likely include much of your furniture, artwork, dishes, and some kitchen appliances. If you've been in the house for a while, you may want to give items away to family members who have developed a sentimental attachment to those items. But the things that do sell will provide you with some much needed extra cash you'll want when you first settle in to the new place.
Prepare Kids and Pets
If you are the head of the household, you have probably had some time to make your decision to move, or have at least get used to the idea. Generally, change is more difficult for kids and animals, so it is important to be sensitive to what they are going through. If you are taking a dog, bring him to a dog park similar to the one that will be near your new place.
Talk to your kids about their new school and activities they can get involved in. Remind them of ways they can keep in touch with friends in their current neighborhood by writing letters, emailing, and responsible social networking.