So if you’re going to simplify, you have two jobs to do at the same time: reduce your possessions and look for your new home.
Reduce possessions gradually if possible – probably over several months. Go round the house room by room, drawer by drawer, and be ruthless.
Target the attic and the garage in particular where all the half-forgotten stuff lives. Hack through the kitchen and the bathroom where the unsentimental stuff lives. And be unforgiving with clothes, books, CDs ... all the collections which are, when it comes down to it, baggage.
If you really can’t decide whether to keep or chuck, get a friend to say ‘aww come on, you haven’t used that for years!’. You’ll find that’s nearly always what they do say.
Sell stuff at auction, car boot sales and on eBay, and whatever’s left give to the charity shops.
Now assess the stuff you’re keeping. Measure your furniture and count your storage cupboards. You will need to know how your worldly goods will fit into your new space, particularly the larger items like the sofa, the wardrobe, the table and your bed.
Simultaneous job two is to properly research your new home. Visit property websites and register for updates, keep an eye on local newspapers covering the areas you’re interested in and make yourself known to local estate agents and builders, so you’re at the front of the queue when relevant homes become available.
Unless you really have a favourite street or village you’re targeting, look for houses in areas on the up. Analyse the specifics; a new bypass, a new local school, an improving train service. Locations with the greatest investment potential are those where long-term plans come to fruition after you buy.
Be relaxed if you can, take your time. You're not going anywhere until the moving stars in the property heaven all align.
Bargain hard at both the selling and buying ends – especially if you’re not in a hurry. The bigger the sale gap between your larger old house and the smaller new one, the more you will have to spend or invest on your new low-maintenance, high-fun lifestyle.