You did it! You found your dream apartment in the perfect location. Whether you’re a Baby Boomer downsizing or a Millennial moving for the first time, you’re experiencing the thrill of a new place. Then, you realize your new rental won’t hold all your stuff.

If this is you, don’t worry. There are a few simple steps you can follow to make downsizing go smoothly.

Step 1: Declutter

We often equate more stuff with success and happiness, but there’s something to be said for decluttering. Chances are that you can easily donate or sell much of your excess stuff without too much trauma.

As you make decisions about what to keep and what to purge, ask yourself these questions:

  • How often do I use it? It’s tempting to cling onto the idea that you may need certain items someday — even if you haven’t used them in years.
  • Is it replaceable? If you haven’t given an everyday item a second glance in years, it’s probably safe to say you can toss it.
  • Do I really love it? If it’s a family heirloom or one of your most prized possessions, you may want to put it in the “keep” pile. Otherwise, go back to question one.
  • Does it fit into my desired lifestyle? If you’re moving to a tiny apartment and plan on traveling for most of the year, for example, you probably don’t need that large bar cart anymore.

Step 2: Dispose

What do you do with all the stuff you’re getting rid of? Donating to AMVETS, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army is always a good option. You can also ask family and friends if they need what you’re looking to get rid of.

For high-ticket items, consider selling them through eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, or local consignment stores to bring in a little extra cash. To get the most out of the transactions, research to determine the going rate for your items at each location.

Last but not least, throw things away. Honestly, a lot of your stuff won’t be valuable to anyone else. If this is the case then pitch it and start fresh.

Step 3: Store

After purging, you might still have things you want to keep that won’t fit nicely in your apartment. Renting a storage unit is the best option. You wouldn’t sign your new apartment lease before seeing the place, so be sure to view the storage unit you’re considering in person, too. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for the perfect option:

  1. Size: Is the unit big enough? Is it easily accessible? If you’ll need access regularly (say, every Christmas for decorations or summer for water skis), you’ll want a unit that’s large enough so you can easily get to what you need. Use a sizing chart to help you determine what size will fit your particular needs.
  1. Cost: You’ll want to get the right size for the right price. Do a little research before selecting a unit, and be sure to take rental fees and fines into consideration when you’re working on your budget.
  1. Climate control: Besides things that are meant to be kept outside, like patio furniture and lawn tools, everything is better off in a climate-controlled unit. Materials like wood shrink and swell with changing temperatures, and this can be damaging over time. Climate-controlled storage keeps your belongings cleaner and in better condition.
  1. Coverage: You want to be covered in case of loss. Most renters’ policies don’t include possessions stored off the property, so ensure the facility has a good policy in place to protect your belongings. Places like StorageMart, advise customers to either get coverage through the company or a third-party provider.

Moving is always exciting, especially if you’re finally getting that dream apartment. Downsizing and placing your excess belongings in a storage unit ensures your new space will be less cluttered, leaving you more room to enjoy your home. Why let too much stuff drag you down as you launch into your new life?

Cris Burnam has been working in the self-storage industry since 1987. He has served as president of StorageMart since founding the company with his brother, Mike Burnam, in 1999. Cris grew StorageMart from a single self-storage facility into the world’s largest privately owned self-storage company with 170 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Cris was named a 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Services and Real Estate category (Central Midwest region) — one of the highest honors an American entrepreneur can receive.