Americans are increasingly looking to downsize their homes.Although downsizing can be liberating, there are several things you need to do before you can move into a smaller home.We spoke to an expert who told us 11 things everyone should do before they downsize.The number of Americans downsizing their homes is skyrocketing.Forty-six percent of baby boomers who sold homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing, according to a Zillow report, and a full 12% of the home buyers between 45 and 64 were doing the same, according to the National Association of Realtors.Whether it's because of retirement, kids leaving home, a drop in income, divorce, or another reason, it often makes financial sense to find a smaller and more economical place to live.Read more: My husband and I bought our home, but if I had to do it all over again I'd choose to rent insteadBut before you make the move, a lot of work needs to go into downsizing, including the tedious process of deciding which of your possessions to keep and which ones to give away.That process can be painful, but it can also be liberating, said Karen Shinn, a senior move manager and cofounder of Downsizing Diva, a Toronto business that specializes in helping seniors declutter their lives.Shinn shared 11 steps everyone should take before they downsize, and it's a useful lesson for anyone looking to part with things they don't need.SEE ALSO:My husband and I bought our home, but if I had to do it all over again I'd choose to rent insteadDON'T MISS:I moved from New England to San Francisco ' here are the 7 things that surprised me mostTake photos of your home before you downsizeThere are two reasons to take photos your home before you start to pare down, Shinn said. First, it can be fun to look back at your old place after you move. And it can also be a tool to help you select what to take with you. Look through the photos, she said, and see what your eye goes to"those are the things to keep.Keep things you want, use, need, or like to look atThis is Shinns mantra. You want to identify the things that make your house a home, she said. This includes objects that give you pleasure or have sentimental value. She said the art you hang on the wall is particularly important in creating a feeling of home in your new space.On the other hand, dont take the chipped mugs and other items in bad shape. Youre worth it, Shinn said. You take the good stuff. Shinn said that when she helps clear out estates, she often finds precious items, like gifted tea towels, completely unused, while old and threadbare towels hang in the kitchen. Always use the good stuff, she said. Dont save it for a special occasion.Don't over-save for the next generationMany people like to save their possessions so they can pass them on to their children or grandchildren. Shinn says you shouldn't.Weve had people who were thinking that their granddaughter might want their dining room suite, so they want to put it in storage, Shinn said. The only problem' The granddaughter was just 10 at the time. Shinn suggested taking the money that they would have paid for storage and putting that in the bank every month instead. When the granddaughter turned 20, they could give her the money and she could buy herself the dining room set she wants.Shinn noted that millennials and Gen X-ers, the children of many people downsizing for retirement right now, would rather collect experiences than stuff. They almost certainly dont want most of your older stuff, so dont save it for them.See the rest of the story at Business Insider Click here to read full news..