Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of home buyers are choosing to downsize by purchasing a smaller property than the one they already live in, according to recent figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Jan Hytch, president of the NAEA, says downsizing can “be a perfect opportunity for home owners to raise capital, prioritise what's important and get rid of any unnecessary clutter”.

Tips offered by the NAEA for making the process go smoothly include steering away from trying to arrange your new home like your old one.

Consider built-in storage, sofa beds and fitted wardrobes to maximise space. Disposing of long-held possessions can pull on the heart strings, but planning in advance will help you focus on what you want to keep and what you need to cast away as you start your new life.

Perhaps you could make extra cash by putting some of your possessions under the hammer at a local auction house or even organise a full clearance if you want to start afresh.

You could always put some items in temporary storage until after you have moved to give yourself extra decision-making time.

Measure your existing furniture and use floor plans of your new property to work out how it will all fit. Bear the shape of your furniture in mind as well and whether it can be manoeuvred into your new home.

Hytch adds: “It’s clear that downsizing is on the minds of many and if this process is carried out in the correct way it can be hugely beneficial to the home owner.

“The appeal of owning a potentially mortgage-free property or lower energy bills can be key considerations, particularly for ‘empty nesters’ who find themselves no longer needing a larger home.”