Downsizing Dilemmas

We see it all when we help folks who are downsizing their home! Over the years of assisting people, we’ve come to some conclusions about how to make the downsizing process less painful:

Common Pitfalls when Downsizing your Home
• Waiting too long to deal with your stuff
• Saving the wrong stuff – toss broken things
• Not telling family the stories/meaning of certain items
• Saving it because your parents saved it
• Boxing up items for tag sale, auctioneer or buyers to look at (they can’t see the items if they are in boxes)
• Storing things too long (they can get moldy, they can degrade, etc.)

Consequences
• Expenses are rising to clean out a home – hazardous waste, mold, mouse or insect infested items must be thrown away. It costs more and more to get trash picked up.
• Family will deal with it by throwing it in a dumpster and not looking to see if there is anything of value.
• Missing getting some money for items while you can sell them.
• Spending more money storing things than they are worth.
• Owning nice things that you’ve saved for “good” and have little value now.

Items to consider saving if you are moving
• Arm chair
• Ottoman that can double as a coffee table
• Easy-to-use storage items – plastic cart with drawers, shelf dividers, under-bed storage, clear plastic bins.
• Take part of your dish set (4-6 place settings max) and part of your flatware.
• Smaller pots and pans.

What to let go of as soon as possible
• Clothes you don’t wear – we wear 20% of what is in our closet – don’t pay to move clothes that you won’t wear!
• Paper – organize your important papers, shred personal papers you don’t need, clean out old receipts, taxes, canceled checks.
• Photos – divide them up with family, digitize them, and get rid of ones that you don’t want – save a couple vacation pictures (no one wants old vacation pictures). Historical photos may have some value but sort them out.
• Damaged Items – broken or moldy items, things that need mending or that you can’t get fixed, parts to items you used to own.
• Hazardous waste – make regular visits to the landfill with these items, get them out of the house.
• Recycling – keep up with recycling, don’t let it pile up – magazines, plastic, pie tins, etc.

Copyright 2018 by Christine E. Smart

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