The concept of downsizing sounds really appealing to the typical empty nester, but actually taking the steps to do it can seem a bit overwhelming. However, it doesn't have to be! We've put together some simple rules and tips to help get you in the right mindset to start the process.
START WITH A PLAN
Think of the end goal and your task ahead will turn from a burden to a plan. The Goal - less upkeep, lower bills & more freedom to live the lifestyle you've waited for.
Start with the specifications on your new place. What's the difference in square footage to your current house? What's the room count difference to your current house?
Pro tip: Take it room by room. Don't get overwhelmed! Keep in mind that on average, individuals and families that downsize end up keeping only 1/3 to 1/2 of everything in a given space.
SEPARATE INTO KEEP / TOSS / DONATE-GIVE / SELL
When going through a room or area, separate into piles:
KEEP - you're definitely taking this with you to your new place
TOSS - straight to the trash
DONATE/GIVE - donate to your charity of choice or intentional giving to family members or friends
SELL - sell for cash
Pro tip: Avoid having a MAYBE pile. This just causes more decision-making later on. We like Marie Kondo's method - if it no longer brings a spark of joy, it needs to move on. The condition of the piece and its value will be indicators as to whether it should be tossed, donated or sold.
These are sometimes the toughest items to downsize as they carry emotional attachment that bring back both memories and nostalgia.
Think about the last time you used the item or perhaps when was the last time you even saw it? And what are the reasons for it being sentimental?
We recommend the following when it comes to these items:
Use the things you love! Incorporate them into your decor or use it in place of something that doesn't have as much meaning attached to it. Have a quilt from your grandmother? Use it as a throw for an accent chair in your office. Got a set of silverware from your parents? Make it your everyday set and use it on a daily basis.
Repurpose it! Perhaps you have a piece of furniture that's too far gone for repair or just not your style. Take some wood from it and have it made into something else - shelves, a planter box, etc.
Keep one of many. Who says you have to keep the whole set? Take one from the bunch and move on.
Don't feel guilty about letting an item go. Usually, the item is not what is sentimental but a particular association with a person, event or time. Remember, you can still have the memory without keeping the physical object.
Pro tip: Consider legacy gifts early. You don't have to pass on in order for your children and grandchildren to receive your heirlooms. It's a win/win. They get to enjoy it early and you get to lessen your keep pile.
SELLING AND DONATING YOUR ITEMS
Everyone likes to get a return on their investment even if it's just a small amount. Here are some ways we recommend selling your items:
Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace - Free online listings
Estate Sale Companies - Although these companies can take a hefty percentage, they take the headache out of selling your items. If you're selling a large number of items, you should consider this option.
Garage Sale - Sell the items yourself.
Pro tip: If you're doing it yourself in a garage sale, skip the clothes and knick-knacks and focus on the big stuff like furniture, rugs, electronics, etc.
Your other option is to donate items. Although this may seem like a no-gain option, you might could make out even better with a tax-deduction. See the Salvation Army's Valuation guide for the value of donated goods.
YOU DID IT! NOW WHAT?
It's time to sell your house! You've already cleared out the clutter, and we can help you with the rest. We've teamed up with local real estate experts to give you a free and honest home valuation so that you know exactly where you stand.
You'll also have access to our designer who can give you expert advice about staging and ways to sell your home fast.
IT'S TIME TO LIVE THE LIFESTYLE YOU'VE WAITED FOR! WELCOME TO RABBIT RUN!