Tips On How Downsize Your Possessions.

Small HouseMoving to a smaller home?  Here’s how to downsize your possessions and avoid having to make hasty, last minute decisions about what goes and what doesn’t.


Just about everyone will eventually need to move into a smaller home. While it may seem easy, it isn’t. If you’re like everyone else, you’ve accumulated all kinds of things through the years; but, now it’s time to make some tough decisions about which items to bring along. Depending on the sizes of your existing and new or prospective homes, it may take upwards of six months to carefully plan and complete your move.  Careful planning will help to minimize the mistakes and the stress that’s always a part of such a change. I’ve listed below some helpful tips to make the entire process easier. However, everyone learns from the mistakes of others, so feel free to post your comments at the bottom!! By sharing your experiences, my suggested list will become that much more complete.


1. Compare floor plans.  Whether you’ve already decided on a new home or are considering one, it will be extremely helpful to compare the floor plans of your current and future homes. Take careful measurements of the rooms on each floor, including closets, hallways and bathrooms. Don’t forget to pencil in the doorways, since you’re really trying to understand how your furniture might best be placed in each room. Then draw simple diagrams of each floor and insert the dimensions of each room. This type of comparison will allow you to quickly see how much of your existing furniture will comfortably fit in the new or prospective home. While a quick comparison the total square footage of the homes will give you a rough idea of how much furniture might fit, knowing the size and layout of each room (e.g., doorways) is the only way to know for certain.


2. Identify the “must keep” items. Since you won’t be able to bring along all of your furniture, make a list of the items that are most cherished and that you couldn’t live without. If the dining room set makes the list, be sure your new home has either a dining room or an area large enough to accommodate it. Measure each of these items and fit them into the new floor plan, as discussed above.


3. Donate, trade or sell? Now that you know which items of furniture won’t make the cut, think about who might most appreciate what can’t be brought along. You also need to consider whether you can afford to simply give away some items, as opposed to selling them in a yard sale or to a secondhand reseller. Since you’re going to need some help moving your things to the new home, you might trade some furniture for some manual labor and/or access to a truck on moving day.


4. Family assistance: Consider getting your family involved, as they may be both glad to help and have an interest in some of the furniture, lawn equipment and other items you won’t be taking along. When downsizing your home, your family may be a huge help in more ways than one!


5. How much is that worth? Check Craig’s List, if you’re not sure of what certain items might be worth. If any antiques are to be sold, it might pay to have them marketed at an antiques shop that accepts consignments. Similarly, if stamps or coins are involved, don’t rush to unload them until you’re comfortable you know their approximate value. If time doesn’t permit you to make such a determination, keep them in a safe deposit box or entrust them to a family member.


6. Timing is everything! Plan your move, if possible, so you have at least three months of good weather prior to the date you wish to actually move. Remember, you will be spending time outside holding yard sales and running items to Goodwill, which you don’t want to be doing in the hottest, rainiest or coldest parts of the year.


7. The most difficult task. The most difficult task will likely be sorting through your personal papers, photographs and mementos and deciding what must be retained. I have recommended you give yourself 3-6 months to get moved, since tasks like sorting through your old photographs and mementos can take quite a bit of time. One idea, however, to ensure you remain focused on your ultimate goal of moving out, is to divide you day into performing different tasks. For example, the morning might be set aside for determining which items will be tagged for the yard sale, while the evening could be spent going through the more cherished, personal items. If you’re having difficulty making some decisions, ask your family for help. You may be surprised how much interest family members express for certain items you weren’t sure about.


8. The yard sale. Since many subdivisions host yard sales periodically, find out when yours will be and try to arrange to participate. Assuming the proper event marketing is undertaken, the greater the number of participants, the larger the turnout of potential buyers. Also, the marketing costs can be spread among all of the participants.


9. Box sizes and the move schedule. When the time comes to pack your things, don’t use the largest boxes available. Since boxes, like basements, have a tendency to get filled to the brim, use smaller boxes that won’t need to be repacked, due to their weight. Similarly, if it’s a local move, try to spread the move over a 3 or 4 day period. Why take a chance on the weather or the unexpected absence of a helper. Smaller boxes may involve more trips, but you won’t have to worry about an aching back or other avoidable injuries.

I just found a 2009 Wall Street Journal article on downsizing written by June Fletcher, June’s idea was to consider culling your stuff that’s located the furthest from your living room and kitchen. Here’s her thoughtful idea. “Use concentric circles: When we acquire objects, we place them in our house relative to their emotional value to us. Objects that are in the heart of the home, in the family room and kitchen, are those we value and use the most, so they can be packed up immediately. Those objects farthest away from these rooms, in a shed, attic or basement, may have lost their importance to us over time. That’s where we should begin the culling process. Then move to other rooms farthest from the home’s prime living areas, like the bedrooms. Continue culling in ever-smaller circles.”

I don’t propose that this list covers every possible good idea, so please share your experiences in the comment box below. With everyone’s help, a more definitive list of moving tips will come to life.

Call, text or email me with any questions, or if you need a Realtor to sell your home and/or find your next one! 502.807.4999

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