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Jan 15, 2013

Big to Small: Tips to Balm the Painful Process of Downsizing

123JUNK sees many people downsizing their homes due to short sales, foreclosures, mortgage issues, or just wanting a smaller place to live. Other clients may be moving into a retirement community due to a death in the family or the desire to have less home and yard care or a more simple lifestyle. Whatever the reason, often a new home or apartment involves less storage and living space than the previous residence. This creates tough decisions of keeping or disposing of certain items. While we do not take it upon ourselves to directly consult clients on what to get rid of, the following may help give you some ideas about how to go about clearing out your possessions so that you can have room to actually navigate, live, and enjoy your new, smaller place of residence.

Here are some downsizing tips from our experience:

Usually, the contents of the basement and attics are the first to be examined for purposes of downsizing. These items are in storage because, unlike items in other rooms of the home, they obviously are used less often, if ever. Many items have been stored because the homeowner thinks “in the future I might use this,” but with the exception of photos and other objects of sentimental value, they are actually doing nothing more than taking up space. Even some things with sentimental value may need to be seriously considered for disposal if their size is bulky and they take up lots of room, or if there are numerous examples of such items.

Major bedroom and living room furniture is another category which often must go. Whether the furniture had been in storage “just in case” or was actually being used in the former, larger residence, there is often no feasible way to transfer it to the new, smaller living area.

The two or three rooms most commonly used in your house are likely to contain many items you need to keep. Depending on the size of the downsized residence, even clothes, books, and other objects which can be used (but not necessarily are) may need to be considered for downsizing.

Disposal Options

The good news is that many of these items are often in good enough shape that the preferred method of donation to charity is a feasible option, which is better for the community (the needy people receiving the donations or the organization using them to raise funds for a certain cause) and better for the individual donor (you may qualify for tax breaks, which can really add up depending on how much is being disposed of).

Getting Organized

If you’re in a downsizing operation and need help with sorting, we also are connected with several professional organizers and can make suggestions to consultants who will make the entire job of sifting through your years of collecting stuff much easier. It is impossible to keep an objective outlook when sorting through your life, and so it is often well worth the money to hire a professional organizer.

Our job will be to make sure that the stuff you mark to disappear will indeed go to new homes or be properly recycled or disposed of. Properly downsizing means getting rid of a lot of stuff which you might otherwise hold on to for years to come, but you will feel happier and will be able to breath easier once it is all gone!

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