Checklist for Downsizing

The term “downsizing” is used when people move from a larger residence to a smaller one. You often see downsizing with empty nesters once the kids have flown the roost, or with elderly people as they desire a smaller, less maintenance-heavy home, convenient one-floor living that they don’t have now, or need to enter an assisted care residence.

But the problem with downsizing is that there is no way you are going to be able to take all your stuff with you! So how do you decide what stays and what goes? Although you are looking forward to the next chapter in your life, it does come with the bittersweet memories of clearing out years of family history.

Organizing your move is your key to success. Use this helpful downsizing checklist to help:

Plan Ahead

  • Start decluttering as soon as you decide to move, and continue this process until it’s time to pack.
  • Collect and put into a file cabinet important papers including wills, powers of attorney, medical and military records, birth certificates, passports, etc. Let key family members know where they are located.
  • Have the children remove their own keepsakes


  • Make lists in a “Moving” notebook. Write down tasks and timelines, and important contacts.
  • Collect moving company estimates, arrange for utility switchovers
  • Make a floor plan of the new home; determine what furniture will fit
  • Hire a relocation specialist or professional organizer (if the budget allows)


  • Sort and divide possessions into four categories: definitely save, possibly save, donate sell + give away, discard.
  • Create piles or use colored labels to mark boxes for each category.
  • If you will be selling an estate, create a room where you store these items


  • Let others help!
  • Clearly label boxes with their destination room, list briefly what’s in each box.
  • Create “open first” boxes with essentials like toiletries, cooking, bedding, food, medications, flashlights and emergency items
  • Pack and secure valuables like jewelry and remove them if possible: place them with a trusted neighbor to hold or put them into your safety deposit box.
  • Create a file for important move paperwork: lease, contact number, keys, legal documents, checkbooks, etc.


  • Pack or pile items to be discarded; ask family if they want anything in this pile.
  • If selling big or expensive items, get an appraisal. Items can be sold online at sites like Craigslist, at auction sites like eBay, and at local auctions or consignment shops. Or hold a yard sale.
  • Donate items to area charities. Get a receipt for tax deductions.
  • For donations or discards, call a junk removal service like 123JUNK.  If you can, move out and leave behind anything you want to dispose of. 123JUNK can clear out the entire house for you.

The 123JUNK Donate-Recycle-Dispose Process

123JUNK offers full service junk removal for all your hauling needs, done through our three-step process of donate-recycle-dispose. Perfectly good items that can be repurposed or reused are donated to our charitable partners so they can recycle them to people who need them. We provide you with photographs and an electronic receipt for your tax deductions. Then we sort through what’s left to see what can be recycled, like paper, plastic, metals and electronics. Finally, we deliver what’s left to the area landfill.

If you’re considering downsizing and are located in Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. or Maryland, let 123JUNK help you organize a plan. We understand that your possessions are near and dear to your heart, so you’ll appreciate the empathy our courteous, uniformed staff provide. We look forward to helping you move. Contact 123JUNK today.


The Proper Way to Lift Heavy Items

Whether you’re moving from one house to another, or just getting out the holiday decorations, you need to take care to protect your back.

Each year, more than 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. In fact, back pain is the most common reason for missing work and the single leading cause of disability worldwide.

The best way to avoid back injury from strain or spinal disc compression is to practice Proper Lifting Technique.

Proper Lifting Technique

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other, to give you a wide support base.
  • Squat down, bending at the knees and hips only. You might put one knee onto the floor for support.
  • Slide the object toward you, do not reach for the heavy item.
  • Lift with your legs. Lift the item slowly, straightening your knees and hips and not using your back. Be careful not to twist while you are lifting.
  • Use slow and smooth movements.
  • Maintain good posture, keeping your back straight, your chest out and your eyes forward.
  • Keep the load as close to your body as possible, at belly-button level.
  • Change direction only with your feet, not your back, and take small steps.
  • Squat with only your knees and hips as you put the load down.


  • Lift by bending forward. Always bend your knees and hips.
  • Lift heavy objects above your shoulder level.
  • Turn or twist while carrying a heavy load.
  • Arch your back.
  • Rely on a back protector.
  • Walk on slippery surfaces while carrying a heavy item.

123JUNK offers an alternative to heavy lifting

When you need help lifting, moving or disposing of heavy objects, let 123JUNK help. We offer a Labor-Only Service just for this reason. We’re trained in the proper techniques of moving heavy items and can help save your back.

Among our Labor-Only Services, 123JUNK can:

  • Move furniture from one location to another within in your business or home (perfect for when you need to paint!)
  • Unload a storage container, box truck or van
  • Remove large and bulky items from the home or office
  • Help organize your yard, garage, attic or basement

Take care of your back by letting 123JUNK do the heavy work. Call us today at 800-364-5778 or conveniently book your date online.

Pool with leaves

Let 123JUNK Get Rid of that Unused Pool or Hot Tub

You don’t have to live with an outdated, yard-hogging or damaged above-ground pool or unused and unsightly hot tub just because you thought it was too big a chore to take it down. It really is as simple as dialing the telephone.

Pools and hot tubs take a lot of work to maintain, not to mention the expense, and they can become repositories for bacteria, molds, insects and vermin when not maintained regularly. They can also detract from a lovely landscape and actually reduce the value of your home.

If you don’t use it, lose it

123JUNK will send its experienced professionals to dismantle and remove your pool or hot tub for you.

First, we will take a look at the job and give you an all-inclusive price. Then, not only do we take it down, load it into our big red truck and haul it away, your unwanted item may gain new life as we recycle materials like metals, plastics and wood from decking instead of tossing them into our area landfills. Ours is a green and environmental solution to quick and easy disposal, in alignment with our Donate-Recycle-Dispose philosophy.

In addition, if your hot tub is in good working condition and you simply do not want it any more, we may even be able to find it a new home through one of our charitable partners.

Safety is key

Prior to removal, make sure that water is drained and utilities like electrical sources and water are disconnected, and remove loose items like pumps and relocate adjacent plantings if necessary. This will facilitate the removal and protect your landscaping. We will take the utmost care to remove your items safely, both for protection of our workers and your property.

This year, instead of closing up your pool or hot tub for winter, get rid of it! Call 123JUNK.


9 Tips For Determining What Needs to Go

Look around your home and office and you are likely to see stacks of unread magazines or newspapers, boxes you haven’t opened in years or drawers so stuffed that they can’t close properly. What you have is a case of clutter.

You may say, “But I’ve been saving that,” or “I’ll get to it,” but in reality, the clutter sits. Day after day and year after year.

For most people, clearing away the clutter leads to inner calm. But how do you sort through it and get rid of stuff without the accompanying regrets? Here are nine tips to help:

  1. Is it broken?
    It doesn’t work and can’t be fixed.
  2. Would you replace it?
    It doesn’t work and you wouldn’t replace it.
  3. Did you replace the item with a newer one?
    You kept the old item even though you bought a newer model.
  4. Do you use it?
    You don’t use it, even though it is potentially useful.
  5. Does it serve a purpose?
    As with kitchen gadgets, it might be cute, but is never used.
  6. Does it have memories?
    There is no emotional attachment to the item.
  7. Are you saving it?
    You have stashed away items that are “too good” to use or you plan to use it for a special occasion.
  8. Is it taking up closet space?
    Many items that are neatly stored are just taking up space.
  9. Have you ever used it?
    You purchased items and never use them.

Your Local Community Would Love to Have These Items

123JUNK works with a number of charitable partners like Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the Pender ReGift Thrift or A Wider Circle who would love to repurpose your unwanted or unused items. We sort through all of our pickups to see what items can be reused and designate them for our local charities to make available in their stores or pantries. They can go to families who can’t afford to purchase these items on their own and take on new life.

When you have 123JUNK make a pickup, you’ll not only be creating a peaceful space in your own home or business, you’ll have the pleasure of knowing that your donation will be helping others in your own community. In addition, 123JUNK will take a picture of your donation and provide you with a receipt for a tax deduction.

Help yourself and your neighbors. Call 123JUNK today to haul away unwanted or unused goods, trash, clutter, yard waste or outdated appliances like refrigerators and stoves. We’ll take almost anything.

A Wider Circle

123JUNK is Proud to Support A Wider Circle

123JUNK is pleased to be working with A Wider Circle as one of our charitable partners.

Celebrating 15 years in public service in October 2016, A Wider Circle demonstrates passion about its mission to end poverty, providing resources so that every child and adult has a chance to succeed and the opportunities to live well. In the past 15 years, they have served 170,000 children and adults, furnished 29,000 homes, hosted 90,000 volunteers, helped 5,000 adults prepare for the workforce, and redistributed 40 million pounds of furniture.

123JUNK Supports A Wider Circle’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program

A Wider Circle’s services are provided free of charge and include the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program, where furniture, household items and small good are provided to families transitioning out of shelters, escaping domestic violence, or living without basic need items. Each year, they furnish the homes of more than 4,000 families.

123JUNK is a major provider of an endless supply of household furniture and goods to A Wider Circle’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program. From our daily pickups and cleanouts throughout the Montgomery County, Maryland area, we cull through our loads and deliver perfectly re-usable items to our drop-off point where A Wider Circle volunteers can gather the items to recycle them back into the community. A list of needed items is available on their website.

You can take pleasure in the fact that the simple act of calling 123JUNK for pickup of unwanted or unused furnishings and household items spreads wider than just removing junk from your home or office. What you no longer need can indeed be a windfall for someone who has nothing or is starting over. Plus, you receive a receipt for your donation that you can deduct on your tax returns.

In addition to furniture and household good donations, A Wider Circle also collects Essentials, like healthy, non-perishable food, new personal care items, and non-toxic cleaning supplies, and clothing and accessories to help outfit clients for interviews and jobs.

A Wider Circle Supports its Community in Many Ways

A Wider Circle’s services extend far beyond furnishing a home. The organization also assists with Workforce Development, Wellness Programming, Well Mother/Well Baby Programs, and Public Housing Wellness. “We are dedicated to helping individuals and families pursue a new vision for their lives – a vision that does not include poverty.”

Volunteers are always welcome, and so are financial donations. “We depend on donations from local community members, businesses and civic organizations in order to provide services to our clients free of charge.” Just $50 provides a child or adult with the basic items – from beds, tables and chairs to sheets and towels. $80 fuels the trucks for day, $250 covers the cost of supplies and materials for educational workshops, and $500 can fund a beautification project at a low-income school or neighborhood. This November, you can help sponsor a family for Thanksgiving dinner or donate gifts and gift cards for the December holidays.

At 123JUNK, we made it our mission from the start to do good for the communities in which we work. We are proud to be able to assist A Wider Circle and support their goal to eliminate poverty in our neighborhoods.