This is a great time to be a seller in the real estate market, and that goes double so if you’re thinking about downsizing.
Call it a sign of the times, but downsizing is definitely a trend. a 2017 study indicates that 46% of people in the Baby Boomer generation did so to sell their home, and about 12% of those aged 45 to 64 were doing the same. Whether you’re moving into an empty-nest house that now has too many extra bedrooms, or a Millennial who wants to embrace minimalism or the RV life, there are times when less really is more.
So where do you start when you have a home full of memories and stuff? We have a guide that can get you started.
1. Start early (the earlier, the better)
You’ll hear all kinds of estimates about how much time you should devote to downsizing before you move, three months is probably the absolute minimum you’ll want to dedicate to the process.
In fact, you should start as early as possible. Thinking about downsizing in two years when your youngest leaves the house? Start putting together your downsizing plan today. The more time you give to yourself, the less hasty and stressful the process will be.
2. Choose a Way to Deal with Your Assets
All are types of methods From the KonMari Method to the minimalist game, designed to help people purge the excess stuff. For downsizing, we recommend the three-box method. As you go through your assets, everything is assigned to one of the following stacks:
Your “store” pile should be the smallest, and your “let go” pile should be the largest. In fact, the only things that go into storage are seasonal or special occasion items.
(If you haven’t started the process of listing your property for sale, your “keep” pile doesn’t really have to go in a box. Those items can live on your shelves or walls for as long as Don’t get too close to the trick.)
3. Start with Decluttering
You’ll find a large project like this less intimidating if you break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. When you’re (finally) talking about cleaning up an empty house, the easiest place to start is with the clutter that tends to accumulate in every home.
Some examples of fields to be declared first include:
- kitchen cabinets: Get rid of chipped plates, extra cups and all those pieces of cookware that never see the light of day. If you really only use those three or four pans, don’t be afraid to get rid of the rest.
- DVD, CD and Video Game Racks: You probably have a collection of hard copies that have long since been replaced by digital editions. Still holding onto old VHS tapes? It’s time to donate them all.
- Dresser drawer and closet: Because “out of sight” equals “out of mind,” it’s time to open up and reduce everything. If you haven’t worn it in the past year or it’s worn out, it’s time to let it go. This includes things hidden in the bottom of the linen closet.
- Garages, mudrooms, attics and basements: Seasonal items as well as random (and, often, useless) items tend to gather in these places. Box and label seasonal decorations and keep only what you really think you will use in the future.
The good feeling that comes from purging your home of all unwanted stuff can also make it easier to motivate yourself for the rest of the work.
4. Consider Your Goals and Re-purge
Now that you have a good chunk of stuff in your “Let It Go” pile, you need to look at all the things that are left over. In particular, pay attention to the items you place around the main living areas of your home, such as the family room, dining room, and bedroom.
This is where the decision-making process of downsizing can become difficult. Perhaps you have a lot of memories tied up in your skills, art, and other items – but you’ll only have so much at your new place. This is the time to be a little ruthless with yourself and take things even further, paying attention to the kind of space you anticipate.
This is a great time to consider your post-downsizing goals. Do you find yourself traveling a lot? Do you want to explore new hobbies? Clarity about your future goals can help you decide whether what you have in mind fits your vision of the future – or not. After all, the space you have in a luxury apartment is not the same space you have in an RV.
There’s a big tip to remember during this stage of the process: Per Marie Kwondo, give up anything that doesn’t really bring you pleasure. Keep only what you are really interested in moving into your new home.
5. Decide on a Plan for Unwanted Items
Finally, it’s time to get rid of everything that hasn’t already hit the trash. Look at the pile of boxes or items you’re ready to purge and consider your options:
- Rent a dumper or put it on curbs: If you have a lot of large items (old furniture and broken or damaged equipment), you can either stop them for a special trash day pick-up or rent a dumpster.
- Make a Big Sale: If you have the energy, list specialty items on eBay or the local market. If you don’t, consider a yard sale. Either option is great if you have a lot of high-quality, rarely used items ready to go.
- donate: Thrift stores, “freecycle” and “zero-waste” groups are all good options for unwanted items.
- Gift Special Items: Don’t hold anything to “pass down” to the next generation in the future. Pass them on today with joy in your heart. If it turns out that your valuable gifts are not really needed by someone you know, put them in the charity pile or sell them.
If all of this still seems overwhelming and too much to manage, remember: You don’t have to do it alone. There lots of professional organizers There are those out there that can help ease work (and stress), so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. This way, you will be able to move on to the next stage of your life without any hesitation!