The Art of Downsizing

Whether you’re entering into retirement, purchasing a townhouse or smaller home to reduce home maintenance or unfortunately dealing with the passing of a family member, the process of downsizing and preparing a home for sale can be an overwhelming and daunting task. If you’re thinking about making a move, it’s recommended that you begin up to one year prior to listing your home. Wondering where to begin? Grab some large bags (we like the big reusable shopping bags like from IKEA, but you can also use plain contractor or garbage bags) and small boxes. then head for one of the areas listed below:

  1. Closets, closets, closets. Review your wardrobe and consider donating items you haven’t worn (or fit in!) during the past year or two. Be realistic about sizes you keep…The average person only wears 20% of the clothing they own!

  2. Basement/Attic/Garage. Are you part of the 25% of Americans that have a two car garage but can only park one car because its become a storage area? Is that utility room in the basement cluttered from top to bottom? Group like items together and place in plastic totes with labels, i.e. holiday decorations, camping equipment, etc.

  3. Home Office. If you have old computers, printers, or monitors, that still work, they can be donated. DellReconnect.com is a partnership with Goodwill that accepts any brand of computer, as well as “just about anything that can be connected to a computer,” according to the website. You can drop off used devices at participating Goodwill locations around the country. Cellphonesforsoldiers.com collects all brands of used cell phones and either sends them to troops or recycles them, reducing the impact on landfills.

  4. Kitchen. Still holding on to that bread, ice cream or waffle maker? Box up seldom used small appliances, and old cookware, dinnerware to donate. Is your plastic or glass food storage container drawer overflowing? Edit and only keep newer ones with matching lids.

Fortunately, today there are numerous charitable resources available, and we use them often when assisting with “clearing the clutter” in our clients’ homes. Some donation sites like Greendrop.com will even allow you to choose which specific charity your belongings will go to, including groups like National Federation of the Blind, American Red Cross, American Veterans, Purple Heart and Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Save only what matters to you. Take a positive approach and don't look at it like you're getting rid of everything that you once loved. Instead, think in terms of saving what is important and what you will actually use in your new life. If an item doesn't bring you joy and satisfaction, then let go of it and offer it to someone else have it so they can appreciate it to its fullest. Simplify your life by having a smaller but more valuable collection of belongings.