Find the Right Home for Your Place in Life
Downsizing is one of those real estate terms that sometimes rubs buyers the wrong way. Most think of empty nesters or retirees moving from a large square footage family home to a smaller villa or condo. Some cringe thinking of having to sort through decades of possessions, trying to decide what to keep and what to shed. It seems overwhelming. Here the downsizing is defined and 15 tips are provided to to make it more manageable.
Talk to your realtor about smart-sizing. That is, work together to find a home that fits your lifestyle, regardless of your age or season of life. Yes, maybe the home will be smaller, but it’s a smart size for you, and that makes it right. Downsize or smart-size, whatever you’re most comfortable calling it, find the right home for your current place in life.
Letting Go of Possessions
Parting with possessions is emotional when there is a sentimental attachment. You’ve kept these items because of their connection to your past. Now is the time to remember them, and let them go. To help with the “letting go”, professional organizers suggest taking photographs of these hard-to-let-go items because it’s almost always the memory that keeps the attachment, not the item itself. At the other extreme, don’t throw away everything that has sentimental meaning or your new home will seem sterile and lacking in personality.
The purpose of going through all of your items to prepare for the move is so that your loved ones don’t have to sort your belongings later. Gift them to family members while you’re still living. In fact, involve them in the process. If they’ve been using your basement or garage to store their personal memorabilia or other items, now is the time for them to come collect those things and move them at their expense. Or, maybe there’s certain items your children have wanted. Put all of those in one room and have them come and identify what they’d like. Then decide who gets what. If it’s an antique or other valuable item, put it in writing that the item goes to a particular child so it never becomes part of an unforeseen divorce settlement. Lastly, if the children don’t want items you consider valuable or heirloom, don’t let that hurt your feelings. Remember to always keep a positive attitude and approach to moving.
15 Tips to Make Downsizing Manageable
At least 90 days before moving, create a written inventory of everything you own. Divide it into 4 categories: Discard, Maybe Keep, Donate & Must Keep.
- Have a firm moving date and schedule backwards. Sorting and selling possessions usually takes longer than most think, especially if the house has decades of possessions in it, or if you have difficulty letting go.
- Decide on how you’re going to sell your items. If you own antiques, chinaware, heirloom furniture, jewelry or other valuables, consider contracting a professional estate sale company to appraise what has value and what doesn’t. Hold an estate sale or auction. List less valuable items with a consignment shop, on Craig’s List or on an online auction, often found on social media sites like Facebook.
- Paper items are the most difficult to sort. Contact a tax preparer or accountant about what you must keep; get rid of everything else. Shred cancelled checks and statements. Literally touch each piece of paper. Don’t just throw. Sort. Many have found decade’s old love letters and cash stashed in piles of paper.
- Multiple organizations will gladly take your items. Reach out to women’s shelters, afterschool programs, the Humane Society, or community centers. Email them photos and ask them to collect the items and leave you a receipt for tax purposes.
- Before donating or selling, ask yourself if a favorite item can be used in a different way in your new home. Can an heirloom dining room table now be an office desk?
- Get the measurements of rooms in your new home. If your current home has a living room and a family room, but your new home only has one family room, why keep two sofas? Sketch out furniture placement before paying to move it all, only to find out it doesn’t fit. Also, measure furniture to ensure it will get through the door and stairwells. Include windows, doors and outlets in the sketch. It’s no fun to find out the items you’ve kept don’t fit into your new home.
- Does your new home have a Home Owner’s Association that provides lawn care and snow removal? Then sell your lawn equipment and snow blower. It’s likely your new garage will be smaller too.
- Maximize storage space in your new home. Build shelves, use under-bed storage boxes and hang mirrors and towels behind doors. Even the ironing board and iron can be hung behind the laundry room door.
- Get rid of entertainment centers and put TVs on the wall to save space.
- Stop keeping things you think you’ll use but never do-like old mattresses, holiday tableware and outdoor decorations, books, magazines and old DVDs. These items lose value over time, collect dust and take up a lot of space, space which will be limited in your new home.
- Kitchens require considerable downsizing because you’re likely to have less cabinetry. If you think you can’t live without certain items, box them up and put them aside for a month. Did you need to retrieve them? If not, get rid of them.
- Can a room have a dual-purpose? Can the living room double as the occasional guest room? How often do you really host guests? Can that spare bedroom be your office or hobby room instead? Seriously consider your lifestyle before assigning functions to rooms and deciding what to move.
- As a last resort rent a storage unit but remember this costs money. Think this through and ask yourself why you are putting off what you eventually need to do anyway.
- Understand the freedom you get from a smaller, smarter sized home. You will have fewer home and yard chores, receive lower utility bills and also get a “lightened feeling.”
Are you ready to downsize?
Contact me today.
Real Estate Professional
Phone Number: 402-689-4984
©Copyright. March 2016. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.