Whether your kids have moved out or you’re getting ready to retire, moving into a smaller home can significantly reduce your living expenses. If downsizing is in your foreseeable future, here are seven ways to help you pare down your possessions so you can fit comfortably into your smaller space:
1. Plan backwards from moving day. If you have a clear idea when you’re planning to move, start downsizing three months prior. It sounds taxing, but tackling every room (and/or garage, basement or attic) in one fell swoop is more challenging, if not impossible–especially for homeowners who’ve stayed put for years. Sorting through one room at a time is best.
2. Stick to the OHIO rule. “Only handle it once.” Avoid placing items in “maybe” piles. Ask yourself if you’d replace the item if it disappeared–this will make the process feel much less like a trashing of beloved possessions.
3. Remember more isn’t always better. We all have items we’re saving “just in case” the original breaks. But do you really need multiple mixing bowls? Don’t be afraid to purge duplicates. The same applies to clothing–avoid holding onto garments that no longer fit, but might “one day.”
4. Scale back collections. Cutting a collection can be upsetting for anyone, downsizing or not. Because you have likely spent years growing it, approach the process as gently–and practically–as possible. Ask yourself which items are favored more than others, or limit the amount based on display space. For example, a bookshelf can only hold so many books.
5. Get cash for your castoffs. Remember the three-month rule? If you’re planning to sell an item, start early. Some things may not move as quickly as you’d like, and you don’t want to be stuck with items you no longer want come moving day.
6. Contact an auction house. If you have an assortment of valuable items, like antique furniture or artwork, consider enlisting an auction house. Compile a large lot so the appraiser can assess items in one visit. An estate sales group can help facilitate the sale or auction of high-end belongings, too.
7. Donate as much as you can. Donating items to charitable organizations can make parting with possessions much more manageable. You may feel much less overwhelmed knowing the items are going to those less fortunate. In many areas, the Salvation Army and Goodwill are available to transport big-ticket items like furniture or appliances. Other house items in good condition can be dropped off and donated to the charity of your choice.