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A friend recently described her downsizing experience as “traumatic.” It’s easy to accumulate things over the years. And because you like everything, it’s hard to decide what to get rid of. Then once you decide that, where does it go? I’ll provide a guide on what to keep, and what to do with the thing you don’t.
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Make a list of the rooms in your new house. Note what you’ll need for each room. Also consider the size of the room and what will fit. Most likely you will only be keeping 50% of your furniture and other items.
On your list, write the specific piece of furniture you’ll be putting in that room. Start by assigning pieces of furniture that are sentimental. If there is a sentimental pieces that will not fit, think of family members or friends you could give it to. My mom loved gifting things to people before she passed away. She knew it was going to the person she wanted it to, and was able to see them enjoy it.
If you’ve purchased something 10+ years ago, you may have a hard time parting with it. Realize you’ve already received a Return on Investment from it. If it’s still in good condition, consider giving it away so someone else can use and appreciate it.
Once you’ve determined what you’ll keep, it’s time to decide what to do with what didn’t make the cut. Again, friends and family are good options. Here are some other options to consider:
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· Estate Auction
This is a good option if you don’t have the energy or time to sell your items. An Estate Auction Company comes in to sort, price and sell the leftover items. The company then takes a commission of between 20-50% of what’s sold. For the items not sold, they can donate them for you.
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· Garage Sale
If you have the time and like haggling with people, this is a good option for you! The downside is it may be very little profit for the amount of time put into them. And then you need to figure out what to do with the items that don’t sell.
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Most local consignment stores will come pick up your items. But some of them may require you to deliver them. With consignment, you may not receive money from the item until after it’s been sold. And if an item doesn’t sell after a certain amount of time, you may need to pick it back up.
They also don’t always accept everything, and only take things in good condition. Some items they may not accept are:
- Smelly or overly stained rugs or furniture (pet urine, cigarette smoke, mold, etc.)
- Particle board furniture
- Box springs, mattresses and used bed linens
- Used clothing. Unless it's vintage, designer or professional Sports Team items
- Incomplete dinner or cookware sets
- Stuffed animals
- Appliances, electronics and power tools that are not working
- Any item that will not make very much money
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This is the best option if you don’t care about making money off your items. And you want to get rid of everything all at once. Some donation stores will pick up from you. Call to schedule a pick up day and time. Be sure to get a receipt from the store and have an itemized list of the donated items to claim on your taxes.
Even after you’ve decided what to keep for your new home, it’s possible you still have items you’ll need. Or you want a fresh start in your new home with all new things! Refer to this blog post for “How to Shop Like An Interior Designer.”
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Having a good experience with downsizing is partly planning, but also mindset. Don’t think of it as a loss, or getting rid of things you’ve worked so long and hard for. Instead, think of it as fresh start! A new chapter in your life where you have the power to design your environment.
Please comment and share this blog post with someone in your life getting ready to downsize!