The Five Steps of Downsizing

Moving from a house to an apartment, condo, or one or two rooms in a retirement residence is not easy. The decisions of what to keep and what to do with the rest are both emotional and exhausting.

Here are five steps that can help.

Step 1 – What to keep

In our opinion the easiest way to start is to identify what you will keep. Look at your new residence and decide what will fit. Some people know they want to keep a king sized bed or a large dining room set so they choose a new home so these desired items will fit.Think of how you want to live in your new “home” and bring the items that will help you accomplish it. Doug and I have a large family and to us it was important to be able to have everyone in our home for a holiday dinner. We choose a place that would accommodate our large dining room table. We put removable colored dots on the items that are to be kept.

Step 2 – what to give to family or friends

Now identify the things you want to give to family or friends. They can easily see the dots and know what you plan to keep and what things are available. Always give them a deadline by when they are to remove the items they will be getting. It is very frustrating to “know” a family member is taking something and they don’t come and get it. Sometimes at the last minute children do change their minds and suddenly you need to find a home for something they no longer want. Long term storage is very expensive for items someone “might” want.

Don’t be offended if your children or grandchildren don’t want your older furniture, antiques, china, silver, crystal, limited edition prints or “nicknacks.”

Step 3 – what to sell

At this point you could call an auctioneer, antique dealer or consignment store to see what they could sell for you. You could also consider an estate or content sale if you have enough good items to make it worthwhile. There are businesses that do this or you could work with your family to do it.

Step 4 – what to donate

We try to donate items that are useable and will actually bless those less fortunate. We do not give items that are broken, dirty, stained or well worn. Charities do have to pay to dispose of these items.

Step 5 – what to discard

The rest is a discard. In some locations you can put out as much garbage as you want. Many places you are very limited in what you can put out for garbage day. We actually have to purchase a tag for each bag of garbage we have. You could also order a dumpster, or call a junk removal company to help you. Some companies will bring things up stairs while others won’t. Some companies will bring items out of the house and others won’t. Some will take electronics and recycle them while others will not take any electronics. Most will not take hazardous waste.

If this is overwhelming check out the web site for NASMM _ The National Association of Senior Move Managers. See if there is a member in your area. They are experienced and can help you.


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