So you’ve decided to make a change and move out of your large home into something more manageable. Perhaps you’re tired of those stairs you’ve been climbing to get to your bedroom, you want to get out from under the yard work or you simply don’t want to pay to heat and cool your large home anymore. While there are many reasons that people have for moving into a smaller home there’s always that one thing that may be holding you back.
It’s all your stuff.
Regardless of how large your home is, it seems that folks accumulate things to fill it up. We all have keepsakes that we really want to hold onto. Family photos, kids artwork and the like. Then there’s the collections and all that stuff that’s been carted from home to home over the years. You know, those boxes in the garage that haven’t been opened in decades. My bet is that if you’re reading this article you probably have one or two of those.
Preparing for your simpler lifestyle can be overwhelming to say the least. The very thought of going through all your things one by one and deciding what to donate, what to sell, what to pass down to the kids and what to take with you. It’s enough to send you to the freezer for that pint of mint chip and flop on the couch to watch a good movie. After all, as Scarlett O’Hara says, “Tomorrow is another day.”
But after a while you’re desires for a simpler lifestyle bubble up and the time comes when you need to just dig in and get it done. So here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Downsize the Big Stuff
If you’re moving to a smaller home, say from a 3 bedroom into a 2 bedroom you’ll have one less guest room. So instead of moving 3 bedroom sets you’ll only need to move two. That’s one less bed, one less dresser and one less night stand you’ll need. If you have a formal living room and a formal dining room in addition to a family room and breakfast nook and your new home has, say a great room ( kitchen, family room, dining room combo ) then you’ll need one less furniture set and one less dining set.
If you know the home you’ll be moving to that’s great. You can measure the rooms and decide which pieces will fit into your new space. Maybe your larger dining table will fit nicely. Having a copy of the floor plan can be very useful to help in determining how things can be arranged. Have a tape measure with you when you visit your new home to help you to determine the size of each of the rooms. At this point you’ll have a really good idea of what big items you’re moving with and what needs to go. It’s best to make these decisions before you move so you won’t be bogged down paying to move these items, having expensive storage fees or way too much stuff in your new home.
There are several options available to you.
Home Consignment Stores are an excellent option. Most have a pick up service and will pay you a percentage of what they get for your items. For a list of consignment stores in the Tri-Valley I always like Yelp. Here’s the link for Consignment Stores near Pleasanton. Tri-Valley Consignment
What about the kids? Do they want any of your pieces? Chances are that they may want them as a reminder of their upbringing or maybe their friends could use that oak dining table or an extra bedroom set.
Estate Liquidators can be very helpful too. Some will give you a lump sum for your items and others will sell your things for a percentage of the sale. Either way it’s nice to have the work done for you.
Last but not least are the neighborhood thrift stores. Many thrift stores will take furniture so if you have trouble selling an item through the other channels you can donate your things.
When I decided to sell my big 4 bedroom home to move in with my fiancé I found that the sorting and decisions for all my collections and ‘stuff’ was overwhelming. I simply can’t stress this enough. Start early! And my biggest takeaway from the experience was that if something you’re trying to decide on, if it should come with you or not, just drop in and feel the feeling. Is there a slight tugging of the heartstrings? If there is then you should keep it. At least for now.
I have a rule of thumb that I like to adhere to. I ask myself these questions…
Do I Use It?
Do I Love It?
If the answer to either of these questions is ‘No’ then you’re not likely to miss it. So,
Get Rid of It
You can have a garage sale to sell all the little stuff that you don’t use or love. Or sell your things on eBay or simply donate it to a church or thrift store.
We are fortunate to live in a time where we can scan our important documents and photos and store the digital copies. Check out Googledocs or ICloud for cloud storage. Or you can scan and save them to an external hard drive. There are many document storage solutions. Pick the one that works best for you.
Some of us are not as good at organization as others. You can hire help to make the job more manageable for you. There are services that can help you and greatly reduce the stress that comes with downsizing your life.
Here are some good home organizers, estate liquidators and packing services in the area.
5424 Sunol Blvd.
Time 4 Order
Movers, Home Organization, Packing Services
The Perfect Packer
Estate Liquidation & Home Organization
Caring Transitions of the Tri-Valley
3134 Paseo Robles
Pleasanton, CA 94566
You can seek help from your church or senior retirement communities for resources to help with suggestions for where to allocate your items.
Downsizing years worth of accumulation can be one of the most anxiety provoking things that you can go through. Services can help you start where you are and take it one step at a time. Even though it can be emotionally difficult to declutter and purge your belongings you’ll be glad you did.