The kids have grown and moved on. Those two extra bedrooms still have their stuff in them, but the doors are closed and you try not to heat and cool them. Even the den doesn’t get used anymore. That big yard is calling for spring cleaning and preparation, but it won’t be played on this year. You’ve outgrown your space and it’s time to downsize into a ranch home from Windsong Properties. But…where do you start? Downsizing can be overwhelming. With a basic plan, you can get through it.
The number one suggestion is to start early. If you are even considering moving into a smaller house, start working on downsizing now. Taking little bites out of this project before it becomes a necessity reduces the stress and anxiety associated with downsizing.
The obvious place to start is the unused bedrooms. If the kid’s stuff is still there, call them home and have them go through it. There will probably be a lot left, but less than what there is now. If they are in need of the furnishings, have them move them out, if not, maybe it is time to sell them. Craigslist is a great place to sell. Take some good photos, post your ad and wait for the calls.
Next, work on the family heirlooms. The use of sticky notes comes in handy here. Color code your stickies: keep, sell, donate, give to child 1, give to child 2, etc. Just a few pieces in a room per day and by the end of the week you will have gotten through some very tough downsizing decisions.
The rooms furthest from the heart of the home often have some ‘low hanging fruit’. The attic, garage, and spare closets hold a treasure of goods that are usually forgotten about and not used. When working in these areas follow the 6 month rule. “If I haven’t used it in the last six months, I don’t need it.” Put it on the sale or donate pile.
Finally, take action on your piles before they get to large. Run to the donation drop off (or call the pick-up service) regularly so you are doing more than just moving your stuff around. Save up enough for a yard sale. If you have time, plan two before you move so it doesn’t get too big. If your sale is getting big, you may want to consider hiring an estate sale company to manage it.
Downsizing will be overwhelming. Attacking it with bite sized activities will get it done with less stress. When you are done, you will find your new home and lifestyle to be filled with less distractions, more time and the best treasures of your life.
And one final tip – before anything new comes in the house; something must go OUT!