After many years in a home, most of us accumulate an excess of furniture, artwork, books, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, clothing, sports equipment, and more. When it’s time to downsize, the challenge is figuring out what to do with all of it. You should end up with everything categorized into four groups: keep, trash, donate, and sell.
- Keep the stuff you actually use.
- Trash obsolete and broken items.
- Donate items of low value that are still in good condition.
- Sell items with high value to offset commissions.
Step 1: Assess your needs today.
Most people hold on to “just in case” items, whether they are small things in drawers or large pieces of furniture. Downsizing is the time to be honest. Does anyone use the old desk in the spare bedroom? When was the last time you exercised on the treadmill? Do you clear the driveway after a snowstorm or hire people who bring shovels?
Step 2: Measure furniture and rooms in your new house.
Do the math. If your favorite sofa won’t fit into your new living room, it must go.
Step 3: Compare storage spaces in your current home and new home.
If your new place doesn’t have the attic and/or basement you’re used to, then a major decluttering is in order.
Step 4: Sort meticulously.
Go through every single drawer, closet, and room. In addition to large storage areas like the attic, garage, and basement, the bathroom cupboards need a lot of attention!
Step 5: Plan your exit strategy.
Getting the excess out of your home may be more complicated than you think. There are several options, but each must be assessed with consideration to a variety of factors, including how much time you have before the move, the dollar value of your things, and the time and energy you can devote to the project.
- Planning an estate sale – This is labor intensive and can require specialized expertise. If you have things of value and enough time, it may be the best option. Factor in all fees.
- Selling items online – eBay is popular and inexpensive. Craigslist and Facebook are free but can be risky; letting strangers into your home can be unnerving. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to sell an item online. Consider that you’ll have to clean it, take photos in a well-lit and clutter-free area, upload the information, wait for potential buyers at your home, and reply to email inquiries.
- Liquidating – If you have a large amount of valuable furniture or expensive jewelry and flatware, this may be a good option. Make sure you choose a reputable company, and remember that you may be responsible for shipping the items with no guarantee of a sale.
- Donating to charities – Your donation can help others and give you a tax deduction. However, most charities will not accept every item you are donating. Be prepared to contact several organizations and schedule separate pickups for each one.
- Scheduling hauling services – Not everything you’re trying to get rid of can be donated. If it’s not in good condition, is broken, or doesn’t work, toss it. The trash category can pile up quickly, and a junk hauling service may be needed.
Downsizing is a major undertaking. If feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes and call Potomac Concierge. Our decluttering specialists love helping people move and will guarantee a smooth transition into your new, perfectly sized home.