Geoff Hausmann - RE/MAX Property Consultants

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Please note this article is written by Michael Longsdon

According to a recent New York Times article, many seniors are making the choice to downsize because it offers them a chance for a fresh start and liberates them from much of the stuff they’ve collected over the years. If you’re thinking about down sizing your home, here are a few smart ways you can declutter and start getting rid of some stuff.

Take an Inventory of Items You Need

Taking an inventory can help streamline the donation or packing process. It’s also a useful way to value your stuff for insurance purposes. When taking an inventory of your stuff, divide things into three different categories: things you can’t live without, things you can live without, and things that you can replace. As you do so, start compiling your items into small piles or boxes that you can later throw out or donate.

Sell Unwanted Stuff

Before you start going on a throw-out fest, see what items are still in good enough shape to sell. You can sell all kinds of things: books, clothes, furniture and other collectibles, old sports equipment, electronics, old movies, appliances, jewelry, and even more. You can hold a yard sale or even advertise online or use an app to sell your items. Feel free to price however you want. If it doesn’t sell after a week, lower the price.

Check Prices in Your Ideal Area

As you seek to understand the housing market in a particular area, remember that there are different online tools and websites that can give you an estimate of how much a home is worth. Research online first to get a feel for the prices of homes that are in the right size and location. Talking with a realtor in the area is another practical way that you can more clearly understand the housing market. For example, homes in New London, Connecticut, have sold for $175,000 on average in the last month, though that number will vary.

Talk with Residents About Living There

Talking with people who live in the area can help you know what to expect when you move, which can prevent you from downsizing your social life as well. An important part of life is making sure that you’re surrounded by positive social interactions and relationships.

Plan for Extra Storage Space

If you need more time before you part with your stuff, renting temporary external storage space is one way that you can downsize more quickly. Don’t forget about your stuff, though, and make sure you’re storing items you truly need. Otherwise, you’ll be paying rent to store items you may never use again, which isn’t good for your budget.

Host a Packing Party

Hosting a packing party will help you detach from some of your items emotionally. It will also help you see how many people support you and love you and just want you to be happy. It can be hard to move out of the house you lived in for so long, but a packing party will help you realize that home is just as much about the people as it is about the place.

Downsize Slowly

Items are accumulated in a house over the span of decades. Expecting it all to be purged or removed in the span of a couple days often isn’t a realistic goal. According to Huff Post, making small downsizing goals and progressing without delay is the best way to begin the process and make real change. If you don’t have to move immediately, just start by getting rid of the clutter in your house and work from room to room until you’re ready.

Downsizing from a home can help reduce time spent cleaning, decrease utility bills, and minimize stress, which can all make aging in place a little easier. You’ll have more energy to do the things you like, and you won’t be so focused on the next items on your to-do list. Sell your stuff, donate it, and take note of what you can or can’t live without.