Hello, while this article is primarily written for seniors.....anyone can benefit if they have a wish to downsize their living quarters and/or if for some reason, their home no longer works as well for the way they are living. Perhaps this is the home where you raised your children, and while I am sure that it holds many memories, it may be more than you can (or want) to take care of.
Sometimes even the thought of moving is so overwhelming, we simply choose to do nothing. Even if you are only "toying" with the idea, I can almost assure you that it will not be easier in 5 more years...so whether or not you move, start the process now.
We all have so much. Sometimes our homes are a spot for past generations to store their possessions. Our house is the spot for all the stuff that no one wants, but we want to keep it in the family.
Here are the basic top 10 steps.
- Tell your children your intentions. Let them know you are only "toying" with the idea of downsizing, and that they have xx number of months to decide what they would like to do with their childhood toys and memorabilia from college. Go through each of the rooms with your children and have them identify what they would like to take (again, give them a specific date). It's generally easier to start with all of the unused back bedrooms and basements.
- Head to the living, dining, and kitchen areas. After you have decided what you will take (I realize that you don't know where you are going, but almost anywhere you choose, you will take your living, and bedroom furniture.) If the dining table is too big, it means you get to buy a new one! Then have the kids tell you what they would like.
- Next step...everything that needs to be thrown out. Plod away at going through drawers and tossing things into a garbage bag...even if you don't move for 5 years...it will be great now! Yes, even the paperwork from the car you sold in 1990 can be tossed!
- Memorabilia...photo albums, collectibles, music items, holiday decorations, etc...get some great moving boxes, pack this up, and put it in the garage with a well marked label. If it's something you "may" need in the next few months...at least it will be where you want it.
- Time to sell! Whether or not you want to sell items at a yard sale or put them on Craigslist, or possible to a consignment store... it's time for the sale. This is "anything" you have deemed to good to throw away. Books, linens, furniture, TV's, kitchen items, ANYTHING.
- Charity items.....next everything goes to charity.
- Wow...what's left? You will be surprised! All the "not sure stuff". If you truly can't make a decision, or are not sure...next is everything you know you won't need for at least 6 months. Pack it up in an area that's easy to get to if you should need it.
- Have a building inspector (or handyman if you have a relationship with one) and go through all of the items that need to be repaired or improved prior to selling your home. At this point, involve a Realtor so that you don't spend money you don't need to. Even if you are not thinking of selling in the next year...you should have someone check out the attic/crawl space/etc for potential problems periodically.
- Put your home on the market with a Realtor who will price and stage it correctly.
- Move into your new home and hopefully have a much smaller house/yard/etc. Whoops..number 11 is ENJOY LIFE!