Downsizing Your Home

Sonoran Sky Real Estate Downsizing Guide

Marcella Lambert

Many Sonoran Sky Real Estate clients contact us with the desire to simplify their life through downsizing. Whether you’re downsizing to lower your footprint, not feel lost or over-whelmed in big empty spaces, cut costs, move closer to children and grandchildren, or to address medical needs, Sonoran Sky Real Estate has a proven plan to help you through the downsizing process.

Downsizing can be emotionally and physically stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are our top tips to make downsizing easy.

Start early and be persistent

Give yourself plenty of time for this process, because it will inevitably take longer than you expect. You’ve accumulated your belonging over decades, you can’t downsize your entire house in one weekend. A few weeks, or even a couple of months is a more realistic timeline. Take it one room at a time, and take breaks.

Go through each item one by one. It’s important to give everything you own your attention and consideration for a second or two. This will help develop your decision-making process by intently focusing and then choose if the items stays or goes.

Do the rooms you use the most last

You probably already know of things you want to get rid of in the kitchen or garage, but save those big areas for last. This will help you keep the sorting contained to rooms you use less often and allow you to simply close a door to take a mental break from the process.

Take baby steps

Start in an area with the least emotional attachment, like the laundry room or a linen closet. Sorting through the easy stuff  will help develop a rhythm when tackling difficult rooms.

Eliminate furniture in rooms you won’t have in your new home

Understand your future needs and eliminate pieces that just won’t fit. If your new home has two bedrooms instead of four, one eating area instead of two, and one living area instead of three you’ll need to chose your favorite pieces of furniture and eliminate the rest.

Organize backwards

Pack or tag everything you want to keep… and will have room for in your new place. Mark all the big items you know are going with you. Then simply share, sale, donate or toss the rest.

Eliminate duplicates

Most of us have multiples of nearly everything. We have extra towel and sheet sets, candle holders, and ever so many kitchens items. You might have two or three can openers and corkscrews, a couple oversized stock pots, and at least four cookie sheets. Now is the time to reduce the clutter. If you haven’t used your bread-maker in years, or only use that big turkey roaster at Thanksgiving, consider giving these to a friend, child or grandchild who will be taking over the annual gathering.

Make Only Yes or No piles – NO Maybes!

When you’re going through years of belongings, some things are going to tug at your heartstrings, and you’ll be tempted to make a third pile to “keep if you have space”. Don’t let your mind fall for that trick! You’ll end up with a Maybe Pile that’s bigger than either of the other two piles. When that happens, you haven’t made any progress in sorting, you’ve just moved items across the room.

Take a hard look at every item you pick up. If an item has been sitting in a closet or on a shelf untouched for a year or more, you likely don’t need it. If you use it regularly, keep it. Recognize downsizing is a time for letting go and be selective of what you are packing. To clear your space and mind to move forward.

Reduce collections creatively

It can be hard to let go of your cherished collection of ceramic frogs or glass paperweights you’ve gathered along life’s journey, but bringing them to a smaller home where they will gather dust, eat up space or end up stored in a box where you’ll never see them is not productive.

Instead, pick a couple of your favorites to keep, and take quality photos of the rest. Then, once you get settled, use the photos to make an album or coffee table book that you can enjoy for years to come… without having to dust each item ever again.

Consider making legacy gifts now

Is your grandmothers hutch in your dining area earmarked to go to your daugher one day? And is your son going to get grandpa’s old wood working tools? Or maybe you have a china set your granddaughter adores? If there are certain heirlooms or pieces you plan to leave to your family in your will, consider giving those gifts now.

This has two benefits: you’ll get the items out of your way, and you’ll experience the joy those items bring to your loved ones. While you’re at it, find out if there are any items your children want that you don’t know about… this is an easy way to make them smile and lighten your load.

Selling and Donate Items

You might try to sell some of your items through consignment shop. These are good options for high-end furniture, artwork, collections, handbags, and other accessories; prices are reasonable, and some vendors have trucks that will pick items up from your house.

If you are tech-savvy, OfferUp, eBay, Facebook, and other online apps are a great way to move items… but be cautious about having strangers showing up at your home or giving them cash app information. Apps that allow others to rate the buyer are a little safer, but still, use caution, arrange to meet buyers in a well-lite, busy area and have someone with you. If you are not tech savvy, your kids and grandkids may be able to help you post unwanted items for sale online.

Yard sales are an option if you want to give up a weekend or two. But again, keep your safety in mind and have plenty of helpers.

Once you’ve cleared the home of items you want to keep hiring a quality estate sales company is one of your best and safest option. They work to get you top dollar and guard your property while they are there selling. Plus everything gets done in one week. You can call us for referrals to trusted estate sale companies.

It’s important to realize when selling used items most will only net you pennies on the dollar. So consider how much time and effort you want to invest. Donations might be the better way to go.

Allow yourself time to reminisce

While you’re clearing and sorting, there will be times when you just want to stop and let the happy memories take over. It’s OK to pause and let your feelings flow. Cry if you need to, or move on to another room and come back. This is why you started early… but don’t let nostalgia prevent you from eventually getting the job done.

When stumbling over an item you don’t know what to do with, ask yourself how it makes you feel. If it brings any negative or mixed feelings, let it go. If it brings great happiness of course it stays… if you’ll have room for it. If there won’t be enough space, take a photo for your memory album.

The idea is to be surrounded by things you cherish most in your new home.

Ask friends, kids and grands for help sorting

Talk to friends and family about your favorite trinkets and family’s heirlooms while they help you sort. Give them things they show interest in and you won’t need.  Knowing your belongings will be appreciated and bring joy is cathartic. Take photos together with these times for you memory book.

Having the help of friends and family creates a loving bonding time and can they can support you while dealing with the emotional toll of downsizing.

Stay positive and get excited about a simpler way of life!

Inevitably, most people will struggle with nostalgia when they’ve reached the point where it’s time to downsize. Feelings come from sadness of letting go and the fear of the unknown road ahead. It is hard for everyone, but the older we get the more accustomed we are to our surroundings… our “stuff”… even when all that “stuff” has gotten too hard to manage.

Try not to let the apprehension of a new environment get you down. Set your mind to thinking positive thoughts and looking forward to a new beginning, with new people and experiences. Attitude goes a long way in easing tension and apprehension of your transition. Focus on the benefits, and appreciate how much simpler life will be with fewer surfaces to dust, spaces to maintain, rooms to vacuum, or towels to wash.

Know that our team at Sonoran Sky Real Estate is here to support you with this process. We have an entire Rolodex of quality professionals who can help you find a new place, pack, disburse items, prepare your home for the market and sell it for top dollar. We will even help you get moved into your new space. Call us at anytime to find out more ways we can and will help.

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