How Can I Make Downsizing Efficient?

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Downsizing can take a lot of preparation.

Living in one place for any length of time typically comes with an accumulation of stuff.

Sometimes, a lot of stuff.

This is true whether your child moves back from college after nine months in a dorm or whether you move from a family home you have occupied for decades.

Some of these items hold monetary and personal value.

Others are essentially worthless.

According to a recent The Independent article titled “3 Steps to Downsize in a Hurry,” sorting through your belongings is essential before downsizing.

Downsizing involves getting rid of perishable items.
Do not neglect to address the perishables in your fridge when downsizing.

Ideally, you can spend several months or even years determining what to keep or discard.

In reality, most people find the demands of life distract from this task.

What can you do if you are downsizing but have minimal preparation time?

Start by collecting miscellaneous items.

Although miscellaneous items and paperwork include important documents like your estate planning, this category also contains perishables, photos, and prescriptions.

If you do not have time to go through photos or papers, place them in a box and store them in a climate-controlled space to look through later.

Next, look at what cannot be donated or sold.

If you have expired prescription medications or ones you no longer need, you should find a place to return or dispose of them safely.

Your refrigerator and freezer likely contain fruits, vegetables, and meats.

You will either need to eat or trash these.

Local food banks typically accept non-perishable foods like canned or dry goods.

Next, identify what must be kept.

Keep the item if there is a dedicated place and purpose for a possession, even when downsizing to a new home.

If the home is being sold and downsizing occurs due to a death, some of these possessions may also be designated for heirs.

For items earmarked for an inheritance, the executor often has to get property valued by an appraiser before distribution to heirs.

Even if no one has died and the items belong solely to you, getting art, antiques, jewelry, or other collections appraised can be helpful.

Doing so can allow you to determine what you are willing to take extra time to sell.

The downside of working with an appraiser is the cost.

It may not be worth the expense if they charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for their services.

Lastly, decide what to do with the rest of the belongings.

If you have rooms filled with furniture, décor, and other items, you may consider hosting an estate sale.

Doing so may be especially helpful if you downsize to a significantly smaller space.

Unlike garage or yard sales, professional companies typically organize and conduct estate sales.

These professionals will advertise for the sale, price the items, provide security, and handle transactions.

If items are left over, the company may also provide services for donating or disposing of the remaining items.

All this work comes at a cost; these professionals typically garner a cut of 30 percent or more of the proceeds.

Giving away your belongings can also prove to be a quick downsizing solution.

Because many charities have guidelines and limitations about what they will accept, you should review their websites or call their offices to ensure what you have will work for donation.

In some instances, charities will send trucks and volunteers to pick up donations when they have been approved.

Although downsizing can certainly trigger significant stress, following these steps can make the process a little more manageable.

ReferenceThe Independent (May 18, 2023) “3 Steps to Downsize in a Hurry”

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