Downsizing Made Easy

Downsizing Made Easy

The thought of downsizing creates mixed emotions for many homeowners. Though the time may be right, many people still have a hard time leaving the place they’ve called home for many years. It’s a big undertaking—knowing what to expect and how to start can make the process less daunting.

What to Expect

On the positive side, moving into a smaller home with less upkeep can mean lower utility and maintenance costs, freeing up extra cash for other things you’d like to do. If you’re moving to a less expensive home, you’ll also be able to convert some of your current home’s equity into cash.

The challenge that almost everyone who’s downsizing needs to come to terms with is that they probably have more possessions than they realize. I’ve seen homeowners with an entire room full of sports memorabilia, others with enough dishware to accommodate several families, and empty nesters whose clothes filled every closet in their large home.

Another difficulty for many people is that they may find it hard to prioritize their belongings and let some of them go. In my experience, homeowners who are downsizing may need three to six months to get their home ready to sell, so it’s important to start early and give yourself enough time.

Getting Started

One way to get started is to sort items by category so that you can see how many of each item you have. For example, if you have a lot of kitchen gadgets, gather them together in one place and decide how many you’ll have room for, which to keep, and which to give away. Then stick with your decision. This process works with many types of items, like dishes, clothing, and linens. It takes patience but is well worth the effort.

If you’re like most people, you probably can’t use all of your furniture in your new location. Consider donating pieces to a local thrift store that will pick them up. If you plan to sell some of them, be aware that the prices people are willing to pay for used furniture—especially big, bulky pieces—may be much lower than you expected.

One of the more difficult aspects of downsizing can be parting with items given to you by a close friend or family member. Consider taking photos of these cherished items and then letting the items themselves go to a new home where they’ll be appreciated.

If you’re a book lover who will no longer have space for your collection, donate to your local library where your books can be enjoyed by a new generation of readers.

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FOR EXPERT ADVICE buying or selling a home, contact Annette Nelson at (610) 247-7892 or

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