When the kids leave the nest, or your retirement plans include more travel and less home maintenance, you may want to cut expenses. Often, selling a larger home comes with an initial flush of freedom. It may mean you can pay cash for the full cost of your new home - with money to spare - and save on utilities, taxes and other expenses.
Successful downsizing begins with a plan. Sage Realty has helped many clients through the process of finding their right-sized home. Here’s our advice for a smooth transition.
Once you decide you’re ready for a smaller space, start the paring down process immediately. Here’s our top tips for letting go of the stuff you no longer need or want.
- Start off easy. Eliminate anything that’s broken, damaged, or hasn’t been used for a year. Then visit the out-of-the way spaces like attics, crawlspaces and garages. Making progress in “easier” areas helps build momentum for the harder-to-decide areas.
- Schedule a regular time each week to edit. Realize that you didn’t accumulate everything overnight, and you won’t sort it all out overnight either.
- Ask yourself, “Would I buy this today?” If not, it’s not worth keeping.
- Is it from a time in your life that’s over? If you have cabinets full of plastic containers but only cook for two, it’s time to edit.
- Don’t be a storage unit. If friends or kids have left things for you to store, ask them to come pick them up – or have them shipped. Set a firm deadline. After that, donate the items.
- Ask for help. A family member, friend or professional organizer can make the job more pleasant and efficient.
- Pretend you're moving overseas. The number of items you can take will be severely limited, and shipping will cost a small fortune. Remember, the more you give aw, the more you’ll treasure and enjoy them. Display them! Use the crystal!
- Keep it simple going forward. Instead of things, ask for gifts of new experiences like theatre tickets, spa days and gourmet foods.
- Now is the time to gift items you eventually want family members to have. Make special people happy while freeing yourself of the “stuff” you've been keeping for posterity.
And here’s more thoughtful advice which has helped many Sage clients….
- Put items you haven’t used for a while into a box. If after few months you haven’t touched them, offer them to charities and local shelters. Or have a yard sale, and give friends and family first dibs.
- Books can be treasured items, but unless they’re rare editions or favorite reads, they hold little value. Try consignment shops, donate them to libraries, or sort them based on content and offer them to shelters, schools, senior centers or friends.
- If you’ve chosen a home, measure the rooms to determine what possessions will work in the new space. Knowing in advance can save you time, money and trouble when moving time comes.
- Don’t assume your kids want your cherished fine china, silver or collectibles. The younger generation has different ideas, or may need the space for more pressing needs. Save the pieces you simply cannot part with, then sell or give away the rest.
- When downsizing, make every inch count. Invest in furniture that can pull double duty, like ottomans or coffee tables that offer storage, or a kitchen table for two with leaves to seat more.
The agents of Sage are experienced at helping sellers declutter, so we can show their homes at their best. And when we help buyers search for a smaller homes, we fully understand their interests – like a walkable neighborhood, or homes with accessible entrances and easy-to-maintain yards.
Contact Sage today to discuss your right-sizing options.