How to Start Downsizing Today
There are over 90 million Americans over the age of 60. Most of these people will consider downsizing over the next 15-20 years. After more than 40 years of collecting, there will be a lot of questions about how to start downsizing. The task, when taken as whole picture, is very daunting. Breaking up the task into small segments will make the downsizing task much easier.
Looking at most people’s homes, there are concentric circles of collected items throughout the house. By concentric circles we mean that starting from main living spaces (living room, dining room, kitchen) the items which are furthest from these main areas, in concentric circles, have less and less importance.
- Want: Does anyone in the family want these items? Getting pictures and sending them to family members whom you may have storing for for several years, will assist in deciding if they want you to keep them. If they want the items, give them a specific “drop dead” date on when you will dispose of them.
- Need: Will I ever need these at the downsized home? Rule of thumb on this question is, “When in doubt…throw it out”. If you have to stop and think whether you may need it, chances are you will not.
- Charity: Can a charity use this? Since so many people are downsizing at the same time, downsizing homeowners need to be realistic in assessing whether it is worthwhile for a charity to pick these items up and try to sell them. Chances are that, if it is used Correlware from your wedding, there is no resale value…tag it for the dumpster.
- Fit: Will this item fit in our new downsized home? Many downsizers are opting to relocate to warmer clients where the décor is significantly different than in their Northern home. The colonial maple dining room set, although still in great shape after 40 years, might not fit in a Florida-style home. Also, the eight-piece sectional, that is only five years old, may not fit in the smaller confines of the downsized home.
One other thing that many downsizing homeowners often do not consider is who they will chose to move them, when they plan to downsize. Getting a qualified, experienced “logistics specialist” is a great way to start planning your downsize. This should be a moving and storage company with multiple years in the business and, more importantly, that has staff and facilities which you can rely on. Many regular, run of the mill moving companies, have sprung up in the past several years, just to meet the demand of downsizing families. Without experience and quality facilities and trucks, the logistics of your downsize could be far more stressful than the downsize itself.