Everyone knows that downsizing can be difficult and that it may be more involved that the simple “keep, sell or toss” approach.
Whether you are moving or just trying to get a handle on your stuff, deciding on what to keep, sell or donate can be filled with difficult choices.
Here are 5 simple steps that will make the process a lot easier.
1 Keep What You Love
Decide on the pieces that you absolutely love and make a list. These are the keepers, If:
They fit in your new place – not just in terms of decorating style – do they physically fit in your new place.
You use them – don’t be guilted in to keeping something just because it is a gift or heirloom. You should have a use for the piece, whether that is functional or even just a display piece with positive emotional feeling.
They are in good condition – even if you love it, if it has seen its best days gone by, it may be a good time to consider a new item – especially if it is something very large or heavy to move.
It is less expensive to move them than to buy new – sometimes the cost of moving (depending on wieght and/or distance) a large item such as a sofa may be comparable to the cost of a new one.
2 Get Help
Don’t try to go through this process alone if you can avoid it. Sometimes it is much easier to make a decision when there is someone else in the room.
Enlist family or friends – sometimes just having company will keep you motivated enough to continue the process of decluttering. Whether they are there for moral support or to help with any heavy lifting, the more the merrier!
Hire an appraiser – If you are worried about tossing something that you think may end up on the Antiques Roadshow as the find of the century, hire an appraiser. These people can be found on Google or through local estate sellers or antique shops.
TIP: Their fee is usually quite high – ranging from $100 to $150 per hour. However this may be well worth it for the peace of mind before getting rid of anything you think may have monetary value.
- Find out how they like to work: Will they tour your house, or would they prefer pictures first to see if it is worth the trip?
- Be organized: Have everything you would like appraised out in the open and in easy reach. Have any receipts or previous appraisals at hand.
- Make a list from highest to lowest priority. Depending on how long the process takes, you may not want to invest in additional hours of the appraiser’s time.
If you don’t want to invest in the services of an appraiser, at least do some research of your own. Look on Craig’s List to see what similar items are selling for, or look on eBay. Just remember: the “asking” price isn’t necessarily what the item is worth. Try and find the actual sale price.
3 Family First
If you had plans to give items to family members as mementos or are passing down heirlooms, this should happen before any sale. Don’t force items on your loved ones, but do give them first choice of anything you are getting rid of.
4 Sell it
Once your family has selected cherished pieces, it is time to come up with a plan for a sale.
Classifieds: If you don’t have a set date for your move, classifieds may make you the most money and are the least disruptive to your household. List your items in local news papers or on online classifieds like Craig’s List – or whatever is popular in your area. You can continue using them until someone comes and takes it.
Garage Sale: If you have a fixed moving date ahead, this DIY general sale can be a great way to go. You ultimately decide on what the price will be to get the item off your property. It is more work than putting items on classifieds since you usually collect the items and display them outside of your house, but any money is all yours.
Estate Sale: If either of the aforementioned methods is too time consuming or complicated for your needs, then an estate sale would be the way to go. Estate Sales are normally done after the house has been vacated – meaning that you have moved out with all the things you want to keep. The sale organizers set up the items for sale in a pleasing way and supervise the sale, which can typically be one to three days depending on the volume of sale items.
Note: The fee for such a sale can vary from a minimum FLAT fee (typically $400-500) or a percentage of the profits from the sale (usually 20% - 25%) If you have a short deadline to move, this may be the best option to remove some of the pressure from you.
You will probably decide to donate some things right at the beginning of the process. There are charities that welcome donations and may even have a pick-up service.
If you are planning a sale, it is a good idea to coordinate a charity pick-up within a day or two of the end of your sale. In that way it may be possible for you to leave the unsold items outside your house for pick-up after your sale (depending on the climate in your area).
Contact your favorite charity as soon as possible to see what amount of lead time they require for a pick-up.
If you are putting your home on the market, winter can be a very stressful time. Most people are not focused on buying a house at this time of year. This may extend the time it takes to sell your property.
If selling during the winter isn't something you wish to consider right now, we can help.
If you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t ready for the traditional market, we can help.
If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this winter, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. We have a team of professionals able to assist you immediately.
Contact us for details.
So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here!
And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
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