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16 Tips to Keep You Moving Forward With the Home Downsizing Process
Our last article included 11 tips to help you get started with the home downsizing process. While this article focused more on how you can “Get Started,” this article takes you to the next step with 16 tips and strategies designed to “Keep You Going” after you’ve started the home downsizing process.
• Know the values before you start pouring. “No,” I repeat, “No,” start throwing anything away before someone looks at it for potential value. Often things you perceive to have value have no value, while things you perceive to have little value end up having considerable value.
• Get a professional to help you with values: Before dumping anything, it would be wise to hire someone who knows personal property values to provide you with appraisals before you begin the dumping process. A professional appraisal of personal property at home is usually a good place to start for most people. A USPAP assessment will be more accurate and detailed, but will cost much more due to the time involved in its preparation. The upfront cost of either should seem pretty reasonable compared to the potential loss if you throw away the wrong stuff.
• What you paid has no relation to the current value: We’ll cover this concept in more depth in a later article, but at this point you need to understand that what you paid for something has absolutely no relationship…none…to what it will bring in today’s market.
• Get started early in the process: Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Start early, work in smaller blocks of time and the work will be much easier.
• Start with a small room: Start by selecting a small room to start with. Once this smaller room is successfully completed, it will be easier to move on to a more complex room.
• Start with a room that has the least sentimental attachment: A bathroom, closet or kitchen can be a good place to start. The most important thing is to start somewhere, and then build momentum towards bigger projects.
• Start with larger objects: It is often easier to start by removing larger items such as furniture. The logic here is that you can start to feel like you’re making progress after making just a few decisions.
• Start with a part of the house that you don’t currently use much: An older child’s empty room is often a good place to start.
• Start with personal papers and family photos: This won’t buy you that much space, but it can be fun and is a logical step to start the downsizing process.
• Work in limited time blocks: The process can be very tiring and emotionally draining. Limit yourself to just a few hours at a time, at least at first. Then, if you’re up to it, you can work for extended periods of time.
• Stick with a specific project until it’s done: Once started, do your best to complete a specific project, especially smaller ones. For example, if you start cleaning out a closet, finish that project before moving on to another. However, recognize that larger projects, such as a basement or attic, probably won’t be completed in one sitting.
• Anticipate the weather: Plan ahead, keeping the weather in mind. You don’t want to be working in the attic on a scorching July day and you don’t want to be working in the garage or outbuildings in freezing weather. Use time to your advantage.
• Give yourself plenty of light: Not much will get done if you can’t see what you’re doing. If the room you’re working in isn’t bright enough, put in some temporary lighting to brighten up the workspace.
• Give yourself ample workspace: You can’t sort much into stacks or sort categories on a single, ramshackle folding card table. Try to get one or more solid 3′ x 8′ folding tables. Today’s tables have lightweight, plastic tables and are much easier to move on your own than the heavy wooden tables of years past.
• Use heavy-duty plastic bags for dumping: It doesn’t matter if you buy them at the supermarket, home improvement store, or dollar store, make sure you use heavy-duty plastic bags to pack old clothes and linens, or toss small unwanted items in the trash weekly There’s nothing more frustrating than breaking a plastic lighter bag after you’ve spent a considerable amount of time packing it.
• Homes with more space can sell better: Selling your personal possessions can make you even more money when you sell your current home. Clutter tends to make a house look small. By downsizing before you put your home on the market, you can make your home appear even bigger than it actually is, increasing its sale. We know of one situation where the real estate agent felt that a house was bringing in $30,000 to $40,000 more than it would have brought if the home had not been reduced.
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