Downsizing is never an easy process for anyone. Our homes are our castle, probably with infinite and special memories, so downsizing can be an emotional process. So, where does someone who is downsizing start? What are essential things to keep and easy things to get rid of?
1. To top off the keep list--Keep all important papers together like insurance policies, taxes for the last 10 years (older ones can be shredded), marriage paperwork, death certificate, birth certificates, social security cards, and passports. Generally, as a realtor, I found that many people keep an unecessary amount of paperwork besides these essentials. Most can be discarded or shredded, however, for those that like to keep everything, a simple solution to avoiding boxing up papers and storing them some place is to invest in a scanner and one that will allow you to feed multiple pages at one time! You can then store your unecessary paperwork on the computer, on a flash drive, or on the cloud!
2. Collections, important furniture, family heirlooms, and other special things. Sit down, think about it, and TRULY think about it whether you will need these items and evaluate how important they are to you. If you haven't used them or looked at them in years, consider parting ways. However, if the personal items are truly special and have a special meaning, think about how you will place it or fit it into your new, smaller home. If it will fit, consider keeping it. If it won't fit, perhaps consider passing the item along to a friend or family member who will appreciate it just as much as you did.
3. Electronics--if the electronic is 5 years or older, it can probably be replaced because electronics are constantly updated and it may need to be replaced shortly after moving in anyway. With this said, I cannot stress how important it is to erase, wipe out, or purge any personal information or data on old electronic devices. We live in a world where identity theft is prominent and you don't want to place yourself at risk for identity theft by discarding old electronics with stored personal information.
4. Photographs - how can you get rid of old photographs? Well, you shouldn't get rid of them, but consider keeping the ones that you intend to frame or place around your new, downsized home. But seriously consider digitizing or scanning other photographs (maybe even with your new scanner that I suggested you purchase above in #1).
5. Landline phones. Who needs them in today's world? If you have several around your home and you intend on maintaining a landline at your new home, then consider just keeping one. A landline can be useful if you mobile device battery dies or if the power goes out.
6. Fine Jewelery - jewelry and watches are small enough that there is no need to sell or discard them.
7. Emergency supplies - BRING them along with you. Every home needs them and when moving, downsizing, or upsizing is the perfect time to make sure you have what you need for a good and resourceful emergency kit!
8. Kitchen and Bathroom Basics - When downsizing, consider what you really need for the kitchen. How about that KitchenAid Mixer that has been sitting on the counter or inside the cabinet gathering dust since your wedding? If you are a baker, well then keep it, but if not, consider getting rid of it and keeping your essential tools and small appliances that you use on a weekly basis. The same goes for the bathroom--consider the numbe of people you will be living worth. You only need approximately 4 towels per person, so get rid of the rest! Towels take up a lot of closet space.
9. Books and other items. Remember that you are downsizing--if you have developed quite a library or collection over the years, then ask yourself, if I was allowed to only keep 20-25 books, which ones would I pick? KEEP THOSE! And sell or donate the rest of them! There are many public libraries and school libraries that would likely welcome your collection. Alternatively, you can earn some money to help pay for the moving company by selling books on Amazon or eBay.
10. Unexpired medication, unexpired spices, and cleaning products. These items do not take up a lot of space, can be costly, and will likely be necessary in your new, smaller home. Put them in small clear storage bins or large ziploc bags and bring them with you!
Last for now, plan ahead! Decluttering and getting ready to downsize takes time and patience!
I have many more suggestions and rules to make downsizing from the family home to the new, smaller home easier and less stressful, so feel free to reach out with any questions.
Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS)
Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
Keller Williams Realty Boca Raton
(561) 961-8484 or (786) 314-6100
Our team provides a specialized expertise in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Highland Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Parkland, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, all of the Country Club, New Construction, and 55+ communities, and other parts of Palm Beach and Broward Counties.
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P.S. By the way, should you come in contact with anyone who is considering buying or selling a property anywhere in South Florida, I would be delighted to help them. Please don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an e-mail or text message with their name and number or e-mail address. I'll follow up right away, and I'll be happy to provide them with information and/or answer any questions that they might have.