Top 6 Mistakes When Downsizing

Apr 26, 2018

The question I frequently get asked from my clients “Is when is it the right time for to downsize”? Whether it’s for their elderly parents or themselves. Some of my clients make the decision to move once they became empty nesters or their children have moved and started their own family.

I remember the time when my parents were still alive a number of years ago, that my sister and I were faced with that very difficult decision. At that time our parents’ memories were stating to fade and they were no longer safe living in their home of over 50 years. It is not an easy decision whether it’s for yourself or for your parents.

Here is an article from by Adriana Velez of 6 common mistakes when it comes to downsizing. This article can be beneficial when you are facing the decision to downsize.

Nonetheless, downsizing can still fill people with dread; experts say this is largely because they’ve heard horror stories from people who went about it all wrong. Here are the top six mistakes people make when downsizing, plus some ways to make the process easier and less intimidating.

1. Waiting Too Long To Downsize

Are your kids gone? Is the mortgage paid off? Are you in reasonably good health? Think of it this way: It’s better to move now—while you have the strength and energy—than later, when it will be harder.

“The biggest mistake we make on downsizing is that we wait too long,” says Jacquie Denny, co-founder and chief development officer of estate sale marketplace, Everything But the House.

Typically people wait until an illness, or even when one spouse dies. That means we’re downsizing while we’re grieving or struggling through poor health, which are far from ideal circumstances.

Instead, Denny says, “we should actually plan ahead to downsize so that it is a lifestyle choice”—e.g., exchanging onerous yardwork for fun activities such as golf games or long hikes. Don’t mistake this, however, for rushing the process; Denny suggests giving yourself a full six months to prepare for your move.

2. Giving Your Kids Too Long A Leash

Odds are, your kids can help you downsize by grabbing some furniture you won’t have room for, or a few mementos that are meaningful to them.

“Have your children over and ask them which pieces, if any, they would like to incorporate in their home,” says Denny.

The one caveat: Give them a time limit. None of this “I may want that dresser, but give me a couple of months to figure out where I’d put it.” This is a time for tough love. State a date by which they need to remove anything they want to keep.

3. Tackling Your Whole Home All At Once

Downsizing your whole home at once will likely be overwhelming—so instead, focus on thinning out yard tools and kitchens first, since “people are usually going to a leaner lifestyle in these areas,” says Denny.

If you’re moving to a home where outdoor spaces are maintained by the condo association, you can just get rid of all your yard gear. (OK, maybe keep a spade and gardening gloves if you have houseplants.)

Downsizing the kitchen will take more work. Start with what you want to keep and set that aside. Make sure it’s really going to fit in a smaller space, that it’s all worth the bother of moving, and that you’ll actually use the stuff regularly in your new home.

4. Tossing All Your Possessions In The Trash

Feeling guilty about hauling everything to a dumpster? There are other options. You can hire a company that handles liquating estates especially, if you don’t want to do a yard sale yourself.  You can also hire an expert who will organize your furniture and make arrangements for a charity that accepts donations to pick your items up that you don’t want.

5. Assuming Your Furniture Will Fit In Your New Digs

So how much furniture should you keep? First, measure each room in your new home. Then measure the pieces you’d like to take with you and make sure they’ll actually fit. You may want to try a virtual room online tool to figure out how you’ll configure your furniture in your new home. Planner 5d, Roomstyler 3D Planner, and HomeByMe are all free.

6. Focusing On How You’re Losing All Your ‘Stuff’

So many memories to leave behind. How do you do it? Take photos of what’s hardest to leave. I like what Suzanne Stavert, author of The Empty Nesters blog, says: “It is so refreshing to realize ‘what we really need’ is our family and friends. The ‘stuff’ is so secondary.”

If you are thinking downsizing now or in the near future, call or text me at 619.980.2738. Let’s get started! 

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