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10 Steps to Downsizing Your Home and Upgrading Your Life

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Pattie, Kelly, Wink, & Associates has helped many clients sell their large houses in Rossmoor, California and surrounding communities, and buy comfortable new homes in Leisure World, Seal Beach, California. These clients have put their equity to better use and have a quality of life that matches the next phase of their lives – enjoying less upkeep and expense of a large residence.

Are you an empty-nester with a house that is more than you need right now? Are you looking to move to a home that is a better fit?

If you’re like anyone else downsizing their home, it can feel like a Herculean task. Moving from a place where many memories have been created can be a heavy and emotional time (not to mention the clothing, dishes, decor and various knick-knacks accumulated over the years).

The good thing is that you’ll always have those memories to cherish no matter where you are.

And here, we’ll talk about the best tips on how to downsize your home and prime yourself for a new and exciting chapter in your life.

  1. Preparation Is Half the Battle

Assess your new space – take measurements, visualize how your furniture will look in your new home, and decide if new furniture may be a good investment.

Then, do a walk-through of your existing home and take note of what you’ll be keeping and moving with you, especially now that you have a good sense of what will work best in your new space.

This will give you a starting framework and help you downsize more methodically. What oftentimes slows this process down is not only the emotional attachment to your belongings, but the decision-making time in allocating what will stay and what will go.

Preparing your mind helps to prepare the body for the work that’s about to be done.

  1. For Keeps

Starting with all pieces of furniture, decide what’s best for your new home. Especially now that you have the exact measurements.

Will you want to keep your existing furniture?

Do you want to sell your furniture and purchase new pieces? (After all, new furniture is a great way to accompany your fresh start!)

What will look and feel best in your new home?

Next, identify the items you will want to keep and do your best to ensure you actually use them.

This applies to all belongings including clothing, dishes, silverware and all other kitchen utensils, decor, even down to cleaning products. A great rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in the last year, you likely never will. In that case, it’s time to move on to the next step.

  1. Purge, Purge, Purge

Allocate three time periods throughout the week that you’ll use to start to purge. (More frequent time periods should be allowed throughout the week if your move date is quickly approaching.)

Starting with one room at a time, start to separate what you’ll sell, donate, recycle, or trash. And now that you know what are the “keepers,” this process should be fast and efficient.

Make this into a fun event by setting the right ambiance! Whether you do it solo or party-style, turn on your favorite music, pour some wine or beer, and start your first room with a box for selling or donating and plastic bags for recycling or disposing.

My friends and I have a potluck “Packing Party” tradition where everyone brings a surprise dish and toasts to a fun memory with a glass of Chardonnay, but that’s for another time. Namely, after we get through the next few steps!

  1. Purge – Take Two

Congratulations, you’ve gone through the hardest part – starting the declutter process! Give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve accomplished quite a bit.

Now you’ll go through your home and purge again because chances are, you’re still holding on to things that you will realistically never use.

We all have those items we keep just in case. We believe it’s in our best interest to keep them around but in reality, they’re just collecting dust, taking up valuable storage space and most importantly, limiting yourself from new possibilities in the present and in the future.

  1. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Reliving memories is oftentimes what slows us down when we are decluttering what is no longer needed.

Remember that it’s not about eliminating those cherished times associated with certain belongings since those memories will always stay with you.

Don’t feel guilty about taking your time reliving memories as you place some of your belongings into the “sell or donate” or “trash” bins. Just remember that making room for new things allows you to create space for the next chapter in your life. And, that’s an exciting thing!

Tip: Take a picture of the items you’ll be selling or throwing away if you hold dear memories of them. Storing it digitally (Google Drive or Dropbox are popular choices) will ensure you always have a visual attachment alongside your memories.

Photos of your long-time family domicile, like you may have collected over time while living in neighborhoods like Rossmoor, California, may be a way to remember the happy times you had there. New memories will be created at your new home, perhaps in communities like Leisure World, Seal Beach, California.

  1. Start Packing

As you separate what you’ll keep from what will go, get a head-start on packing.

Packing in clear, stackable bins make it easy to quickly see the contents inside. Even so, make sure to label each by room to make life easy for not only yourself, but also your movers.

  1. Going Once, Going Twice…

Sell as many of your items as possible. Whether it’s Craigslist, eBay, Amazon or a yard sale every Sunday for the next three weeks, enlist the help of close family and friends to help you in this process. Many hands make light work.

Use your earnings to treat everyone to dinner or put it towards a new art piece for your new home!

  1. Donate

Setting an end date for selling is a good way to ensure you keep things moving along. Once you’ve hit that deadline, start donating what’s left.

Give friends and family first dibs if you think some of the items would appeal to them. Otherwise, there is a plethora of others who may put to use what you no longer need.

Look for local charities, donation bins in charity or school parking lots, Goodwill centers, etc. Even your neighbors.

  1. Time to Party!

Packing party, that is! Invite your most organized friends, order or pick up your favorite food, and chill the Chardonnay and beer because you and your friends are in for a great night of bonding, support, and enrichment as you get ready for the next chapter in your life.

  1. Congratulations

Everything is packed, your new life awaits! Who knew this daunting process could be so enriching.

You’ve spent what feels like a lifetime collecting physical stuff and storing them at the family home. Now, it’s time to upgrade your life in another way — by creating new experiences and making more friends in Leisure World, Seal Beach, California, and other active senior communities .

We salute you and raise our glasses to toast a life that you’ve created for yourself!

If you have questions about how you can downsize from your large home to a smaller home, please get in touch with Pattie, Kelly, & Wink Associates. We are experienced and capable, but, most of all, we care.

by Kelly Laird Smith, CA BRE #01359555
Pattie, Kelly, Wink & Associates
(562) 522-5173 (m)
kelly@rossmoorhome.com (e)

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