Are you considering downsizing from your big house in the suburbs? It could be one of the smartest retirement decisions that you make! The kids are gone – why heat and cool those extra bedrooms? Why pay taxes on that additional square footage? Chances are that you’ve built up quite a bit of equity in your house and you can use the proceeds from the sale to buy an easy to maintain, energy efficient smaller home, condo or townhouse and still have money left over to add to your retirement income.
But what to do with all that stuff….You’ve got too much to fit into your new home and lots of it is probably ready for donation anyway! Many people are ready for a fresh new look, a fresh start with new furnishings that match the style and size of their new home – so get ready to unload.
Here is a downsizing checklist and advice to help you cope with this challenge.
Tip – Get started early in the process so that you don’t end up stressed out as the move approaches. The last thing you need is pressure at the last minute.
1. Measure what you have room for in your new home.
2. Will your old furniture and accessories fit, both spatially and stylistically?
3. Decide what you want to keep from your old home (what you will move, what you will store).
4. Compare the cost of shipping/moving your older items to your new location vs. selling or giving them away.
5. Formulate a plan on how to dispose of the items you decide not to keep or put into storage.
6. Do you want family or friends to have certain items? If so, figure out a way to distribute those items. If there is a lot of interest in the same items, consider an auction using a point system (there are even some online services to help you do this – see bottom of article).
7. Figure out how you want to sell or dispose of the remaining items.
Here are some of the best alternatives, along with pros and cons.
eBay or Craigslist
Hold a tag sale (self)
Use a tag sale manager
Hire an estate sale pro
Give to charity
Might get a high price
Get 100% of proceeds
Low hassle factor
Pro managed, everything goes
Low hassle, good cause
You have options
Huge amount of work
High work, could be disappointing
Give up commission
High end stuff only
Might never sell, low prices