Downsizing is Easier with a Plan
Real Estate is always personal to me. Today’s post is more personal than usual as I consider the prospect of downsizing. Not that I’m ready to think about buying my next home yet, but I am ready to start planning my move. The methodical approach works much better for me. I don’t like to make rush decisions that leave me stressing about the logistics, I always like to have a plan. I’ve had plenty of experience in moving, so it won’t be as much of a challenge for me as for someone who’s lived in the same house for 35 years. Nonetheless, moving is always challenging on one level or another and downsizing your home is no exception.
Disengaging Yourself From Your Stuff
In fact I think downsizing in some ways is more challenging than other moves on an emotional level. After all, the move up buyer typically buys a bigger house to accommodate their stuff. What’s the biggest challenge when you’re downsizing your home? Yes, you guessed it. Sorting through your stuff and deciding what to keep and what needs to go. How do you make that decision? So much of what we keep has more to do with memories than anything else. Case in point, I had a TV & Stereo Stand in my basement that my son had in his room in Germany(!) That was 18 years ago. When I looked at it I remembered the love of that house that we built ourselves and how my sons had literally had a say on every aspect of their rooms. That memory is still there, the TV Stand however now has a new home as it was swiftly purchased this week after a day on Craigslist. Getting rid of things doesn’t delete the memories.
How to Make the Decision on What Stays & What Goes
The #1 question has to be, how do you go about making that all important decision about what stays or goes? That’s where the methodical approach comes in. In the case of the TV & Stereo Stand, it hadn’t been used in the last 3 years, since my son moved out. I had a friend a while back who had a 3 year rule about everything in her house. If she hadn’t used something for 3 years it got tossed. I decided this was a good time to start the same rule. If something hasn’t been used in 3 years, then chances are you don’t need it and it can go! Of course I’m actually big on recycling so I prefer other options than just tossing stuff. I go through a mental list of possible scenarios for an item. Keep it. Sell it. Donate it. Recycle it. Toss it. In that order.
My plan now is to go room to room and evaluate EVERY item in it. I’ve started early so when it does come time to put my house on the market and think about my future home, I can concentrate fully on that. Right now I am making the process fairly straightforward. To make the cut an item needs to be something I feel I like enough to sort it, pack it, transport it, unpack it and clean it as it gets designated a spot in its new home. As I said before, I’ve moved many times and almost always bigger, (or maybe sideways). My sons have always helped and they often asked “what do you still need this for?” That question is not going to come up at the next move. Either I need it or it goes!
The Upside of Downsizing
It’s hard disengaging from stuff and deciding what stays and goes, but honestly, once you get started it has a very therapeutic effect. Every time something leaves the house that I once needed, I find myself thinking about tomorrow and not yesterday. Once it’s gone, it’s gone and I move on. That’s how it works. We never stand still for long. We’re always going somewhere. Downsizing is moving on to a new beginning. At the end of the process you’ll be moving into a new home. A home that’s right for you at this time of your life. In my case, down the road I see a condominium in my future. We have a lot of condominiums in the Coralville and Iowa City area and they are a great option for those of us who are looking for less work or as we say in the world of real estate, “a maintenance free lifestyle.” The trick is to keep your eye on the prize!
I’m downsizing in Coralville so my next post on the subject will include places you can take your stuff in the Iowa City and Coralville area.