The first step is to decide that the time is right. If you’re not being forced to downsize because of illness, divorce, loss of a spouse, financial woes, or other unforeseen and unwelcome events, give yourself at least 12 months (preferably 24) for the start-to-finish, elective downsizing process. Check back with us in June when the full site is launched, for tips and techniques, before-and-after stories, and contact information on the professionals who’ll help you during the process. And in the meantime, be confident that on the other side of the downsizing process you’ll find relief and, eventually, downright exuberance! You’ll wonder what took you so long!
Professional organizers are very busy these days. There's a growing reliance by homeowners on Certified Professional Organizers to help them not only live less cluttered, less chaotic and more organized lives, but also to help them prepare for downsizing and entering the next chapter of their lives. CPO certification is granted by the National Association of Professional Organizers (check out their website), but there are also plenty of great people who are experts at what they do, who do not hold the CPO designation. There are about 4,000 members of the National Association of Professional Organizers (most of whom are located in the U.S., with a few hundred scattered across other parts of the world). NAPO is based in Washington, D.C., and has 31 other chapters scattered throughout the country. How they typically work. Being a professional organizer is not easy. In addition to doing a lot of physical work that's involved in de-cluttering and organizing, most also play the part … Read More about Professional Organizers Are Decluttering Specialists
Specialists or not, most Realtors* are familiar with the downsizing trend. Many Realtors* have helped multiple clients move from large houses to smaller ones. But not until recently have there been people who specialize in helping their clients through the downsizing process. Some have earned the designation "Senior Real Estate Specialist," a certification granted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As the SERS designation implies (check out the National Association of Realtors site for more information), they help seniors (defined on the NAR site as those aged 50 and older), move from their homes to new, typically smaller homes. Sometimes, their older clients move to assisted living facilities and retirement communities. Other times, their younger clients simply move to new (often smaller) homes -- homes in which they can "age in place" -- typically single-family homes in traditional neighborhoods, condo or apartment buildings near their children and grandchildren, or … Read More about Realtors® Who Specialize in Downsizing
Many people who downsize choose to do it in stages. This is especially true in "elective downsizing," but it's not so true in situations where downsizing is due to life events (such as divorce, death of a spouse, a move to assisted living, or a move to start a new job). When downsizing is elective, the first time movers generally need to be called is when people are going through the preliminary stage of the process and they want to clear out the furniture and clutter that they don't want or can't use in their next home. If they're listing their house for sale, they want to start the process of staging their home so it is ready for photographs for their agent's website and for home tours by potential buyers. When the staging professional says that the room is crowded with too much over-sized furniture, he or she may advise the client to put a few items in storage. That's another opportunity to hire a mover. Once the home sells, the bulk of the goods must then be moved to the new … Read More about Moving Companies and Storage Facilities
Whatever reasons you're considering downsizing -- retiring, divorcing, dealing with the loss of a spouse, looking to simplify because of an empty nest or simply to take advantage of a hot housing market (where there's limited supply, high demand and great prices) -- the biggest challenge you may face is where to go. While many know exactly where to go, such as to a neighborhood near their children or grandchildren, to the nearest college town, to their favorite beach or mountain community, or to a vibrant city center near where they raised their children -- others feel their have few options. Often a couple cannot agree to even move, much less agree on where they'll move. Other times, they find they cannot afford their next move. And still others, they are afraid of the uncertainty of it all, so they stay put. Many suburban downsizers are dismayed because they find the supply of smaller homes in desirable neighborhoods is extremely limited, and expensive! What many don't consider … Read More about Explore Where You Want to Go
Charities play an important role for many downsizers as they start the process of decluttering and deciding which furniture and accessories are going to make the move to the new home and which will need to be sold or donated. Many people don't realize until they're deep in the middle of a downsizing project that a lot of their stuff won't sell. It's tempting to think that the grandfather clock inherited from one's grandfather will fetch a pretty penny, and it comes as a grave disappointment when they learn there's not much of a market for grandfather clocks these days. And if there is a buyer who's interested, he or she is likely not going to pay as much as the seller thinks it's worth. In nearly every city in every state there are charities that need furniture, clothing, books, bedding, pots and pans, appliances, and other household items. (But probably not grandfather clocks.) Some will come to your house with big trucks and haul your stuff away. Check out DonationTown for a list … Read More about Charities Need Your Donated Items
An estate sale professional can be your most valuable asset. Many people hear the phrase estate sale and they think of someone who's passed away and whose children are opening the house to the public to get rid of its contents. And they'd be correct in assuming that. Some of the time, that's the case. But in many other cases, people are divorcing and need to sell the house and lots of furniture and accessories because the couple will be moving to two smaller homes or condos. Other times, people have estate sales and sell their homes as soon as their kids are on their own so they can take off in an RV for two years (as is commonly explained, "while we're still young enough"). And in yet other cases, people are forced to move to pursue career opportunities and need to squeeze into a small condo in Washington, D.C. from a 5,000-square-foot home in the Atlanta suburbs. Many of today's 65-year-olds act more like they're 45. While many seniors (75+) are committed to staying in their … Read More about Estate Sale Specialists