July 3, 2008

Downsizing – rah rah rah!

We’re cheering you on … go for it! Do you think a move is in your future? We do. As a matter of fact, for most people at any time in their life, a move is in their future.

And for many older adults, a downsize move is coming up. You may be moving because your children have left home – finally! – and you no longer need all that space. Or, you may find that looking after a large home is physically, or financially stressful.

One way to prepare for a move, especially when downsizing, is to “get rid of it.”  Now is the right time to get rid of the hundreds of plastic bags you’ve been storing, or the collection of toothpick holders, or the file folders of your work documents you’ve saved from your first real job 40 years ago.

There are five things you can do with your stuff: do nothing; sell it; give it to friends or family; donate it to a charity; or, dispose of it.

If you know that moving is in your future, do you really want to move everything? If you’re moving to a smaller home, you simply may not have the space.  It seems, “do nothing” is not an option.

Selling “it” can be a viable, and financially rewarding, alternative. However, you need to be realistic. A majority of your items will sell for considerably less than you paid for them. Furniture, clothes, and electronics that were the height of fashion or technical achievement will not bring a lot of money. Very few of our personal possessions would be shown on “Antiques Roadshow”.

Items can be sold through newspaper classified advertisements, auctions, content sales, on-line, or through word-of-mouth. Just remember that some methods of selling may actually cost you more in time and effort than you’ll realize in the sale.

You can divest yourself of some your possessions by giving them to friends or family. You may have decided to give your favourite collectibles away, and put this desire in your will. Why not give the intended recipient this collection now, while you’re still able to see and share in their pleasure in receiving it.

Donating to a favourite charity can ensure your possessions will be put to good use. Some charities are interested in only certain items, and some will even pick up from your home. Contact them to find out what they need, and for information on how to move your donated item to them.

The final destination for some of your possessions may be the recycler, or to trash. Check with the bylaws in your area of how to dispose of items; you may need to hire a trash removal company to help with disposal.

Whatever method of “getting rid of it” works for you, do it now. And when it comes time to move, you’ll have that much less work to do. Hurrah!

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