Tips for Downsizing

by Kathleen on April 30, 2013

By Nancy Cohen

Tips for Downsizing

Start the process as early as possible.

If you plan on moving within the year, now’s the time to start downsizing. Not only will you get a head start on the move, but your house will look less cluttered and more desirable to buyers.

Use color stickers or post-its to categorize your belongings into four groups:

  • Keep
  • Give to family/friends
  • Donate/sell
  • Discard

Begin with areas used infrequently, such as the attic or basement.

Items in these areas are usually used less and have less sentimental value, making removal easier.

Use a floor plan of your new space to decide what furniture you will take.

Ask if you can take measurements or if there is a floorplan available to you. Measure your furniture to make sure it will fit in the new space.

Give grown children a deadline.

Let your children know that you are downsizing and give them a deadline to get their belongings out of the house.

Take pictures of items of sentimental value.

If you have collections or other objects of emotional value that cannot be moved due to limited space, take photographs to preserve them in your memory.

Give locally.

Find out what organizations in your area accept furniture, kitchen items, clothing, toys and books. You will have a lot to donate, so try to find groups that will pick up donations.

Estate sales take time.

If you are considering an estate sale, make sure that there will be enough time to hold the sale between the time when you move out and the buyer’s closing.

Be realistic about selling.

Many of us have an inflated sense of what our possessions are worth. Use Ebay to check market value by looking up a similar item. Remember that garage sales, Ebay and Craigslist are viable options only if you have a lot of free time.


Downsizing can be time-consuming as well as physically and emotionally stressful. If family members are not available to help, consider hiring a professional move manager, who will be able to handle all aspects of the downsizing, as well as packing and unpacking. You can locate a local move manager through the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

NancyNancy’s professional experience includes 20 years in planning and managing marketing projects for the public and private sectors, work which helped her develop top-notch organizational and communication skills.

Having moved ten times herself, Nancy has first-hand knowledge of the demands of relocation. She started Moves Made Simpler after helping her parents and her in-laws downsize from houses to apartments and seeing first-hand how difficult and stressful moving can be, especially for older people. Since starting Moves Made Simpler in 2011, Nancy has helped dozens of clients with their transition to a new home.

Moves Made Simpler
We serve Berkshire and Hampshire Counties, Mass.; Albany and Columbia Counties, NY; and Litchfield County, CT. If you need help outside of this area, we can help find a senior move manager to assist you.

Kathleen Cleary is a Caregiver Coach and Consultant helping Professional Women find the answers they need to continue living their best life while caring for aging parents. As a Certified Senior Advisor, she offers Seniors and their adult children customized plans of care as well as resources and information to help them navigate the challenges of aging.

Skype: kathleen.cleary12


For a free 20 minute consultation: click here

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed … or confused and afraid of the journey ahead, I can help! Let’s chat.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn 

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: