Less Could be More! 7 Downsizing Tips

Are you thinking of moving out of your East Cobb home?

This past year, I helped several East Cobb empty nesters make a move.  Not all empty nesters will  move into a smaller home. Whether the home is the same size, bigger or smaller, it’s time to let some items go that have been collecting in the basement or up in the attic and maybe everywhere.

There are many reasons why seniors/empty nesters  decide to make the move.  Whatever your reason – there are 7 things you can do once you make up your mind that you are moving.   

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1. Give Yourself a Long Timeline. You can’t move out until you know where you will go.  You’ve got to be able to tell the movers where to drop your stuff! People tell me all the time, I really want a smaller home, but I don’t know where to go. Finding the next place could take some time unless you already own a second home.

2. Decide on your goals. Do you need to take some equity from your home to help with retirement? Are you making a lateral move price wise? Or, is this purchase the  home you have always dreamed of? Purchase price drives most decisions.

If finances are not the major driver, what lifestyle do you want to live? What amenities are important to you in your next season of life? Will you be retired or needing to stay near work? Are you considering a move to another state?  Do you want live in an Active 55+ community? The options can be overwhelming, but with time, decisions become clearer and easier to make. 

3. Organize the transition and decide who needs to help.  As a Senior Real Estate Specialist, I help sellers take the stress out of the move.  Our best advice is to start downsizing the belongings once you know you will make the move. I meet with most sellers months in advance to help them get organized.  Take a look at what you have in your home.  If you raised kids and grandkids in your current home, chances are you still have many of their treasures, and perhaps you are storing items for them too.  You may be able to enlist help from your adult children. Sellers use a combination of methods to pare it all down.  For my clients who list with me, I offer a free, two hour consultation with a professional organizer to help start the process.

4. Clean out storage areas first. It’s amazing how many times I talk with perspective sellers and they say, “We’ve not been in the attic in years.”  Or,  I’ve had some to say “We rarely go down to the basement any longer, so I don’t  even know what’s down there anymore.”  When you are preparing a home for sale, this can lead to surprises. There can be rodent damage in the attic, and if the basement  does not get proper ventilation, there can be mold or perhaps water damage that’s gone unchecked for years.  So, first things first, start with storage areas in the home and work your way to the garage and any outside storage sheds to see what you many not need at the next home.   

5. Keep what you really love.  My Mom just could not get rid of an old Macrame wall hanging that I made as a teenager.  She said seeing it made her happy. There are some items that may be difficult to part with because of sentimental reasons. We all have those items.  If you have access to a scanner, you can scan old papers, notes and letters  and keep only a few of the most important ones.  By scanning documents you can share with many family members by email. If you have a spouse or family member to consider, be sure to ask in advance before getting rid of items to avoid hurt feelings.

6. Downsize with your future home in mind. Know the criteria of your new home.  Do you have a screened in porch or patio for all your outdoor furniture? How many bedrooms? Is there a  formal living room and dining room? Or is this new space very open with fewer rooms? Make a drawing of the new space and do some measuring to see what you can actually bring with you.

7. And don’t forget to only bring what you really love and need!  One of my clients sent me a text message after she moved into her new home.  She had photos of unboxed, random items  spewed about everywhere.  She said “Be warned my friend, make time, get rid of stuff you don’t need.  Moving is hard  only to realize that much of the stuff I  boxed up and paid movers to move is stuff that will never get used in this new home. Pare it down now!”

Ready to take the downsizing plunge?  These few tips can help ease the transition.  Call me to schedule a free consultation if you want to find your next home and start your downsizing  plan now. 

Lee Ann is a member of Women’s Council of Realtors – Cobb and Cobb Association of Realtors. She is a top producer with Dorsey Alston Realtors specializing in the East Cobb market.

Lee Ann Wynns | East Cobb Realtor® 

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