Ready, Set, DOWNSIZE (and discard)!

A recent article by our Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS statedthat over the next several years, many Americans, especially baby boomers, will find themselves deciding to stay in their homes, transition to a smaller place of residence or relocate to another city.

“Some people are disposers and some people are savers,” said Massachusetts Realtor® Peggy Patenaude of Prudential, Howe & Doherty. “If your client finds themselves in the latter category, they may need a few tips for how to choose what to save and what to discard.”

Patenaude, a top leader in real estate sales in Boston, is considered the “go to” person when considering downsizing and has considerable experience guiding homeowners through the process of putting their home on the market to sell. She has won over 58 awards since she began her career in 2002, including top sales agent in Massachusetts for her nationwide company.

She offers a few ideas to get started:

Out with the old. If any of your belongings are old or shabby (think rugs, towels, window treatments, bedding, even lampshades), get rid of them and don’t consider replacing them until you are in your new space and can assess its storage capacity. This is especially important for redundant items. How many separate sets of bed linens do you need for the guest room?

Damage control. If anything in your house is broken beyond the point that you will ever fix it, throw it out right now and don’t look back!

Dump it on your driveway. Renting a dumpster that you can place right in your own yard or driveway is a great incentive to toss even large items that you no longer need. Watch it fill up – it’s liberating to see your junk disappear. You’ll likely surprise yourself with how easy it is to ditch basement, attic, and closet clutter. And don’t forget to go through drawers and cupboards!

Contact a cause. Everyone from Big Brothers Big Sisters to the Epilepsy Foundation is looking for gently used household items. It can feel really good to know that your former belongings will be given a second life with someone who truly needs them.

Trash or treasure? Anyone who has ever watched Antiques Road Show knows that sometimes valuable collectibles can lurk in the most unexpected places – like your attic. If you have any unneeded memorabilia that you suspect might be worth something, have it appraised and see if you stand to earn a little money. Or sell unused items in consignment shops or on eBay or Craigslist (just make sure you understand how to do so safely).

Consider your new lifestyle. Are you going to need your washer and dryer if there are laundry services at your new home? If lawn care is included in your new property, you certainly won’t need a lawnmower any longer. Sell these items or give them away!

What to keep. Naturally, anything that has sentimental value is off the table as far as disposal. But if you have anything big and bulky (oversized photos, trophies, or ornaments that you don’t plan to display), think about whether they might have an alternative home – in a friend’s attic, or even in the living room of a family member who might find that meaningful item equally special and worthy of display.

Many of these tips are good for any of us, whether we are ready to “downsize” or not.  If you are thinking of selling your home, any real estate professional and all of the many TV real estate programs all recommend that you “de-clutter” the home.  Use some of the above ideas to accomplish these tasks.

As many begin thinking about fall housecleaning, many of these tips are great to keep in mind.  Ready, set…………DOWNSIZE (or discard)!

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