SPOTTLIGHT — Downsizing

May 2, 2018

By Toni Spott

Toni Spott

Not only is it extremely stressful to either sell your home or buy a new one, but, oh yeah, you still have to pack and move everything, usually in a 30-day timeframe. Yes, that would be years of accumulation where you now need to decide what to keep and what to get rid of…in 30 days. Oh, the pain of the decision-making! Ugh! 

We’re not just talking material objects; we’re talking emotional baggage, as well. You have a few years, perhaps decades of history in your home, and now you need to part with it. You can sell or give away your extraneous stuff but the memories, that’s a different story. So much of what you have has a memory or two attached to it. You will need to file that away and then let go of the object. That takes time.

The key is to have someone with you who has no emotional ties to any of your stuff and who can help you make decisions and keep you on task. This could be a friend or a professional mover. Take photos of the items you are getting rid of, but have emotional ties to, so that you have something to hold on to. 

Like I advised in a previous column, make three piles. One: Keep, Two: For Charity, Three: To Be Tossed. Pretty simple. If you stick to this plan, your sorting and discarding will be so much less stressful. The hard part is sticking to it.

Selling your stuff can be time-consuming and challenging. Having a garage sale is a lot of work that can result in not a lot of money. Everyone else is doing the same thing these days—trying to getting rid of their stuff. No one wants any of our stuff anymore, especially our kids! Instead, put some of it in a consignment shop so someone else does the work for you and then you at least get something for the item, so it’s not a complete loss. Online places like eBay, like rummage sales, are time consuming and there is an upfront fee. Listing items and then shipping requires a lot of time, which you don’t have. And then there are the scammers. It isn’t common, but it happens.

My suggestion is to donate, donate, and donate! You can write if off and others benefit. 

Now when it comes to toxic items like paint and chemicals, be sure to research where you can drop it off materials like these so they don’t find their way to the landfill. In Milwaukee, start with the Project Clean & Green page on the Department of Public Works website.

You can do this! I believe in you! 

Here are some sites that you may find helpful:

HGTV: Should I Downsize My Home?

Dave Ramsey: Downsizing Your Home, 3 Money Benefits

Kiplinger: The Upside of Downsizing

Money Crashers: Nine Ways to Declutter & Downsize Your Home Effectively

City of Milwaukee Project Clean & Green

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