Tips and Tricks When Downsizing Your Home:
You’ve lived in and loved your current home for years; maybe raised a family, but now it’s time to downsize. The task of going through your belongings and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, then moving of can be daunting. Here are some quick tips and tricks to make the process a little easier.
- If possible, give yourself several weeks to tackle the project so you can go through things one room at a time, keeping in mind your new space as well as the lifestyle you will have there. Will you be cooking or entertaining in your apartment? Will you want your toaster or a microwave? Do you eat at the table? Use these questions to eliminate items you won’t need in your new place.
- As you look around your home honestly evaluate if you use each item and if so when was the last time. If it’s been more than a year since you’ve used that kitchen appliance or worn those shoes or you aren’t likely to read that book or use the treadmill, maybe it’s time to let them go and make room for things you really love. If you’re unsure if you want to get rid of an item, consider renting a small storage unit. If you haven’t needed it after 6-12 month give yourself permission to let go.
- Shred any old checks, bank statements, or tax returns. Per IRS.gov the length of time you need to keep records varies, depending on your circumstance. Visit https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records for a more detailed explanation or ask a tax professional to clarify what is needed for your situation.
- Digitize photos, audio and video tapes and slides to reduce the amount of memorabilia you keep. Bonus, the photos and memories will be easier to access and share.
- Take only your favorite memorabilia, donate or give the rest away. Do you have a large china setting or collection of Lladro? After choosing your favorite piece, consider gifting other pieces to your family or have them pick something they would love in their home.
- Measure your new rooms as well as your furniture so you know what will fit and where you may want to put it, taking into account doors and windows. Make sure you are realistic on what will fit into the different rooms as well as any storage space available.
- Now is the time to clear out any extra Tupperware containers, bottles and jars, that collection of freebie pens and notepads, etc. Ask around to see if anyone you know needs any of your extra items and if they can pick them up. Otherwise, call your local thrift store to come pick it up (be sure to ask for a tax receipt) or contact EverythingGoez.com (801-755-4799) to pick up. For larger/nicer items consider holding a yard sale or put your items on a local yard sale site (many communities have a Facebook yard sale page for free).
- Be sure to organize your moving boxes. Clearly write what is in the box and what room/closet it will be moving to so you know what goes where.
- For an easy way to move your clothes on hangers get lawn and leaf yard bags, poke a hole in the middle of the bottom and pull the tops of your hangers through and tie the bottom. Clothes will stay clean and dry and nothing will be lost in transit to your new home.
- Make several “open first” boxes for things such as toiletries, bedding, a few pairs of clothes, and basic tools.
- Pack dishes, glasses and breakables in towels and clothing (use socks for glassware). This saves on paper and you don’t have to worry about washing the newspaper ink off everything before putting them away. Put plates in vertically like records so they’re less likely to break.
- Place a cotton ball or pad on top of any pressed powder makeup to prevent it from breaking.
- Saran wrap drawers, kitchen utensils & silverware, & jewelry to keep everything in place during the move.
- Store any screws or remotes in plastic bags and tape them to the item they go with. Take a picture of how your electronics are hooked up or tape/wrap the wires to the device so they stay in place.
- Purchase vacuum seal bags to store any out of season clothing for condensed, clean storage.
- Move in and set up large pieces of furniture first so you know where they go. Once all the furniture is in place, begin to stack the boxes in the areas where they will be stored.
- Be sure to organize your new home as you go. Downsizing and moving can be an overwhelming process. Make it easier on yourself by clearly marking any boxes that will remain unpacked and organizing everything, especially if space is limited.
- Organize any important papers such as medical records, legal documents (powers of attorney, trusts, etc.), military records, birth certificates, passports or school records. Make sure they are clearly marked and kept in a safe place where they can be accessed if needed.
- Consider purchasing a safe for valuables and any legal documents. If you take medications (particularly opioid pain medications) you will want to ensure these are locked up to ensure they are safe. You never know what someone is going through in their life. Be mindful of others and don’t put anyone in the position where they think about taking something for any reason.
- Be sure to update your address for all bank statement, credit cards, driver’s license, and insurance. If needed, check into transferring any utilities (phone, cable, internet, etc.).
If you’re still overwhelmed with the task at hand, consider hiring professional movers. For seniors, check into hiring a Senior Move Manager such as Sue Danielson at LetsMakeThisMove.com (801-310-3838).