Downsizing tips & ideas

David Adshade

I very often deal with buyers that are looking at properties because, for a variety of reasons, they are downsizing their home. In so many cases during the showing they exclaim “but our furniture is too big” or “where will we put the sideboard and 10-seater dining table?” My answer is usually something sensitive like “well get rid of the stuff then!” Having given it some thought, I decided to do something constructive and research this topic. The result is a few ideas for you to use as reference and hopefully offer some inspiration to get you motivated. Naturally not everyone’s circumstances are identical, so this is just a guide to give you a starting point. (It also allows me to print and give it to you when we go out on a viewing!)

On property sales, currently 23% sell due to downscaling with life stage meaning the ageing middle-to-upper income classes remain key drivers of home selling. Once sold, the reality is that you will have less space for your stuff!

Reducing your stuff to life’s essentials is key for ageing adults moving from long-time homes to smaller, more efficient residences, and it’s not a bad idea for younger adults who want to avoid being overwhelmed by possessions.

Before moving, schedule plenty of time to sort through your belongings and decide what you really want to take with you. When looking through your things ask yourself some simple questions: Do I love this? Do I need this? Will I actually use this? If the answer is no to all three questions, it’s probably safe to toss that item or help it find a new home.

Objects and furniture you no longer want may be treasure to a friend or family member. Ask around to see if anyone is interested, but try not to feel rejected if you don’t get any takers. If your kids are setting up their own homes, they might be eager to accept household items—or they may be keen on filling their house with new furniture in their own style. You can always donate items through charities like Salvation Army, Charity SA and their list of  Charity Shops.

Instead of donating, you may also be able to raise some extra cash by selling gently used furniture and other belongings. Think beyond garage sales and use the Internet to sell items on sites like Gumtree and OLX.

There are many ways to pare down your belongings, but the first—and often hardest—step is to just get started. Pick a small area like a wardrobe, cupboard or section of your garage and start sorting. You will be amazed at how much you are willing to part with once you get started.

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