A Guide to Downsizing

Through our life’s journey we all accumulate, inherit and collect an enormous array of furnishings and personal belongings. For Families the quantities multiply, transforming many parts of our home into long term storage. For many of us our attics, eves, cupboards and garages are crammed full with an abundance of items. Most of which if we were truly honest with ourselves we really do not need, but we convince ourselves that we might one day.

Its not until we enter the property market that we start to think of de-cluttering and giving our homes a more spacious look. Moving house can be a stressful experience. However, combine this with down sizing from a family home to a smaller retirement property and it can be an extremely difficult transition that requires careful planning.

Parting with heirlooms and possessions which have sentimental value can be an emotional time. Many people reduce the amount of furniture and forget to minimise the decorative ware and personal belongings – imagine the stress standing with 100 removal cartons in a two bedroom flat with no attic and no garage? It does happen!

To assist you with the process here are the top 10 tips for down sizing:-

1. Write down a list of items you love and can’t live without. Making a wish list makes it easier to part with surplus furnishings.

2. Start thinning out your belongings at least three months before your removal. The trick is to take time each week and go through cupboards, drawers and filing cabinets, step by step filling one box at a time.

3. Get a feel for the size of your new rooms by comparing them to the rooms of similar dimensions in your present home. For instance, your living room to be might be the same size as your current bedroom. You think you can squeeze in two sofas but this kind of reality check could help you realise that only one sofa will fit comfortably.

4. Heavily reduce belongings that don’t have as much sentimental value. Take the kitchen for example, most people don’t need ten mixing bowls. If your moving to a flat, target the garage, lawnmowers, ladders, tools – you don’t need any of them.

5. Try not to dispose of items in the bin, recycle, sell and donate instead.

6. Use three coloured labels, “to keep”, “to sell” and “charity”. For the average down size, retain one third to one half of your belongings.

7. Get an objective opinion, involve the family to help make difficult decisions on what to retain and what to sell. Its good to have someone say “You’ll never use that” it might be the kick you need.

8. Using your local Auction House when selling goods can prove very lucrative. Most Auction Houses cater for low and high market items. Every day household furnishings are sold in general sales and any quality Antiques, Fine Art and collectables are marketed in specialists catalogue sales. These Sales are fully illustrated on the internet with facilities for live internet bidding. This ensures that your possessions realise their true potential.

Remember Auctioneers are only too pleased to conduct home visits to provide advice and free valuations. Quite often it is the least attractive or obvious items that are the most valuable, so have your items valued before taking them down to the charity shops.

9. Use floor plans to pre-arrange your furniture before the move. This is another reality check, don’t wait until after you move to contend with furniture, you’ll just end up tripping over.

10. Chose a good, reliable and experienced Removal Company that can provide advice and more importantly deliver a stress free removal day. Remember the quality of service varies enormously through this business sector – ask around for recommendations.

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