senior planning

downsizing tips

Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space

Large rooms can readily accommodate big items. And jumbo homes have many rooms for lots of big things. But when you’re transitioning to something smaller, downsizing tips for what not to keep are super important!

After all, moving in itself can be so stressful. Why add to the angst when you arrive at your new space and find out your things won’t fit?

I’ve had clients who were determined to keep certain hefty pieces of furniture or just too many components in general. The disappointment was heavy at the new place when alternative arrangements had to be made for the oversized and excess stuff.

As a matter of fact, do you know which household items are most commonly offered free of charge to professional moving crews? Pool tables, couches and pianos are on that short list!

OK, maybe you already knew the pool table was not an option. But there are numerous other sizable items worth swapping out for something smaller. Everything might almost fit but wouldn’t a little breathing room be desirable, too?

With thoughtful space planning and some creativity, you can set up your new digs with comfort and style … and with just the right amount of stuff!

Now on to five big things that shouldn’t make the list for the moving truck. 

downsizing tips
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Today's post is all about 5 downsizing tips to ensure your smaller space is filled with just the right sized items !

tips for downsizing to a smaller house
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Downsizing Tips | 1. Release Blocky Coffee Tables

A large central coffee table is a standard fixture in most living rooms. 

But is it practical when downsizing? I’ve witnessed many a client, anxious to hang on to their massive coffee table, only to be disappointed with how it demands major real estate in their tiny new space. 

And maneuvering around it can be a challenge, especially when using an assistive device such as a walker or wheelchair. So pay attention to safety and mobility.

However, even if you’re perfectly ambulatory now, consider replacing this traditional piece with a couple of smaller tables or tables that nest under each other. You gain flexibility when you can  re-position them where needed. 

Other downsizing tips include substituting a couple of antique trunks. Or buy an ottoman (or two) with lids that open to reveal stashed belongings. 

Now you’ve tripled the utility as you can use them for footrests, additional seating and storage, as well!

tips for downsizing possessions
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Downsizing Tips | 2. Release Boxy Nightstands

Once upon a time, bedroom furniture was only purchased in suites consisting of a bed frame, nightstands, dresser and mirror. 

But when you’re scaling down your living space, consider offloading your standard nightstands. For example, narrow bookcases might serve double duty for your alarm clock, tissue box, hand lotion and your bedtime reading collection.

I had one client use her pet’s kennel as a nightstand! Her fur baby was nearby all night. A small plank laid on top provided a solid surface for the items needed next to the bed. And voilá … another workhorse solution to the rescue!

Another alternative answer would be to install floating shelves on either side of the bed.

This creates a feeling of airiness yet affords the storage surface needed for everyday items. These could be made of wood or glass.

Or how about this: painted, stained or au natural wooden crates mounted on either side? Again, the floating concept creates multipurpose space as you could stow your slippers or a basket of magazines or your knitting supplies underneath.

Wall mounted reading lights above the bed (or suspended pendant lights) are yet one more clever way to reduce what used to sit on your traditional nightstands.

So think about th things you reach for when you’re settling into your night routine.

This helps determine the size and shape of what creative nightstand will work best. Remove the rest. Because having less stuff occupy your bedroom will allow for a more soothing night’s sleep.

downsizing tips and tricks

Downsizing Tips | 3. Release Bulky Single-Use Kitchen Appliances

How often do you make waffles these days? 

Are you regularly assembling cookies, cakes and pies? Stretching pasta?  There is a plethora of kitchen gadgets that perform only one function but how many of these should make the cut for space in your new place?

It makes sense to consider what meal prep you care to do these days. Or will actually do. Be realistic about how often you will reach for your stand mixer, toaster, deep fryer or popcorn popper.

How many sets of dishes, mixing bowls, kitchen gadgets and serveware accessories will be practical? 

Think about what your cooking style is now and replace a few different appliances with multi-tasking ones such as an Instant Pot, which provides several methods of cooking in one appliance!

Unless cooking and entertaining is your passion … and you will continue to do so on a larger scale … streamlining what will be in your new kitchen is important, too. 

tips for downsizing to an apartment

Downsizing Tips | 4. Release Brawny Couches & Chairs

Lazy Boy furniture has been scaling down their seating arrangements.

The furniture manufacturers have jumped on board with catering to the crowd seeking smaller scale pieces.

Remember that if you’re downsizing from the big house, you’re likely not needing to haul the huge sectionals and recliners with you. They command way too much space. Plus, they throw off the visual balance of your room.

Instead, why not substitute the massive sofa with a pair of small love seats? Or 4 small swivel club chairs? 

These actually lend themselves to a natural conversation area. And they can be positioned in front of a fireplace or by the window, whatever your new focal point will be. Style them with colorful pillows and a cozy throw. Your friends will love visiting in your right-sized living room!

downsizing tips for empty nesters
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Downsizing Tips | 5. Release Beefy Media Centers

Have you noticed that even hotels have ditched the entertainment armoires?

Flat screen TVs rule! Wall mounting them has truly opened up real estate in multi-purpose rooms. 

When you surround the TV with your own wall art, you create a visual gallery, as well. Your TV no longer dominates the room as the main event.

You can still place a very slim cabinet underneath. Or try a narrow table with small wicker cubes or trunks to house any additional media items such as CDs or movies, or board games. 

This approach is more modern and fresh. And once again, you’ll avoid having any one large item overpower your smaller room.

downsizing tips for seniors
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Bonus Tip: Plan, Plan, Plan!

Even if you haven’t defined your exact next destination, it’s still invaluable to start decluttering today!

When you know a downsizing move is in your future, think about your current rooms that will not exist in the new home. Start rehoming items in there, whether by donation, gifting or tossing if no longer serviceable. Then these empty rooms can serve as sorting and staging space for your future move.

Give thought to how you want to spend your time in the new home.

If your activities will be changing, there’s another clue for what to keep and what to release. Fewer people in the home usually leads to needing less of many things. And a new focus generally means the paraphernalia from a former hobby or interest will no longer be useful.

Once you have landed on your new home, sketch the layout and then play with the space.

This will ensure your furnishings will fit properly. If they don’t, now you can plan for what smaller scale furniture you will acquire. If you have a hard time visualizing, certainly, you can wait until you arrive. Get a feel for the place and then start shopping.

Or, invest in interior design help. A professional can listen to your vision and bring it to fruition with suggested pieces within your defined budget.

Less can be more when you accept that change will be a part of this downsizing decision.

Of all the downsizing tips shared here, letting go of what you no longer need, use or love will be essential for a smooth and successful move!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today's downsizing tips focused on 5 big things to replace when a smaller space is in our future!

Reconsider moving oversized stuff to your new smaller space.

Avoid the cost of transporting things that won’t truly fit.

Instead, opt for smaller scale furnishings and multipurpose appliances.

Score extra points with serene space between your things!

Related Topics & Resources to Explore

declutter

Declutter Like a Boss With The PopUpPurge™ Book Release!

This Post Introduces the PopUpPurge™, a Soulful Guide to Declutter for Clarity at the Midlife Milestone!

When you’re 50+ or better, you’ve already lived quite a full life! And when you pause to take stock and start to declutter, are you a little shocked with just how much has accumulated over the years?

Take heart, it happens to us all! Lots of activity has taken place in your home. So it makes sense that there’s going to be a lot of physical evidence as a result.

But are you making real decluttering inroads? Maybe not so much. As you look at family photos, travel mementos, or Grandma’s china, the memories start flooding in. It’s so much harder than expected!

How do you declutter without feeling like you’re throwing away your past? Or someone else’s?

And so decluttering is deferred to another day. But when will that day come?

How long will you wait for your own new chapter to unfold and flourish?

declutter

The Power to Declutter Successfully Is Now Within Reach!

 

If you’ve given this your best shot and sorted on the basis of what sparks joy, how’d that go? What were you able to release? Were you able to sleep on your bed that night? Or was there an enormous pile of clothing in the way?

How do you move ahead and declutter anyway, when guilt, regret, or perfectionism stops you in your tracks?

Well, this is exactly why I wrote this book, “PopUpPurge™: Release Midlife Clutter & Reclaim Inner Clarity”!

Because it’s never really just about the stuff. It’s about the emotions we’ve wrapped around our things that has us stuck.

When we can face the memories, limiting beliefs, and old stories that hold us hostage, we can begin to let go of what no longer (or maybe never) serves us well.

In fact, here are 5 compelling reasons for Women Over Fifty to start decluttering now, with guidance from this book!

how to declutter your home
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#1: Who's In The House Has Changed

There are all kinds of possible scenarios now. On the one hand, the kids are grown and likely on their own. You might be on your own, too, due to divorce or death. Or maybe you’re in a new relationship. 

On the other hand, have people moved back in again? Was it just two of you for a while, but now the kids and/or your parents are with you? After all, we are dubbed the “sandwich generation” for a reason!

Whatever your current status is, does the stuff in your house make sense for who’s there now? Or is your home frozen in time? 

Decluttering is the perfect activity to create an environment that supports whoever is under your roof now!

declutter your home
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#2: Our Full-Time Focus Begins to Shift

Careers may be winding down or come to an abrupt end. You may be contemplating a new one. The days of working for just one employer until you retire have become a thing of the past.

And if your full-time focus was raising your family, they’re full blown adults by now. So you’ve likely been given your parenting pink slip, right?!

With these inevitable changes, are you ready to pursue the passions you shelved in the pursuit of being practical? Good for you! But have you cleared out the stuff from your former job first? Or is that still occupying space and collecting dust?

how to declutter
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#3: Our Health May Have Taken a Turn

We can take good health for granted. Especially when we’ve focused on taking care of our family … it’s how Moms operate! 

Yet sometimes, unexpected health issues crop up, catching us off guard. When it’s something life-changing, it definitely gets our attention. Now, the time ahead of us becomes even more precious. 

What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind? Not everyone is eager to ponder this topic. But putting it off will not change the fact that when we are gone, someone will have to declutter our stuff and decide what to do with it.

Do you want to get it in order yourself? Or do you expect your kids to do this? How did your parents handle their legacy?

Lots of important questions here to answer, right? Which is why Swedish Death Cleaning is the iconic decluttering concept of an entire nation!

declutter meaning
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#4: "Me Time" Is Calling Our Names

 

Finally! You don’t have to shoehorn your personal interests into a calendar bulging with other people’s agendas. You can be unapologetically front and center again!

When we’ve supported the interests and priorities of our family for a long time, it’s new territory to switch gears. Oh, certainly we’ve carved out time for ourselves, too. But to triple or quadruple that “me time”? It’s a luxury that we’ve earned!

But first: is there room in the house for what lights you up now? Or is it bulging with idle hobbies, crafts, and possessions from someone else’s past?

decluttering tips
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#5: We're Entering A Platinum Period

Living lighter is the key to feeling lighter! As Midlife Women, we are on the cusp of writing a new chapter in our lives. We turn the page when we declutter and clear space for where we want to head next.

Not quite sure where “there” is for you? You’ll uncover it as you release what you no longer need, use, or want in the house.

Remember how it felt when you graduated from high school? Whether you went on to earn an advanced degree or you immediately entered the work force, you had your whole life ahead of you. Once again, you’re at a similar junction.  How exciting to decide your next move! And decluttering is the perfect vehicle for discovering where “there” is once again!

Ready to harness clarity? Then this is the best book for decluttering your life! Download a Free Chapter right here! And then grab the rest of the story. 

Prepare for a confident shift into a joyful future!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This Post Announced The Release of The PopUpPurge™ Book Which is the Perfect Guide To Declutter Your Home & Your Life!

Design the next chapter of your life through letting go of what you no longer need, use, or love.

Six of the chapters are dedicated to the common emotions that have us stuck.  But now you can get moving again!

Small steps executed regularly add up to big results.

Your turn!

  • What’s your personal decluttering journey been like?
  • Which things are the hardest for you to let go?

Join the convo below … And thanks for stopping by!

decluttering ideas

Decluttering Ideas to Release Other People’s Stuff (Without the Guilt!)

Consider using the decluttering ideas in this 4-step process so you can finally let go of things left behind from your loved ones.

Without a doubt, we all hang on to stuff for various reasons. But guilt is often the main culprit.

I mean, just think about your kids’ childhood stuff stashed in the attic. Or what about your mom’s Lenox china for 16 hidden in your dining room hutch. And Grandpa’s beer steins and National Geographic collection buried deep in the basement.

What’s wrong with this scenario? If you love all these things and cannot imagine life without them, then absolutely nothing!

But if thinking about these examples creates tension in your body, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider what’s occupying valuable space in your home! The stuff may be out of sight but it weighs on your mind. Time to set yourself free!

decluttering ideas
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Today Features Decluttering Ideas That Honor What Matters To You!

decluttering your home checklist
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Step 1: Begin With Your Why

>> Do You Want To Function As A Storage Facility?

If it’s a temporary situation, put a time limit on how long the items will be tenants in your home. It’s universal that our kids leave stuff in our home when they depart the nest. And it’s easy for us to hang on to the remnants of their youth. The memories are deep and heart-filled.

We have the space to store their sentimental mementoes … or do we?

Is it possible their stuff is occupying space you could use for your next chapter? In fact, on a larger scale, is their stuff holding you back from making your own physical move?

So, yes: Determine if other people’s things are preventing you from forging ahead!

minimalist decluttering checklist
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>> Initiate The Convo With The Kids Now!

Now you might feel a little uneasy with this idea. Yet they may simply be assuming it’s A-OK to leave their excess stuff with you. They need to hear how you feel about it!

Also: understand there is benefit for both sides. Your adult children can then adopt a lifelong habit of identifying what matters most to them, too!

To be honest, most Millennials are open to decluttering ideas and goals. They already choose to live in smaller spaces. They seek to travel lightly with their possessions. So the timing for this dialogue is spot on! It can be a session of recalling happy times. This, in turn, leads to deliberate choices of what items to keep and what items to release.

decluttering bedroom checklist
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>> Now Address The "Permanent" Guests In Your Home!

Who’s this? I’m referring to inherited items or gifts from family members or friends. They can be everywhere! Some are stored in boxes or closets, out of sight. Others may be sprinkled throughout your home. 

You know logically these things have an “expiration date” with hanging around. Either they aren’t to your own taste or or they are not useful or necessary for your lifestyle.

They may be something you do appreciate, but you truly don’t have the physical space now or where you may be heading next. Even harder, they may evoke bittersweet or difficult memories of a particular time in your life.

Ask yourself: Do I truly need or want these items in my home?

minimalist decluttering checklist
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Step 2: Sort Items By Donor

Next up is staging the items so that you can see exactly what you have from whom. For example, everything from your Mom could be gathered in the spare room. You can then see at a glance what you have from one person.

Now this may be challenging if your house has things from Mom in every room! If that’s the case, then just segregate her things in each respective room and take a picture. In this way, you can review the entire collection at once or within a few images.

The purpose of this activity is to understand exactly what we have from Mom, Dad, Grandma,  and so forth. Often we balk at releasing something simply because it belonged to someone in particular (and I get that, really!)

But we get bogged down when we assign high value to each and every single item thy owned or touched. Is this realistic?

For me, I think about it this way: “How do I want my son to remember me?” I am most passionate about 3-4 things and so he’s welcome to keep just a few items that define those interests. He doesn’t need to curate a Mom shrine with everything of mine!

In other words, be selective with how you decide to honor your beloved family member.

how to start decluttering when overwhelmed
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Step 3: Select What To Keep

 

No one has  unlimited space! Which is why solid decluttering ideas include deliberate choices that truly epitomize your beloved family members.

If your Grandma was a tea drinker, a gardener or a deeply religious person, then keep her favorite tea cup, her cut glass flower vase, or her rosary beads. This makes it easier to let go of her ceramic knickknacks or crocheted afghans. You get the idea!

Certainly, you can increase the number of items if they take up less physical space, like pictures in a photo album or a digital picture frame. But consider truly narrowing down to the essence of that person… because you want to leave space in your home for you!

Once you have your choices defined, you can have fun with how you’re going to display the items. They won’t need to be hidden out of view any longer.

Perhaps you’ll create a gallery of framed photos. You might use some glassed shadow boxes to showcase costume jewelry or prized medals. In other words, incorporate the treasures into your present decor.

Paring them down to a select few will truly let them stand out as a testament to your family history.

best decluttering tips
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Step 4: Release The Rest With Love

 

Understand that gifted items from our family were given in the spirit of love. The intent was never to bog you down with something that didn’t bring you joy. Acknowledge the kind gesture but let go of what doesn’t suit your taste. Gifts shouldn’t come with strings attached, don’t you think?

Figure out the highest and best use of the things you will not retain. Start with your own family, in the event your children or siblings would appreciate and welcome any of those items. The key is this: ask!

Don’t assume you know what others will want. Listen and then accept their decisions. After all, it’s their home and so it’s their choice.

From there, it’s entirely up to you if you would prefer to realize a monetary return. Yet know that any selling activity will take time and effort, depending upon the demand for that item.

By investing a little time up front, you’ll realize if going the re-sale route is worth your while.

If you decide to bypass the resale step, there are so many local charities that can deftly route your donations to the highest needs in your community. 

Please don’t overlook the value of donating! It in no way means you are throwing money away or dishonoring your family member!

The money has already been spent when the item was first acquired by your relative. There was joy and use of the item until it was passed along to you. Now, you’re simply “paying it forward” when someone less financially fortunate eagerly and gladly accepts the item for their own use.

Isn’t that a better outcome than having it collect dust on a shelf or hide in a cabinet?

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This Post Dug Into Decluttering Ideas About Releasing Sentimental Stuff Without Guilt

When incorporating these decluttering ideas into your own routine, remember to work at your own pace. You control the process and no one is judging you. Even 15 minutes a day will have you ahead of where you were before you started.

Sentimental clutter is the hardest stuff to deal with … but it provides the biggest emotional release when it’s moved out so you can move on!

You can do this … I believe in you!

Your Turn!

What’s your sentimental clutter status? 

  • What will be your biggest challenge to release?
  • What decluttering ideas can you share with us?

Drop your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by! 

clutter definition

Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

With an actual clutter definition, we can clear space like a boss so much more easily!

Someone once said, “Release the clutter in your life and set yourself free!”  Sounds good, right?

But, wait … what exactly are we supposed to get rid of?

We are all different with what we’ve got stashed and stored in our homes. It follows that the reason we hang on to certain things will likewise be unique.

Yet while there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to decluttering, it is possible to create a universal clutter definition.

This can be the starting point for all of us. After all, there are always going to be the obvious things that need to hit the curb immediately. Think expired, worn-out, or broken items.

From there, we can then define our own personal parameters for what to keep and what to let go.

Clutter can’t be released until we know how to identify it! Shall we do this?

clutter definition
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This Post presents A Basic Clutter Definition, Which Is The First Step To Successfully Clearing Space In Your Place!

clutter meaning
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A Common Clutter Definition is "Anything you don't need, use, or want any more."

What do you think about that?

I mean, really: if you don’t need it or don’t use it, it’s just occupying valuable space!

On the other hand, if you want it or love it, that definitely stays!

When we have a clear idea on how to view clutter, it becomes so much easier to identify it in our homes. Additionally, it also makes for a smoother process to part ways with clutter.

Ready to go a little deeper?

clutter free meaning
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Clutter Definition Part I: What is "Need"?

When we say we “need” something, we are affirming that something supports us where we are at in our lives.

It makes our daily routine possible. It helps us get things done. We’d be kind of lost without this stuff!

Think about the basic cookware in your kitchen … your coffeepot, your microwave or your instant pot. 

So we’re talking about things that maintain our lifestyle now or the one we are heading towards.

On the other hand, what about all the stuff that never or rarely if ever makes it out of the closet or out of the drawers? We should view our belongings with a critical eye and determine if they truly deserve a place in our homes.

So this leads to the next concept of what we actually reach for as we go about our days.

how to reduce clutter in your home
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Clutter Definition Part II: What is "Use"?

Now this is shining a light when we refer to utility!

In other words, we are talking about stuff that we actively rely on. We might not use these items daily or weekly. It might just be a couple times during the year. But they’re definitely serving a purpose.

On the other hand, if things are sitting idle, waiting for “some day” or “just in case”, imagine the negative energy they emit. They’re gathering dust, taking up space. Which then causes guilt.

Who needs that vibe in the home!

making space clutter free
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Clutter Definition Part III: What Is "Want"?

Here’s where we’re really getting to the crux of things!

When we say we “want” something, it generally means we see value with it playing a role in our lives. We are talking about something that represents an important person, place or experience. What they do is bring a smile to our faces or inspire us to achieve something more. 

Once again, the items that we want will be unique to each of us. But what they have in common is that we love them!

Personalization is what makes our house a home!

However, the key to maintaining a practical quantity of things is this: do we still feel this way now. And how many of these things do we keep?

Is our house a home or a museum?

clutter-free meaning
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So Now: What Should Go?

 

At last, with this universal clutter definition, all kinds of things start to come to mind that we should release, don’t they?!

A short list would include:

– It’s no longer your style

-You have too many duplicates

– It was an impulse buy, now collecting dust

What else would you add to this list? 

It’s so easy to have clutter creepage in our homes, isn’t it? Mail arrives daily and lingers on the countertop. Makeup samples and faded towels are crammed in our bathroom cabinets. Our clothes are a range of sizes and eras. We can’t even see everything we own at a glance!

Moreover, many things can be in perfectly good condition. But we just don’t care for them, use them, or need them anymore.

Sounds like it’s time to dig in with some overdue decluttering sessions, don’t you think?

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap:This post created a common clutter definition so we can confidently release what we no longer need, use or want!

Choices we’ve made about the stuff in our homes can be overdo for examination.

With an established clutter definition, you will now start to see a pattern with what might be overdue for releasing.

Take some time to walk through your house. Open your closets and drawers. Look at your belongings with fresh eyes.  

After all, decluttering clears space for new items which truly support your next season!

Your turn!

  • What do you think about this clutter definition?
  • What kind of clutter seems to be your Achilles?

Share your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!

declutter and downsize

Declutter and Downsize: Lay the Groundwork for Really Remarkable Results in 2021!

If 2021 is the year for you to declutter and downsize, how do you plan to get this done? 

Sorry, I know: 2020 is barely in the rear-view mirror!

But just like any resolution that you set, it’s important to identify in advance where you want to head and why you want to get there. 

In my personal coaching sessions, I always suggest starting at the beginning. This means getting to the heart of what you want to accomplish.

Think of it this way: if you’ve always dreamed of visiting Paris, would you simply hop on a plane and show up? Unless you’re a total free spirit with unlimited time and resources, probably not! And the same logic applies to your desire to declutter and downsize, too. 

Today I’m sharing 7 key action steps to clarify your space clearing goals so you can cross them off the list this year! 

declutter and downsize

Today's Post lays The foundation for your Declutter and Downsize goals so you can get this done in 2021!

declutter and organize
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Step 1: I want to declutter and downsize because ...

Start with identifying why excess stuff messes with your emotions.

For instance, does it stir up uneasy feelings? No one really wants a home crammed with stuff they don’t use, need, or love. Too much of anything feels heavy. 

Or perhaps someone else feels embarrassed to entertain. So they postpone having family and friends over.

Yet another may feel frustrated with searching for things that are hidden in crammed drawers or closets. It sucks up time better used some other way.

And maybe someone feels anxious every time they view items associated with an Ex. It’s like reliving an unhappy situation over and over.

In other words, pause to figure out what your clutter does to bring you down and hold you in place. 

declutter and organize your home
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Step 2: I need to declutter and downsize because ...

Next, capture how your clutter blocks you from what you need to do.

Does your clutter prevent you from getting things done? There could be any number of things on hold until you begin to declutter and downsize in earnest.

Perhaps you need to move into a smaller space. The cost of maintaining a large home is not practical.

Maybe the piles of paperwork mean your bills are not always paid on time. The impact on your credit is real.

Or you’re consistently running late because your overflowing wardrobe makes it hard to get ready each day. There’s lot in there but it doesn’t all fit, flatter or feel good.

So think about what genuine needs you have that are hindered by your clutter and make note of them. 

how to declutter and organize your home
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Step 3: I hope to declutter and downsize so that I can ...

Now jot down your hopes and dreams of things you’d do … if only you had more time and money to pursue them.

What would you do if you had more resources? It’s amazing how clutter can hold us hostage!

How can we imagine something different if we never change? But change is hard to execute if we stay in place, surrounded by what no longer serves us well.

Wish you could attend a culinary school? Want to travel cross country in an RV? These dreams and more could be possible if you didn’t have to spend time and money maintaining more than what you need or use.

When you declutter and downsize into what accommodates your future goals, you can start making those dreams a reality!

declutter and clean
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Step 4: Schedule your D&D time

When will you fit in your declutter and downsize sessions? 

It’s essential to have it on your calendar. If it’s not planned, it will be easy for it to be deferred to another day. But when will that day happen?

Everyone’s capacity is different so figure out how frequently you can time block. And think about pairing your session right before or right after an activity you do faithfully. This “habit stacking”  approach helps get it done!

Additionally, start with just a couple sessions a week. This is a new habit so give yourself time to embrace it. It took time to accumulate the stuff you have. It will take time to let the excess go. Don’t overwhelm yourself and then burn out early! 

On the other hand, if you have a hard stop with a pending physical move, work your calendar backwards. With your date in mind, assign each room a set number of weeks to get them cleared.

For example, your kitchen may need 4 weeks but your guest room only needs 2 weeks. It’s just an estimate but as you dig in, you’ll figure out how many sessions are needed in each room to completely unclutter them.

The key is to get started now!

declutter and donate
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Step 5: Start Small with your D&D sessions

How small is small? Think a drawer, a cabinet or a closet!

Sure, your goal is to space clear each room in your home. But trying to get an entire room done in one session may be impossible, even if you have a whole day set aside.

For one thing, you may get bogged down early if you encounter sentimental stuff. That’s the hardest to sort through! You may start to justify keeping much of it, even if you know it isn’t practical.

Secondly, breaking a room into sections is a great way to get small wins early on. It’s a manageable session and doesn’t disrupt using that room when your decluttering session is done for the day.

And thirdly, keeping the space clearing sessions to less than an hour is a smart way to keep your enthusiasm high. You may choose to conduct a few sessions during one day, but break them up with other tasks, for variety. You’ll feel much more accomplished when you actually complete a discreet area, as opposed to only getting part way through a large space. 

Manageable chunks keep your uncluttering goals on track!

downsize and declutter
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Step 6: Keep Track of your D&D sessions

It’s easy to feel discouraged when you think about how much more space clearing is ahead of you.

But when you log your results, you’ll realize just how much you’ve already accomplished! Your efforts will add up over time. 

How you choose to track your decluttering is up to you. It can be as simple as photos in an album on your phone or an old school notebook, listing the results of each session.

The point is to keep a record of your declutter and downsize journey. You’ll impress yourself with how much you’ve gotten done. And it will motivate you to keep on going!

Little steps add up to big results!

how to declutter and downsize
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Step 7: Keep on going!

You got this … don’t lose momentum now!

After just 30 days, you’ll be amazed how your declutter and downsize sessions have become a part of your regular routine. 

As you open up space in your home, your heart will likewise feel clear and open. Letting go of what you no longer need, use or want is a liberating step towards inviting all the possibilities head of you!

When your enthusiasm flags (and it happens to all of us), circle back to Step 1-3. Remind yourself why you’re doing this now.  Refresh your memory with what you will be able to do in the future. 

Now you can start to design your next life chapter, freely and joyfully! Step confidently where you want to go next!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today's post was all about crafting a declutter and downsize plan to clear space in 2021 for where you want to go next!

Feeling inspired to clear out the old to make way for the new?

Fantastic! Take control of your direction. Craft a mini-Manifesto for why clearing space makes sense for you in 2021. This is for your eyes only so be honest. And be prepared for real results to unfold in this New Year!

online selling platforms

8 Tried and True Online Selling Platforms for Offloading Your Excess Stuff

With so many online selling platforms to choose from, how do you know which ones will be the best choice for you?

The app field is crowded and it can be confusing! So today, I’m sharing 8 online selling platforms that have stood the test of time.

The key is to match what you have to sell with the platform that will maximize your return in a reasonable amount of time.

Selling your stuff is not your full-time focus, right? That’s why it’s critical you select the best venue to showcase your stuff and sell it quickly. Because you have other things to do, too!

So grab your coffee, have a seat, and let’s check out your options!

online selling platforms

Today's Post Reviews the Pros and Cons of 8 Online Selling Platforms So You can land on the best place to sell your stuff!

best platform to sell online
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Online Selling Platforms | Option 1: eBay

eBay is a pioneer in online selling, having been around for over 25 years.

It’s a gigantic auction house where over 168 million active buyers can bid on your items! With bidding situations, it can take time to receive your desired price.

In contrast, you may choose to list your item as “Buy It Now“, meaning it’s a fixed, non-negotiable price.

There is an enormous buying audience for your goods but the competition is stiff. You’re competing not only with other individual sellers. In fact, there are wholesalers and corporation, too … not to mention fierce competition from China, as well!

eBay has a built-in algorithm, geared towards helping buyers locate specific items which can also be good for sellers.

But on the flip side, customer protection …even in falsified complaint situations …. can be at the expense of a legitimate seller.

Also, it’s not free to sell on eBay. You do get 40 free listings per month, but there are additional fees. For example, there is typically a 10% transaction fee (including shipping & handling) to use this venue. Your net profit is released three days after your tracking shows delivery.

However, if you enjoy an auction-like outcome and you have the time and patience to wait for the right buyer bid, eBay is your venue.

For eBay selling details, check out the step-by-step guide here.

Or, listen to this tutorial over here.

 

where is the best platform to sell online
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Online Selling Platforms | Option 2: Amazon

Amazon has evolved from an online bookstore into one of the world’s most visited marketplace websites.

It boasts massive traffic volume with separate retail websites in 15 countries! This means more buyers for your stuff.

Additionally, the “Fulfillment by Amazon” service handles both customer service and shipping on your behalf. Amazon has a traditional retail structure so you sell your items at a set price. You pay a fee only when  your item sells. But all this comes with higher fees and brutal competition.  

In comparison to eBay, Amazon has a better reputation for customer service and offers buyer perks such as same-day or two-day shipping. But the humongous size of both these online selling venues result in the risk of getting lost in the sea of sellers

Lastly, go directly to Amazon for the latest facts on selling right here. 

online selling items
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Online Selling Platforms | Option 3: Etsy

Etsy takes us into a narrower market when it popped on the scene in 2005. 

It’s positioned as an online platform for crafters, artists and vintage aficionados. Currently ranking as #3 behind eBay and Amazon,  it’s an ideal venue if you have handmade, vintage or highly unique items. Think crafting and jewelry supplies, specialty fabrics or handmade personal products.

Still, despite the exclusive focus, this venue attracts some 30 million shoppers worldwide! Similar to eBay, you’ll pay a listing fee but your Etsy listing will last for 4 months instead of just 10-30 days. This fee is charged whether or not your item sells.

The fixed pricing model is also cheaper and simpler than that of the above two powerhouses.  So keep Etsy in mind if your items fit this handmade, one-of-kind product profile.

To further explore this online selling platform, head here.

 

top online selling platforms
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Online Selling Platforms | Options 4 & 5: Bonanza and Ruby Lane

These two online selling platforms are still relative newcomers.

Nevertheless, they are on the rise and worth checking out if your items fall into the Etsy categories of unique, vintage, antique, or quirky.

Both are smaller than the preceding platforms but they have respectable reach along with more reasonable fees. They specialize further in the following sub-categories:

  • Bonanza
    • Think garden gnomes or taxidermy (although product diversification has been creeping in)
    • Fixed price items as opposed to a bidding situation
    • To get started, click here.
  • Ruby Lane
    • Specifically for actual antiques and vintage-style goods
    • Excellent customer service reputation
    • To get started, go here.
Facebook and OfferUp
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Online Selling Platforms | Options 6 & 7: FB and OfferUp

Facebook Marketplace groups are  definitely trumping Craigslist these days!

Simply enter terms to find and join local groups. For example, type in “Scottsdale, AZ Buy and Sell” in the FB search bar if you live in Scottsdale, Arizona. When you click to join a group, others will be suggested to you, as well.

These groups are very popular with buyers such as young moms or small community residents looking for online garage sale deals. The sky is the limit for what goods are offered.

You are on your own with seller protection but you will also avoid listing and shipping fees. You need to “bump” or refresh your listing to stay current.

OfferUp merged with LetGo  in July 2020 to create one big mobile marketplace.

It provides an easy way to sell locally with payments tendered with either cash or via Stripe, the electronic payment processing partner. There are some fees involved to consider but it’s still a compelling way to sell just about anything online.   

The scoop on using OfferUp is right here. 

what is the best online selling platform

Online Selling Platforms | Option 8: Craigslist

Craigslist is the world’s largest online classified ads website!

You can sell almost anything here. It’s super basic with no fees and no frills but you’re completely on your own to work with buyers.

Craigslist requires that you sell locally, unlike eBay and Amazon. This means that you arrange for pick-up and drop-off of your items.

When all else fails, you can shift your items to the “free” section, which can come in handy. You need to regularly refresh and repost your listing to ensure you are at the top of the category. So you save on the listing and shipping fees with this venue but you lose protection with questionable buyers, i.e., passing off counterfeit money.

Craig’s List has been around for a long time but contends with stiff competition from other online selling platforms such as FB Marketplace and OfferUp. However, it may still an active player in your community…so why not check it out?

Find a simple video with a Craigslist tutorial over here.

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today's post shared 8 online selling platforms to help you rehome your stuff and to deposit some dollars back in your wallet, as well!

There is definitely cash to be claimed using any of these or other online platforms.

But first do your homework! Review your things to sell with a critical eye. Realize that you have a history with the items so your emotions may skew your pricing decisions. Research how similar items are selling. Finally, understand what is entailed to close the deal.

Are you ready to turn your excess stuff into cash?

secondhand stores

Second Hand Stores Can Be Dynamite Decluttering Partners

Once you’ve decided to re-sell things you no longer need or use, it’s time to learn which second hand stores are going to be your best resource.

There are three different types of second hand stores: consignment shops, pawn shops, and thrift shops. Each is unique with what it can offer.

Equally important is understanding the entire selling process. From what items sell best where, to how much they pay out, it’s all about maximizing your return. 

So let’s dive right in and explore what second hand stores can do for you!  

Today's Post Focuses On Second Hand Stores & How to Land on the venue best for you!

consignment stores near me
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Second Hand Stores | 1. Consignment Shops

How They Operate

Consignment shops typically pay you when your items sell. A few may buy your things outright but this can be less common. 

These second hand stores may also charge a small flat fee in addition to the percentage payout. Your return will be larger if you agree to take a store credit instead of cash. After all, this makes sense when you help with moving other inventory off the store floor.

The store will quote you a starting price. Be sure to ask if there are periodic markdowns that would impact your return.

Many shops will have a set cycle for when they mark down inventory. They need to ensure goods are not just sitting and taking up valuable floor space.

If your item doesn’t move after a certain amount of time, you may be asked to pick it up. But they may also offer to donate your items to a local charity on your behalf, which saves you a return trip. 

There are numerous specialty consignment shops so there are too many to address individually. Some carry a little bit of everything and others specialize in furniture, clothing or household items. Many are independently owned and operated as opposed to a chain of retail fronts.

Moreover, it can make more sense to take your stuff to a store that focuses on a particular type of item, i.e., an upscale shop selling designer apparel or a furniture store carrying only contemporary pieces. It stands to reason that specialized second hand stores can attract more potential buyers.

Lastly, expect to receive between 40-60% of the final sale price.

The Bottom Line

Be sure your items are in clean, serviceable condition. If the store politely passes on your stuff, don’t argue with the staff.

They are making decisions based on their professional knowledge and the current demand. Ultimately, they are not interested in having your stuff collect dust on the sales floor and nor would you be, either!

Also, until someone buys your stuff, you are in a holding pattern, waiting for your cash. If you’re looking for a quick payout, a consignment store will not be your best option. 

Therefore, a pawn shop would be a better option for selling your stuff, if time is of the essence. 

second hand stores near me
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Second Hand Stores| 2. Pawn Shops

How They Operate

Not everyone immediately thinks of pawn stores as viable second-hand stores.

Until popular TV shows brought these stores to the forefront recently, there was always an aura of shame and intrigue. Why did someone sell their family heirlooms? What financial downturn occurred?

However, there are distinct advantages to checking one out. Here, you turn possession of the item over to the store and receive an immediate payout before you leave. 

You are not impacted if it sells at an extraordinarily low price or never sells at all! 

Pawn shops can be good venues for items that are in less demand at other second-hand stores. Think taxidermy, electronics, guns, tools or musical instruments.

In fact, a pawn store is a very good venue to sell gold or diamonds! Just be sure to compare their bid to other second hand stores that exclusively buy and sell used jewelry before moving ahead with the transaction. 

On average, pawn shops pay 25-60% of the resale value of your items.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to convert your stuff into cash quickly, these second-hand stores will pay you on the spot.

However, keep in mind that payment up front means you will realize less than if you were willing to wait for a buyer at a traditional consignment shop. So if you can be patient, circle back to option one above.

best thrift stores near me
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Second Hand Stores| 3. Thrift Shops

How They Operate

Thrift shops are the third type of second-hand store. What makes them distinct is that most operate as a nonprofit business. This means that many will not pay for your items.

However, I mention these as they are also a viable resource for offloading excess personal items. That in itself, is a bonus!

You may not receive monetary compensation but you may qualify for a tax credit (consult your financial advisor). They are often linked to a business such as a local hospice. Or think of Goodwill. Profits are funneled back to the parent business, which ultimately provides jobs in your community or funds other worthy initiatives. So ultimately, you also get the satisfaction of helping out others in some fashion.  

The Bottom Line

When clearing space quickly is more important than a monetary payback, thrift stores are an ideal outlet. Not only will your stuff get a second life with new owner. Your donations are converted into dollars that support a worthwhile service in your community, too.

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Second Hand Stores Can Be a Fabulous Outlet for Cashing in on your clutter!

 

Which second hand stores make sense for you? Keep the following factors in mind when decluttering:

  • Time: how quickly do you need to turn your items into cash?
  • Money: how much (if any) return is enough for you?
  • Specialty: are your items rare or of a specific genre?
  • Donation: would you be satisfied with supporting a higher cause?

Some folks enjoy the whole selling experience and seem to really cash out. Others, not so much. Like anything else, it takes time and energy to makes the rounds in order to see what you can get. 

Something is better than nothing but at some point, diminishing returns can set in. Charitable donations start to look much more appealing! You make a difference to someone who can’t afford new and you may realize an income tax credit, too.

estate sale

How an Estate Sale Quickly Declutters Everything (But the Kitchen Sink!)

Imagine selling roomfuls of things, without having to pack, unpack, load, unload … if this sounds ideal, then an estate sale may be right for you!

An estate sale is one more option for decluttering your excess stuff and getting a financial return, as well. I’ve linked other selling options at the end of this post.

Whichever route you take, why not cash in on the stuff you no longer need, use, or want? 

We begin with a definition of “estate sale” so it’s clear how it works. Then, we’ll review how to start the process and have one run in your home. 

Today's Post Covers The Basics of An Estate Sale To Declutter Your Whole House Lickety-Split!

estate sale
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The Definition of "Estate Sale"

First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Sometimes folks use the terms “estate sale“, “tag sale“, “garage sale” or “yard sale” interchangeably. But there are distinct differences!

For our purposes here, an estate sale refers to a third party managing the liquidation of personal belongings. It’s a formal process handled by a professional from start to finish. 

The sale takes place inside the home, whether in just a few select rooms or the entire footprint of the house.

The word “estate” can conjure up images of high end goods, collectibles, or fine antiques. But this is not always the case. In fact, just about anything you would find in a home can and has been sold at an estate sale!

Also, an estate sale was traditionally used to liquidate personal belongings after someone died. It was a quick way to settle debts. However, an estate sale can also be a practical approach for clearing space when the goal is to declutter, downsize, or divorce. 

Interestingly, estate sales can be run by the homeowner and can occur on-line, too. For today, we are only examining the on-site professionally managed approach.

estate sale definition
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Other Types of Sales

In contrast, most tag, garage, and yard sales are run by the owners themselves or with the help of a family member or friend.

These types of sales tend to take a more casual approach. For example, items to sell are located in the garage, driveway, or front yard to keep buyers out of the house!

Additionally, prices are indicated with stickers. Certain tables or racks may have a sign with one price for all items placed there.  Some buyers often want to counter the posted prices, as well. Once a final price is agreed upon, cash and sometimes even personal checks are accepted.

Now, back to the estate sale process!

estate sales today
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Kick Off An Estate Sale With These 3 Steps

Step 1: Locate a professional

In fact, talk to more than just one for comparison. A complimentary consultation allows the professional to evaluate your items, to explain their procedures, and to disclose the cost of using their services.

Always begin with gathering recommendations from friends or neighbors. Or, do a basic online search for professionals in your area. Check for reviews and research how long they’ve been in business. Confirm their standing with the Better Business Bureau, too.

Then, when you’ve performed your due diligence, you can sit back and relax once you’ve selected who will do all the work for you!

Step 2: Listen to what they believe will be salable and at what price

A professional can tell you what is hot and what is not in today’s market.

Understand that what you paid for something or how old it is has little to do with what it will sell for now. This is one of the hard truths to accept!

But in regards to certain items, such as coins or artwork, you may also choose to have them professionally appraised in order to confirm their current value.

And keep in mind that if something can be sold, they will want to do it because they typically work on a percentage basis. So if you hear that you’re better off donating certain things for the income tax deduction, it’s likely true.

Step 3: Request a written estimate

Be sure it includes a clear explanation of how and when your net proceeds are distributed.

Typically, you are paid within 3 days of the end of the sale. Estate sale fees range anywhere from 20-45% of the gross profits. It depends on your market and on the exact services provided.

Obviously, they are managing the sale from start to finish. But they may also handle any unsold items for you by offering to donate those items to charity on your behalf. There is always trash removal and after-sale clean up to perform, as well. Therefore, ask about related services so you know who is doing what.

estate sale near me
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What Happens During An Estate Sale

Reputable professionals adhere to industry best practices to help make your estate sale a success. Some of the most important considerations include the following:

  1. Weekend hours are a must to ensure all potential buyers can attend the sale. An estate sale is typically run 1-3 days.
  2. Colorful and enticing verbiage is used in the street signage, Internet and print ads. Artful and thoughtful display of your items is also an essential step.
  3. Extensive price research is conducted to get top dollar for you. Remember, the professional is paid on a percentage basis. So it’s in their best interest to maximize your return.
  4. Cash or credit cards are mandatory for all sales. An actual cash register is used to provide accuracy and security.
  5. Adequate preparation includes cleaning and minor repair of items to ensure selling at top dollar.
estate sale in my area
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Estate Sale or Consignment Shop?

How do you know which approach will work better for you?

To begin with, the professional will guide you. Although there are numerous estate sale companies, some choose to focus on high demand antiques, vintage, or one-of-a-kind items.

If many of your items are common brands or styles such as Corningware, Colonial furniture, or Ikea bookcases, you may be advised to consider the consignment route.

This is not to say that common household good don’t sell well in an estate sale. They can! But you should also explore your other options, anyway.

So talk to a few different estate sale professionals. Call or visit nearby consignment shops with pictures of your items. 

Then make a final, informed selling decision based on your research and your personal timeline.

Now go forth and sell!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This Post Shared The Basics of How An Estate Sale Moves All The Clutter Out In One Fell Swoop!

  • Research the selling options available to you. 
  • Remember to factor in how much time you have to liquidate your belongings.
  • Realize there is a tremendous amount of expertise and energy required to sell. Keep this in mind when you use a professional.

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