Moving to a Smaller Home: How to Live with Less

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Foreclosures, unemployment, health issues, or just the desire to live frugally are all reasons that many people across the country are downsizing. However, downsizing and moving to a smaller, more economical home can be stressful when you realize that all of your belongings are not going to fit into your new home.

Where do you start? It’s time to toss, sell and organize.

The more time you have to do this prior to your move, the better. It’s also important to get into the mindset that you don’t really need that Chia Pet you got at the office gift swap ten years ago. You also may want to think about passing on the clothes you’ve been putting aside “in case they fit again” — someone could use them and your smaller home probably won’t have all that much storage space.

Plan ahead. Try to get the measurements of each room in your new, smaller home. Measure your furniture and see what will fit and what won’t. If you move it (especially if you have to pay movers) and it won’t fit, that’s time and money down the drain.

What can you part with?  However, it is important to keep in mind that anything in excess anything equals clutter that defeats the purpose of downsizing and simplifying your life. Go through each room, including the garage, and organize your belongings into areas or boxes marked “keep,” “toss,” and “sell.”

Donate or sell more than you keep. Most everything you have has “sentimental value” but it may be put to better use by someone else, so why let it sit in a box or closet?

It’s always emotional making a move to a new home, especially if you’re doing it due to financial issues. However, get rid of what you can because with clutter comes stress. Yes, you can use a storage unit but that will tack on yet another expense to your monthly budget. If you can avoid using one, it’s a smart financial move.

Sell it! Downsizing your living space also means saving money. Why not put some cash in your wallet? Sell furniture, toys, electronics and home decor that require too much storage space to keep.

Craigslist.org: Great for a fast sale of inexpensive and worn furniture, toys, household items, appliances. Not the place to sell expensive jewelry or pricey collectibles. Find tips for selling on Craigslist here.

eBay: eBay is an on-line marketplace where you can sell almost anything and put extra cash in your wallet. It is easy to find items that sell well on eBay that are  right in your home. Find some helpful eBay selling tips here.

Yard Sale: It’s the tried and true way to un-clutter your life. Set up the yard sale long before you plan to move. Sell items for the lowest possible price. The point is to get rid of the items, not become a millionaire.

Donate: Charities are in big need of clothing, furniture and household items. It’s a feel-good thing when you can give away items that will be put to good use by someone in need. It’s also a tax deduction.

Find a local Big Sisters organization to donate clothing. You can also contact your church or local community action program to find out if there are families in need of clothing or other items. Head to the Salvation Army or Goodwill to drop off clothing, furniture, electronics and other household goods.

Organize it! After you’ve sorted, sold and donated, organize what you have to move. If you’ll be storing off-season items in your new basement, use plastic containers rather than cardboard moving boxes. They may cost a little more up front, but they are stackable and dry storage for your items if you have to keep them in a basement due to lack of closets in your new home.

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