Years of accumulated belongings that fill every nook and cranny of a 4 bedroom house with an attic and basement are never going to fit into a home with less square footage. The grandfather clock passed down for generations, the Thanksgiving dining table with seating for 12, the upright piano your youngest child begged for but quit after just two months of lessons; these are all mementos with personal value and memories that can never be replaced. The reality is, they also simply won’t fit. So, what do you do with all your stuff?
Downsizing Tips to Help You Through Your Next Move
1) Sell it. If you can bear to part with the attic full of childhood memories, clothes that no longer fit (and let’s face it, probably won’t fit again), the treadmill that hasn’t been touched in years or the shelves of unread books, list the items on auction or classified sites. The money you earn can be put towards moving costs or storage solutions for a smaller house.
If you have time, but you don’t have a lot of large or valuable items, yard sales, Craigslist, and Ebay are great to sell your stuff. You will need to start several months in advance of your move to make sure you have time for the sales process.
If you choose to have a yard sale or garage sale, be sure to add your sale to Yardsales.net, an online listing site. And don’t forget a classified add in the Frederick News Post, which will also be online, where many savvy shoppers will find it.
Consignment shops are also a great alternative to sell your unwanted items. See my blog, for a list of Frederick Consignment Shops.
You can hire professional companies that make it their business to help people get rid of their stuff. Estate sales are ideal if you have valuable items, because these companies have the marketing know-how to get the word out and can get more buyers than the average home owner ever could. (I have some resources in Frederick at the bottom of this article:)
2) Donate it. What you may no longer need, it’s almost guaranteed that someone else does. Plus, the donations can be used as a tax write off. There are several non-profits that will come and pick up your items. Several local charities specialize in supporting the needy locally, whether it entails selling the donations and using the funds, or getting the items directly to the people in need. (See the list at the bottom of the article for ideas)
Freecycle is an online membership site where you can give away your stuff and get free stuff. There are over 23,000 members of the Frederick Freecycle group. (I’m a member, and I’ve given away lots of stuff…I LOVE Freecycle.)
Keep Your Stuff
3) Store it. For some, it’s just not going to happen. The idea of letting go of everything is just too much to bear. Some might want to store items for posterity. Your kids might not want it now, but someday they might.
Storage units, commercial and private, are available in most areas. From climate controlled, secure units to vacant garages rented by property owners, there is a storage unit that is right for your situation.
Additional Resource: How to pick a storage unit via Bill Gassett, Massachusetts Realtor®
4) Take it. Just because you’re losing your 3-car garage and all that room for your toys, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a home for your beloved stuff. Pod-like storage units can be placed on your property to store your valuables. This allows you to know exactly where your valuables are located and you can even “visit” with them if the mood strikes.
The old adage “home is where the heart is” has never been more true. For many, it doesn’t matter the square footage of the home, but just that the home is filled with love. Old memories can be brought along in the form of pictures and videos, but ultimately, new memories will be made.
Additional Resource: 26 Ways to Preserve Your Kids Memories Forever has some great ideas for the precious items that you know you should get rid of, but just can’t.
Downsizing Includes the Lawn. Tips to save money, time and the environment.
Downsizing Resources in Frederick Maryland:
Estate Sales and Auctions:
- Other People’s Stuff with Estate Max is an Estate Planning, Personal Coaching, Auction House and all around thorough resource for downsizing. Maximized Returns, Minimized Stress. Owners Laurie Zook and Steve Berryman, 844-371-6291. We have recommended OPF to clients and they have been happy with their service. Find OPS on Facebook.
- Trout Auctioneers, 9801 Hansonville Road, Frederick, 301-898-9899
- Check out Angie’s List for Auction Services with ratings.
- Downsizing four tips: Professional Organizers
- The Frederick Rescue Mission – 419 West South Street, Frederick, MD
- Goodwill Industries – 400 East Church Street, and 5831 Buckeystown Pike
- Salvation Army Thrift Store, 919 East Street, Frederick.
- Purple Heart – pickup: 877-851-8111
- Habitat for Humanity Restore – 917 N. East Street, Frederick
- The Way Station – 230 West Patrick Street, Frederick
- Donation Town is a donation pickup scheduling site for several charities, including AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans, and Arc, among others.
- Seton Center Thrift Shop – 301-447-6102, ext. 3, call for hours.
Are you thinking about selling your home in Central Maryland? Or just curious about your home’s value? Find out what your home is worth.