Down Sizing In Real Estate
by Teresa Larson, Village Real Estate, Murray, Utah
Dec. 2, 2014
Where to start? First you need to be sure what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to sell a larger home and get enough cash to purchase a smaller home free and clear, or at least a smaller home with a smaller house payment? Are you looking for an easier life style perhaps condo living in a more secure environment?
Maybe you are moving from a two bedroom apartment to a studio apartment. Ask yourself why am I wanting to do this? Picture in your mind how it will feel to down size. Know that this is what you want. It will make the reality of getting rid of a lot of your things easier to do. If you are planning to downsize within the next year you need to start the process now.
Take Inventory of Your Belongings
Knowing that you want to down size can be a hard task to accomplish if you make it that way! The best thing to do is be realistic and ask yourself as you are going through your stuff; when was the last time I used this thing, wore this item of clothing etc. if it has been over a two years you should definitely put in a box to take to a local charity. Go through your current storage area and get rid of your boxes of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day for years. Some who are more hard core about down sizing say six months is the rule. If you haven’t used it in six months it probably will go on to two years. Getting rid of a lot of personal things, figurines, trinkets, gifts that you have never used no matter who gave them to you will also help make your house show better when the time comes for moving. If you don’t want to give your items to a charity organization, consider selling your stuff at a garage sell, on KSL.com, Ebay or Craig’s List.
Looking for Your New Smaller Place
Measure you current furniture and then measure the rooms you would be putting the furniture in when you find the new home. If you do not plan to buy new furniture this will help you to know exactly what to keep when moving time comes. Make sure you assess the storage space in your new place. How many kitchen cabinets are there? Do you store stuff above your kitchen cabinets now? Does your new place have cabinets that you can store things on top? How many storage closets? This will give you an idea of what you need to dispose of before moving.
Packing and Moving Into a Smaller Space
Think about your belongings and as you pack mark all the boxes individually for each room , cabinet , closet and so on. Then as you move place the boxes in the room they belong in. This will make things much easier. Move your big items into the new home first like furniture and appliances, placing them in the room they belong in. That way you will not be tripping over boxes while trying to move in the big stuff. Unpack your bathroom items first and organize as you go. Organize your closets and cabinets as you unpack.
Why Down Size?
Usually the idea of having a simpler life is appealing! Less to do at home could mean more time to relax or do other things you have been dreaming of doing. Will down sizing really accomplish the feeling you are looking for? Are you trying to lower your out of pocket expenses? Maybe free up some cash for some fun adventures? Are you trying to just have a more simple life with smaller living space and within a tight knit community. Maybe a condo or planned unit development where a home owners association takes care of the exterior maintenance of the home, yard and grounds? Maybe you would like to down size to an upscale community.
There are many reasons why people downsize. Sometimes a person gets to the point where they do not want to have all the up keep that is involved in their present residence. The larger the home the more work goes into keeping it nice all the time. If you do not use all of your space it starts to collect dust! It costs more to keep heated in the winter or cooled in the summer. You might spend time doing all the things to keep your home in great shape inside and out and then not have any free time for anything else. You might spend a lot of money paying others to help you keep your place up. Maybe you want to cut your living expenses. If you find yourself in economic troubles, downsize as quickly as possible. The longer you try and hang on to a lifestyle you can no longer support the harder it is to do. What usually happens is the home starts to show signs of neglect because the means to take good care of the property became harder and harder.
It might be easier to down size for some than others. Decide what you have that truly is a treasure to you. What is worth keeping?Some people get very attached to their stuff. Does anyone remember the little old lady from the movie “The Labyrinth”? She had all that stuff? I vowed to myself I didn’t want to be like her! When you down size you have to get rid of some of your treasures. Some of those treasures might represent unfinished projects. It is ok to let them go, because you really are never going to finish them. Now might be a good time to start going through some of your stuff, if the idea of down sizing is in the back of your head. Doing this will make the task much easier when the time comes. Start going through some of your paper work and photos this will take extra time. Just organizing it will make it more manageable. You can even get your photos made into digital copies and store them online. You can keep some of the photos but some of it you can give to others who might want them. It is easy to get rid of extra kitchen items you never use because there is no sentimental value.
Don’t Throw Things Away
There are other reasons for down sizing these days. It is better for the sustainability of the earth! Remember to recycle, reuse, sell and donate items instead of throwing them away. Start living smaller all around! After you get into a smaller place every time you buy something make the rule that this new thing is replacing something you have of similar size and the old item goes to someone in need.
Final Confession About Down Sizing
My closets are jam packed, but not as bad as they used to be! I have two closets dedicated to my personal attire exclusively. I used to have three closets of my personal attire. My goal is one closet with my stuff. I have been working on simplifying, taking things to out local thrift store the Deseret Industries for quite a few months now. I do a couple of boxes at a time. It is a slow process. I have six more closets to go and one large attic. It takes time when you are busy to go through your things and simplify. I still have to get my husband on board to the idea of down sizing. Down sizing is a dream of mine!
by Teresa Larson, Village Real Estate, Murray, Utah
20+ years real estate experience
©Teresa O Larson PC, 2014