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Downsizing Your Home: What to Do With All That Stuff

by Jackie Heath on Sep 12, 2017

Did you just buy a smaller home? If you’re moving from a large home to a smaller one, a free boxyou likely have more stuff than will fit in your home. After you pick out the most useful and most meaningful items to use in your new home, you likely have a lot of stuff left over. Here are some tips on how to handle it.

Sell It – Especially Furniture

Whether you go the old school garage sale route or post each item for sale on a site like Craigslist, putting it up for sale is a great way to make some cash, especially if you have high quality items that are in good condition. Garage sales can suck up an entire weekend and be a lot of work (especially when it involves moving furniture), so if you’re looking for minimum effort, it doesn’t get easier than snapping photos and posting them online. If you’re going the online route, keep some simple safety tips in mind: Don’t post your address, ask for cash up front, and don’t be alone in your home when strangers come to check out items or pick them up.

Don’t forget to share any online listings via social media, as your friends may know people who are looking for the items you have to sell.

If you choose to sell items either online or in a garage sale, you’ll probably end up with items that didn’t sell. If they’re still of good quality, you can donate or give them away.

Donate the Items to a Good Cause

There are plenty of charities that collect and resell home items, clothing and kids’ items. The Salvation Army has a network of stores that sell good quality items at low cost; proceeds from the sales help fund a wide variety of programs for the needy and elderly. Other worthy charities include AmVets and Goodwill. Be sure to check what types of items they’ll collect; for instance, some won’t take large like sofas or mattresses. If you make arrangements far enough in advance, you should even be able to arrange for pick up.

Just be sure that the items you donate are in good condition. Clothes should be free of rips, tears and large stains. Any electronic items should be in working condition. Furniture should have upholstery intact and function as it intended; if a chair can’t be sat on, it should be discarded.

Be sure to ask for a charitable donations receipt to use come tax time.

Give Items Away

You can also give or donate items. If you have grown children or other relatives just starting out, they may be perfectly happy to haul your old couch and spare mattress away. Many communities have online “freebox” listings on social media, where people post pictures of items they’d like to get rid of, and neighbors snap them up. If you’re struggling to offload items, some communities have “magic” alleys or curbs, where itemss put out disappear in a few hours, like magic.

If you know you need to downsize but are struggling with getting rid of items, you may want to hire a professional to help you organize and discard things. They can help you prioritize what’s really meaningful and discover what you’re holding on to simply because you don’t know what else to do with it. 

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