While a recent Del Web survey revealed that 22% of 50-60-year-old Americans in or approaching retirement are doing a 180 on housing, as more choose to upsize their residences and enjoy the fruits of their savings labor…the majority downsize as they hit retirement age.
In this lies a dilemma: What to do with all that stuff?
The Financial Times recently published a story on this subject and I too have personally witnessed the anguish of those who have collected and gathered their favorite things, now compelled to sell, gift, or donate them…or worse, throw things away.
As professional real estate advisors, this is a component we have all dealt with, and we need to be better equipped to guide our clients to resources to help them.
Here are some thoughts:
Simplifying can be DIVINE. I always tell my semi-depressed downsizers that almost every single one of them before felt the exact same way until AFTER they had completed the task when they felt a HUGE sense of satisfaction and relief once the process was completed. Less clutter and stuff de-stressed them and allowed them to refresh their lives, not just their home environment.
Take inventory of all the things you CAN use in your new, smaller home first.
Identify all the items you wish to gift to relatives and friends, knowing some may not want what you gift. Ask first, while keeping an open mind.
Identify all items you might want to donate for charitable purposes. What you might consider tired, maybe a treasure to someone less fortunate.
Identify all the items you wish to sell, knowing that most stuff has little resale value in the second-hand market. If you have fine art, rare or collectible items, it is wisest to hire a professional appraiser.
When my team takes on a project to get a home emptied and ready for sale (usually when a client or family is out of state), we separate the stuff into 4 categories:
- Send to owners
This is then boxed and dispatched.
Many clients have found it easier to have us do this rather than themselves due to the emotion and length of time they would spend on each item they handle.
The mere thought of decluttering is such a burden to so many!
Our sellers truly are thrilled when they have their projects done and ready for market!