I make a living walking through the homes of strangers. I could be an expert witness if Americans could be put on trial for having too much stuff. George Foreman is a very rich man because every household owns at least two of his grills.
I was recently meeting with a homeowner who was ready to downsize. They were selling their 4000 square foot home (with a full basement, full of ‘stuff’) and had begun the “keep, sell, donate, trash…” process of parting with their belongings. I noticed in the “keep” pile several boxes marked “Christmas”. I asked where they were moving. They said to a 1700 square foot condo without a basement. I asked about the large amount of ‘Christmas’ going with them and (she) admitted that she couldn’t bear to part with the décor that had framed this wonderful holiday in their home for over 30 years. And, she said, “We’re not sure what we’ll need in the condo and it would be a shame to have to buy it all again.” True. But I can very competently assure them that they won’t need, nor have room for 16 wreaths.
Downsizing means parting with a lot. In a previous blog (Tip #1: Avoid Tackling Everything at Once) I wrote about thoughtfully sorting through your home and keeping only the items that are essential, you love, or bring joy. In this blog we emphasize the first of that troika of advice: take only things that are essential. And, by extension of that definition: you only need one of most things. While each of 16 Christmas wreaths has a special memory: 15 of them are likely to take up space in a box, never seen at your new home. Pick one.
The kitchen is the sacred Temple of Too Much Stuff. How much dishware does two people (or one) need? How many serving spoons? How many mixers, griddles, pans, or toasters? Probably half of what you own would suffice. And, this is an area that local donation sites would LOVE your stuff. In Cleveland we have ministries and non-profit charities which help immigrant families or working poor get settled into homes. For a tax donation credit you can bless these families with your culinary dust-collectors (and they will get used. Every day.)
Linen closets: when you were raising kids it was necessary to have a linen closet full of sheets and towels. Do you even own the beds anymore that fit the sheets? Will those beds be going with you? Do all of those towels need to go with you? No. Pick the ones you use, love, or bring you joy and donate the rest.
Toys, Games, and Electronics: For decades you have been the Keep of all Things Kids. Now is the time to pass the “stuff” mantle on to the next generation. Most of these things you don’t use, you don’t love them, and they don’t bring you joy. You’re keeping them for the people you love and bring you joy, your adult children. Like the dinner bell call of our grandparents: “COME AND GET IT!!” (Or it will be gone…)
The Kathy Chiero Group of EXP Realty Greater Cleveland specializes in helping homeowners “downsize”. We are the creators and presenters of Central Ohio’s premier downsizing event, DownSize Cleveland. How can we help you? Click here for a complete list of “getting rid of stuff” tips and resources and a free in-home analysis of the value of your home www.GotStuff-GetHelp.com