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7 Downsizing Tips for Seniors Looking to Sell

Downsizing is no easy feat for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for seniors. You’ve collected a lot of items and memories over the years, and the emotional attachment makes it hard to let go. But if you’re ready to simplify your life, here are a few downsizing tips that might help.
Downsizing is no easy feat for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for seniors. You’ve collected a lot of items and memories over the years, and the emotional attachment makes it hard to let go. But if you’re ready to simplify your life, here are a few downsizing tips that might help.

When you reach your senior years, you have a lifetime of things and memories inside your home. Perhaps you’re still living in the very first home you purchased in your 20s or maybe it’s the home where you raised your family.

Many seniors choose to downsize to make their daily lives easier, but the act of downsizing is anything but simple. While you may be looking forward to having less house to clean, fewer stairs to climb, and lower home-related bills, you might not be ready to let go of your belongings.

These seven downsizing tips for seniors can make the process a little easier so you can start enjoying the next chapter in your life without remorse.

1. Start Downsizing Early

With decades of clothing, dishes, furniture, keepsakes, and miscellaneous items to go through, don’t be surprised if downsizing your belongings takes you weeks or months. Allow yourself plenty of time to go through everything and give each item the attention it deserves. You don’t want to make a quick decision about something and end up regretting it.

Some experts recommend taking it one room at a time. This helps you break up the process and prevent you from getting overwhelmed.

2. Eliminate Entire Rooms

If you’re planning on moving into a smaller space, you likely won’t be able to take everything with you. Ideally, you’ll have an idea on how large your new space will be so you can know how much you need to get rid of.

Make it a goal to eliminate entire rooms, if possible. For example, if you’re still living in the four-bedroom home where you raised your kids, try to drop to two bedrooms’ worth of furniture.

3. Get Rid of Duplicate Items

When you can’t find something, it’s common to go out and buy a new one. At some point, the original might resurface and now you’ve got two. This happens a lot in the kitchen: two casserole dishes, two ladles, two blenders. If you have more of an item than you need, get rid of one. Set it aside for a yard sale, give it to a family member, or donate it.

4. Hand Out Legacy Gifts Early

Maybe you intend to give that grandfather clock in the hallway to your daughter one day. Or maybe you were saving that antique toy chest for your grandkids. Why not go ahead and hand off these items so your heirs can start enjoying them?

This helps you get the items out of the way without feeling like you’re losing them for good. You can also ask your children (or grandchildren) if there’s anything they’d like that you don’t already know about.

5. Be Prepared for the Emotional Toll

Parting with things you’ve had for years can be an emotional experience you might not be prepared for. As you’re cleaning out closets and reconnecting with long-lost memories, take time to savor them.

Nostalgia will take over at times, and that’s okay. But don’t let it distract too much from your overall goal. If you’re in a time crunch, you may not have time to go through everything before you’re forced to take it all with you (and that defeats the purpose of downsizing!).

6. Enlist the Help of Loved Ones

Don’t hesitate to ask your family or friends to help you go through closets, haul off old furniture, or even take a few things off your hands to lighten the load. Going through an entire home’s worth of stuff is a major undertaking, and getting a little help can help you finish the job faster.

7. Start Looking for a Smaller Home

If you haven’t found a home before you start downsizing, it’s a good idea to start looking sooner rather than later. Having an idea about what your new space will look like can help you make good decisions on what to keep or toss.

How Clever Can Help

Downsizing your home comes with a multitude of benefits. Your energy bill decreases. Your home maintenance costs are lower. You can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your retirement. If you’re considering the next chapter in your life, Clever can help you explore your options.

Clever Partner Agents are top-rated, experienced real estate agents in their local markets and are skilled in unique situations like downsizing. You get all the same service and expertise as a traditional real estate agent, but pay a flat-rate commission of $3,000 or 1% on homes over $350,000 instead of the traditional 3% listing commission, helping you keep more of your profit in your pocket.

Reach out to Clever today and connect with a top-rated Partner Agent that can help you navigate the process of downsizing for an optimal outcome.

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Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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