Downsizing Tips for Homebuyers: Getting Rid of Excess Stuff

If you’re feeling like you have too much space, downsizing may already be on your priority list. Getting rid of unnecessary items will help make your experience in your new home more enjoyable and will also reduce stress during the move.

Start Early

Downsizing can take a lot of time and can have many stages. On top of this, you will have all of the regular duties associated with buying and selling a home. Starting early will prevent the task from becoming overwhelming and will help you make smart decisions as you go. Get started with the downsizing process a few months in advance of looking for a new home.

Have a Garage Sale

Garage sales are very helpful because they generate money that can come in handy for moving and other home-buying related expenses. Start your garage sale early in the downsizing process so you’ll have time to sell items in your closets and garage. Waiting until you’ve put an offer on a house or until you’ve already purged many of your items will mean that you’ll have less things to sell and less time to devote to selling.

Sell it Online

What you don’t sell in the garage sale can be sold online. Take pictures and put up listings on local websites like craigslist. Many people find that selling things online is only worthwhile for bigger, valuable items like bicycles, furniture, televisions and so on. Selling items on the Internet can take a fair amount of work and time, so you’ll want to be sure that the items you list will pay off.

Give to Charity

Charities often accept donations like cleaning products, paint, holiday decorations, sheets, blankets, appliances and much more. Contact schools, churches, community theaters and other non-profit organizations in your area that are likely to be interested. Old books, games and clothes can usually be given to discount stores, so call around your area to find out which organizations will accept your donations.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Many things people try to throw away can (and should) be recycled instead. Old paint, for example, should not be thrown away because many communities consider old paint to be a hazardous substance. As an alternative, many communities have established recycle centers or stores that accept old paint or electronics. If you’re not sure what items in your home can be recycled, call your local sanitation department.

Buy Space Efficient Furniture and Storage

If you’ve gotten rid of your old furniture, you may find yourself needing to buy new furniture to fill the space of your new home. Look for space efficient furniture that serves multiple purposes. Once you’ve put down an offer on a home, ask to measure the dimensions of the home to get a sense of what will and won’t fit on your new property.

You may want to hold off on buying certain large items until after closing, however, just in case the deal should fall through at the last minute.

Get a Dumpster (and Know What to Put In It)

Once you’ve given away, sold and recycled everything you can, you may still be left with a lot of junk. Getting a dumpster close to the day of the move will give you a place to dump that which can’t be brought to your new home. Keep in mind, many dumpster companies have rules about what can and can’t be put into their dumpsters. If you’re not sure what’s acceptable, consult with your dumpster company to find out more.

Systematically getting rid of unneeded items and clutter can reduce stress during the downsizing process and as you pack to move, so if you’re thinking about buying a home in the next few months, get started right away. For more ideas and tips, ask your real estate agent! Their experience with buyers and sellers can be extremely helpful for those looking to have a successful transition to a new home.

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