Downsizing Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

When homeowners think about retirement, moving to a smaller and manageable home is something to consider.

However, packing a lifetime of memories and belongings that you’re emotionally tied to can be a daunting task, physically, mentally, and financially.

Downsizing doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. Seeking assistance through professionals can make your transition a lot smoother but, searching on the internet can’t guarantee that the service provider is reputable.

If you want to do it on your own, you’re in the right place. Here are five steps that can help you in the process of downsizing your home.

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Before anything,
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare.

The process of downsizing can be is overwhelming. If you have heavy items to sift through, hire some professionals to help you with the physical work.

To have a successful downsizing process, write down what you would like to accomplish with this downsizing experience. There are several reasons why people like you decide to downsize. The reasons can be lumped into two categories; reduce the square footage of your current house or lessen your homeowner’s responsibilities.

Once you’re confident in your reason for downsizing, Start the process of making a list.

Don’t worry if you haven’t made a list before. This next section will walk you through the process.

Create a List

The first thing you’ll have to do is organize and categorize your personal belongings. Creating a list can take the edge off the process of deciding what items should stay or hit the road.

You’ll want to make three list;

1) I can’t live without this ….
2) I want to keep but it might have to go …
3) It’s time to say goodbye to …

Our clients in the past have said that this process is the most challenging part of the downsizing process. It feels like you’re saying goodbye to memories and a life you use to know.

Making the list always take more time than you anticipate.

The items you believe you can’t live without and have emotional connections with may be unnecessary to keep. Using the categories above will help you determine if the item is really worth keeping.

From there you’ll make a second list of items to keep, donate, and sell. Consider selling it if you think the item has value, you’ll be happy to have the extra pocket money. However, if the items don’t sell, donating it may be an excellent idea.

You have to be practical and logical for this process to be successful.

Involve Your Children

It is one of the most essential but at the same time most ignored steps. Find out now if your children have any interest in any particular items. More and more we are finding that homeowners adult children are not interested in taking their parents belongings but nothing will hurt your children more than if you don’t ask.

You don’t want to have an emotional issue with your kids because you discard belongings that mean so much for them.

Consider inviting your children to sort out things and find out what they actually want to keep.


When downsizing, you’ll need to consider the size of your belongings compared to that of your new home. After all, downsizing means moving to a smaller space which means less space for clutter and large furniture.

Luckily, the large furniture can be sorted quickly. But you’ll need to determine what you’ll do with it. If you don’t sell it and can’t take it with you-you’ll need to plan beforehand how and where it will be donated. Many non-profits have strict guidelines about how and when they take large furniture donations.

However, it can be tough to deal with all the small items you own. Think about the most utilized items first, such as kitchen utensils, pictures, books, and more.

Now think about those smaller infrequently used items. What will you do with those?


Downsizing doesn’t have to be stressful and emotionally draining. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that downsizing can be done gradually. By taking it one step at a time starting early, and planning properly you will greatly reduce the stress that is usually associated with downsizing.

Are you thinking about buying a home soon? Check out our Steps to Buying a Home Guide. Feel free to give me a call at 703-539-2053 or email [email protected] to schedule a private showing of this or any other property.

Thinking of selling your home?  Check out our 20+ step Guide to Selling Your House. Or you can contact me now to start the process immediately.  Same day appointments are available on a case by case basis. I look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

The above article was written by Abraham Walker, Your Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent, helping clients market their homes to achieve high sales with a quick closing time is my main priority.  He’s the co-founder of Ask A Walker and can be found on YouTube, Facebook, and HERE on this blog.

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