Looking to downsize?
Chances are, you won’t regret it. Whether you’re an empty-nester or you’re simply tired of “all that house,” moving to a smaller, more manageable home can be downright liberating. In fact, there’s a boatload of evidence out there pointing to the mental and financial benefits of leading a “minimalist” lifestyle.
Decluttering will not only take a weight off of your already-burdened shoulders, but it will also keep your future home clean and organized. Before that moving company comes knocking at your door, though, you’ll need to figure out exactly what to do with your unnecessary things! Here are a few expert suggestions on how to effectively purge your old house before moving.
Unless you’re able to earn top-dollar for your things, I strongly suggest donating clothing, toys and home good items to a donation site near you. These donation sites, such as Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill and The Salvation Army, can easily be found in most communities throughout the country. If you’re planning to donate clunkier, heavier pieces of furniture, keep in mind that these donation sites can pick up your items for you, free-of-charge. Keep in mind, though, most donated goods still need to be in acceptable shape.
Tip: donation sites normally won’t accept the following items: upholstered items with rips, stains, tears, and/or pet odors; hazardous materials and dangerous chemicals; unframed mirrors or glass; storm windows or single pane windows; metal blinds; corner tubs; cultured marble tubs; stained rugs; broken flooring; and lighting that doesn’t work.
In addition to furniture, clothing and toys, you may also consider donating unnecessary pantry items to a local food bank. After all, how much canned corn does one really need? If you don’t feel like dropping the food items off yourself, you can hire one of Move for Hunger’s moving company partners. Move for Hunger is an organization that works with real estate and moving professionals nationwide to pick up unwanted food items from those who are moving, and deliver them to local food banks.
2. Sell in an online marketplace
Think your things are in good enough shape to sell? Lucky for you, there’s no shortage of online marketplaces to help sell these items as quickly as possible. I recommend considering Craigslist, Amazon, Nextdoor.com, eBay, and a local Facebook “Buy and Sell” group to list and sell your gently-used furniture, clothing, and electronics. While selling your items takes effort, the extra cash you’ll earn can make it well-worth your time.
3. Use haul-away programs and scrap metal dealers
Looking to get rid of those out-of-date electronics and heavier appliances? Keep in mind that if these items don’t meet today’s safety standards, the chances of them being accepted by a donation site are slim to none. Thankfully, if you’re planning to purchase a more appropriate replacement for the smaller home, big box stores, such as Sears, Costco, Lowe’s, Best Buy and Home Depot, will haul away your old item for a small fee.
To responsibly dispose of metal items and appliances, such as dishwashers, aluminum cans, pots and pans, stove tops, silverware, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and more, I recommend researching scrap metal dealers in your area. These dealers will pay cash for your household items and recycle them responsibly.
4. Consign items
No time to sell the items yourself? Good news: you can have a local consignment store do it for you. These second-hand shops sell gently-used clothing, furniture and home goods out of their brick-and-mortar stores. Assuming the item sells, you’ll receive a portion of the profit. Keep in mind, though, that each consignment store comes with its own terms and policies regarding payment and process, so make sure to check for specifics before consigning your items.
5. Take advantage of trade-in programs
Many people forget that a handful of large chain-stores will actually let you “trade-in” your purchase in exchange for store credit or a store gift card. Retailers with this policy include Target, Walmart, GameStop, Best Buy, and Amazon – among others. Just an FYI, such trade-in programs typically focus on electronics and wearable tech products. To be eligible for the majority of store trade-in programs, items must be in acceptable condition.
Tip: Amazon actually makes it easy for you by listing the items you’ve purchased on their site, and letting you know if these items are eligible for trade-in.
6. Garage sale or yard sale
There are a few advantages to hosting a garage sale or a yard sale. Not only will you be able to set and negotiate prices yourself, but you’ll also be able to see who takes your belonging home with them. If you’re in a hurry to move, hosting a garage sale will also take those items off of your hands in exchange for fast cash. To host a successful garage sale or yard sale, I recommend:
- Advertising your sale via neighborhood flyers, listservs, social media groups and yard signs.
- Setting realistic prices. No one is coming to a garage sale to spend big bucks on your used items. If you’re looking to earn more money on a more valuable item, I suggest referring back to tip number two.
- Make sure to have plenty of change and small bills available.
- Organize your sale to ensure that it is visually appealing and easy to navigate.
7. Rent a self-storage unit
Whether the item has sentimental value or you plan to reuse it later, it won’t be easy to part with all of your unnecessary belongings. If this is the case for you, investigate storing it in a local self-storage unit. You can search for nearby storage units, here. These units are a safe, secure and (often times) climate controlled way of storing your precious items. They are also a great alternative to throwing away all of your stuff.
Follow these seven tips for eliminating your clutter in your old home, and you’ll be well on your way to successfully downsizing into your new one.