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Tuesday September 21, 2021

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How to Downsize Your Home for a Move

What tips can you offer for downsizing? My husband and I would like to relocate from our house into a retirement community condo near our daughter, but need to get rid of a lot of personal possessions before we can move.

The process of weeding through a house full of stuff and parting with old possessions is difficult and overwhelming for most people. A good place to start is to see if your kids, grandkids or other family members would like any of your unused possessions. Here are a few tips and services that may help you downsize.

Sell It


Selling unneeded items is one way to downsize and pad your pocketbook at the same time. Your options may include selling your items through consignment shops, garage sales, estate sales or online marketplaces.

Consignment shops are good for selling old clothing, household furnishings and decorative items. The shop will typically receive 30% to 40% of the purchase price. A good old-fashion garage sale is another option. For large-scale downsizing you may want to consider hiring an estate sale company to come in and sell your items. Some estate sale companies will even pick up your stuff and sell it at their own location – they typically take about 35% of the profits as a fee.

Selling online is also a great option and opens you up to a wider audience. Many online marketplaces and platforms offer great options for selling locally, which can eliminate the costs and hassle of packing and shipping. These websites and apps do not take a cut of your sales, but you are responsible for connecting with your buyer and making the exchange of money and goods.

Donate It


If you itemize on your tax returns, donating your belongings to charitable organizations is another way to downsize and receive a tax deduction. Some of these charitable organizations may offer services to pick up the items you wish to donate.

If your charitable deductions exceed $500, you will need to file Form 8283, "Noncash Charitable Contributions" (IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8283.pdf). You will also need a receipt from the organization for every batch of items you donate and will need to create an itemized list of the items donated. For more information about charitable contributions, check out IRS Publication 526.

Toss It


If you have a lot of junk you want to get rid of, contact your municipal trash service to see if they provide bulk curbside pickup services. Depending on where you live, you may be able to hire a private company to come in and haul it off for a moderate fee.

Get Help


If you want or need some help with the moving process, consider hiring a senior move manager. These are professional organizers who help older adults and their families with the daunting process of downsizing and moving to a new residence. To locate one in your area, visit the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers at NASMM.org or call 877-606-2766.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published June 25, 2021
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