The Joy in Downsizing

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By Peggy Patenaude

You’ve been living in a 3500 square foot home with two or more children for several years and loving every minute of it, but now the last of the kids have packed up their bags for the dorm room, and you and your spouse find yourself living in three rooms. What’s the solution?

Perhaps it’s time to downsize, but as your children have likely learned, cramming 3500 square feet of “stuff” in 350 square feet of space is not an easy task. Fear not! There are solutions that will make downsizing from your existing home, feel less daunting.

Perhaps the best solution is to plan ahead, and pare down what you own. Ask yourself simple questions – Do I really need three toasters? Every piece of artwork ever created by small hands? The Tupperware mom passed down in 1985?

Once you have begun to sort through what you are keeping and what will move with you, you are left looking at things that either need to go to the trash or be donated. The general rule of thumb is if you haven’t used the item in six months, it needs to go. But how do you decide whether to donate or dispose?

The simple answer is to call a charity of your choice and ask if they will take the item, and, more importantly, will they come pick it up? If you are trying to donate a piano, and no one will come get it, trashing may be your best option. Before you call the charity ask yourself how used is the item? Does it have enough life left to donate? Will anyone want it? If you have a ten-year-old couch that children have drooled on, eaten on and lived on (along with the family dog), chances are no one is going to want it anyway – throw the darn thing away. On the other hand, if you have an antique chair that simply needs to be reupholstered, a local shelter may love to have it. Downsizing can be daunting, but it can also be fun ; offering new life to not only your home, but perhaps to those in need as well.

Beginning to pare down your belongings in an existing home can allow you to feel less cluttered in your current space, and more amenable to moving if, and when, the time comes.

Peggy Patenaude is a leader in real estate sales in the Andovers, an affluent suburb of Boston. She has won over 58 awards since she began her career in 2002, including top Sales agent in Massachusetts for her nationwide company. In 2010 alone, which was considered a challenging year in the real estate industry, Peggy alone, sold $18,500,000 in property. Peggy is the “go to” person when considering downsizing and has considerable experience guiding homeowners through the process of putting their home on the market to sell. With the highest integrity and an iron clad reputation, Peggy is a valuable and reliable source..

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