Mega Downsize....

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Silver Bullet
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:18 am

Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:52 pm

DW and I have decided (along with our high school daughter) that's it's time for a major "downsize/declutter" mission. We've honestly been pack rats and gatherers for the past 20 years and it has to stop - NOW! :D

This is not going to be an easy accomplishment. It's not so much that the things we've collected are sentimental, it's that there's so much of it. A sampling below:

House - Very large 4 bedroom - designed and filled to entertain 100+. 4 acres, 5 + car garage, all the toys, tools and "stuff" that you can imagine. Garages are full. Garden equipment, bikes, fishing stuff, generators, tools, etc.

In the house - Furniture, electronics, clothes (while I admittedly collect a LOT of stuff, I'm actually pretty minimalistic when it comes to clothes), kitchen supplies, everyday china, fine china (same with silverware), serving platters for a battalion, bar set-up and wine/high ball glasses for same army. Guns, knives and flashlights (If one should only own a couple of each, I'm definitely not that person!), jewelry (that's small and sacred to the DW, so let's not go there, but holy cow!), books by the hundreds - maybe a thousand. Need to know how to buy, build, fix or do anything - odds are I have the book.

Oh, and then there's the two "storage" units that are full of more stuff. It's been so long, I can't remember what's in there!

The list goes on and on. Honestly, the point of all of this is that it makes me tired just seeing it all go unused/wasted. Between work and daughter's after school activities, there aren't enough hours in the day to even think about getting rid of it - but it's all got to go. I'd say 25% of it can be donated, while the other 75% has enough value to resell, but time is money (at least for the next 2 years until I finally retire).

I'd love to hear thoughts from those that have experienced this. It's a daunting undertaking.

What's next? Sell the house. We've started to look at town houses. Of course, that also means down sizing to smaller cars. My truck won't fit in the town house garage and if we don't park the cars in the garage, it'll be a new collection spot. Still not small, maybe 3,000sf, but way less than 1/2 the size we're in now. We're actually very excited about getting this accomplished. No exterior maintenance, no yard work, ability to lock the doors and travel. Having a lot less "Stuff".....

I've read about 20 - 30 threads on BH about downsizing. Not interested in how to digitize photo albums, which seems to be a hot topic. More interested in how'd you find the time to accomplish this feat? Hire someone to help? Hire someone to sell, move, donate the piles that you established? (A yard/estate sale is out of the question as I won't let strangers in my house - but maybe there's the option of saving this stuff until we move out - then have a sale?).

Thoughts? Thanks!

3-20Characters
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by 3-20Characters » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:03 pm

1. Buy new place (smaller)
2. Move (taking only items you want/need)
3. Estate sale and sell house
4. Deposit check from house sale into portfolio

Lexi
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Lexi » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:03 pm

Take a good look at what you think can be sold. Try checking eBay for actual sales of similar items and note the price. To me the amount you can get for a lot of stuff is not worth the time and effort it takes to make the final sale.

On the other hand, giving stuff away can be very easy through websites, social media, or physical means.

Donating is worth checking out carefully, too, for the possible organizations and what they will take. They can be quite picky.

Finally, a lot of stuff should probably go in the trash.

German Expat
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by German Expat » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:05 pm

We were not on your level but moved to Europe to a smaller place from a 5300 sqft house in the US. We had only limited time and I do not like to deal with selling stuff. So what we did was

- asked some friends and if they were interested they had to pick up the stuff themselves (only larger stuff like furniture), gave it away for free to them
- sold a car (Carmax)
- brought some stuff to friends I knew could use it like lawn mower etc. (also bullets, gun I sold to Cabelas, only item I actually sold)
- donated all stuff that could be donated
- for the rest got a trash service (I think it was Got Junk or a similar one) and paid them

There was enough work involved moving and wanted to minimize the headaches. Sure, I could have gotten some money but was barely able to get all the things above accomplished.

The only think that did not work out as well was asking friends what they wanted. This ended up much more complicated because of people not showing up or having to remind them.

We still did move too much stuff (but hey, only 1 unopened box left after more then 4 years :happy ). I have no qualms throwing stuff out though, I trashed all my CD's (had digitized them a long time ago) and threw 95% of all books away (and regret having taken 5% along). My wife is a bit different though and had to trash some stuff without her seeing or knowing.

It was a lot of work though, couple weekends and 3 solid long days before the movers came.

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:11 pm

I loved the "friends" idea, but was thinking that my friends would never show up....
Sounds like we have the same friends. Of course, they'd be happy to come help get rid of some my finer bourbons and scotches!

Texanbybirth
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:12 pm

If finances aren't an issue, I'd suggest just selling everything (house, acreage, storage units, etc.) "as is", meaning if people want to clean it up/sell it/donate it, that's their job, and then start over. I'm sure you could hire some neighbor kids in high school to load up stuff to take to donation/landfill on the weekend. The hardest part for you is going to be "letting go" of your stuff. You're motivated now, but wait till you actually start doing it. It's more than just "I read this blog post/internet forum thread/book about this, so now I'm cured."

(When I die and they've had their crack at my stuff, I've always hoped that my relatives would simply sell tickets at the door for $5 entry with an office paper box (or similar) and take all you can fit. $5 return trips, too. We have very little "stuff", and don't suffer from this problem, so I'm an outsider.)

Caduceus
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Caduceus » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:13 pm

I am at the tail end of the process and here's some advice.

Discarding is the key. Don't just move things from one drawer to another. You need to move things OUT of the house.

Sort by category and be very ruthless. I would start with clothes first because for most people, there aren't any sentimental attachments to clothes. Take everything out and dump it on the living room floor, then only keep the ones you really like. I discarded about 60% of my clothes. If it's something you haven't worn in a few years, just toss it or donate.

If you try to sell everything, it will take forever. That was my mistake. I hated seeing wasted money. But you should establish a cut off point. For me, in retrospect, it would be something like $30-$50 depending on how easily it could sell on EBay or Amazon or Craigslist. If you have an air purifier you bought for $200, list it for $50 on Craigslist and sell it that day. If you have a used textbook that could sell for $15, just forget about it. Yes it will add up to thousands of dollars! But No, you should not make selling your items into a full time job. Don't make my mistake. If you can sell in bulk, do it. I sold my entire coin collection at one go. You can sell 500 books for $0.50 each on Craigslist instead of listing them one by one on Ebay. Don't try to get the best price. Discount aggressively so it sells fast.

Have a vision of what you want your living space to look like when you are done. It really helps clarifies what things you want to keep. I mean, I had this antique object I bought on my travels when my dream space looks nothing like something that would accommodate it. When I realized that, I gave it to a friend.

Keep a spreadsheet of stuff as you're going through the process. You'll get annoyed and want to whittle it down. Be ambitious. Dream big. Move cartloads of nonsense out of your living space. And don't fill it with more.

learningLady
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by learningLady » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:17 pm

Letgo, facebook marketplace and ebay are very good and easy options. Start taking pictures and just post there will 1-2 word descriptions. If you do not have limits - start with big items.
Donation is a good option too.

Read few articles on minimalist approach and stay motivated to declutter.

Caduceus
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Caduceus » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:21 pm

I forgot to add. Some questions that were really helpful for me in this process were:

Keep asking yourself if you would buy the same item again today if it was offered to you. I was quite surprised at how many items I had in my house that I thought I wanted that the answer was a huge NO! And yes, you will end tossing some things you bought but never even used. It's OK. Deal with it and move on.

Ask yourself if it's replaceable. If it's a book or clothing item you can get tomorrow, there's no reason to get attached to it "just in case you need it".

Take pictures of sentimental things and it helps loosen the attachment. I mean, you don't have to throw away your childhood diary or anything like that. But I must have had a hundred knickknacks from my childhood that made me smile to look at. I kept a couple of pieces, took pictures of the rest, and then sent them on their way.

The one thing you should keep originals of are old photos and things to do with your family history, I would say. I was so sad when I found out elderly relatives had thrown away centuries-old photos of my ancestors.

And this is going to sound odd and may not apply to you. But some things I had trouble tossing and I took Marie Kondo's advice. Like the plush animal my first boyfriend gave me. You guys are going to think I am weird but I ended up talking to the toy, saying I was grateful for the joy he brought me, explaining that it was time for him to bring joy to some other person's life, and then I brought him to a community space, put a bow on him, with a note that explained that anyone who really liked him and would care for him could take it. I drove by the next day and it was gone. It was really weird doing that. But it worked. Items have histories and it's not so much that you think the toy is alive, but it's your way of acknowledging and saying goodbye to a part of your life.

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ray.james
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by ray.james » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:25 pm

The biggest thing is making up mind on what to - let go. Once your mind is firm you will find a way from craiglist, friends, selling, garage sale etc., etc.,

A few rules of thumb I used-
1) Everyday/commonly used item - did I use in the last 6 months - else goes
2) clothes - did I use in the last year - else goes. Tuxedo may be an exception that too 1-2 of them.
3) toys/hobbies - max of 1 or 2 sentiment items per hobby that is very well cherished/kids related etc., rest goes
4) Hobbies/toys not used now or will not in retirement -Physical demands etc, - goes
5) home decor - maximum of one item per wall/one thing on floor per wall
6) kitchen/bathrooms - items not used in an year - goes.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

bloom2708
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:33 pm

My wife's parents are in the process of moving/downsizing.

They are doing an online auction for a bunch of their belongings. You hire an auction company and they take photos, describe the items and then list them in an online auction.

It is between having an in-person estate sale and doing it yourself (garage sale). They take a cut of the sales proceeds. But, it gets you much more hands off.

Getting the full retail value out of a bunch of items is real work. It can be done, but takes time and effort. Something that people may not want to give enough of, especially when dealing with other aspects of the move.

With a bit of practice, anyone can become a whiz at selling on Craigslist or LetGo. Snap photos, create the add, describe, upload photos, list. When sold, delete the ad.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

i<3Investing
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by i<3Investing » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:34 pm

I read Marie Kondo's book, "the life changing magic of tidying up". It was a great motivator.

As far as throwing things out. Take a room a week and go through it. I wouldn't trust someone else to throw out your things.

Dottie57
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:44 pm

I go through a purge every year, more likely every 6 months with change of season. I donate everything I did not use in the past season. Sonwinter clothes leave in thw spring. ( backwards but I let go more easily).

Books get purged as I don’t want more bookshelves. Right now am debating stereo system and an old vcr system. Kitchen stuff needs. purging too.

cherijoh
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by cherijoh » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:06 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:13 pm
I am at the tail end of the process and here's some advice.

Discarding is the key. Don't just move things from one drawer to another. You need to move things OUT of the house.

Sort by category and be very ruthless. I would start with clothes first because for most people, there aren't any sentimental attachments to clothes. Take everything out and dump it on the living room floor, then only keep the ones you really like. I discarded about 60% of my clothes. If it's something you haven't worn in a few years, just toss it or donate.

If you try to sell everything, it will take forever. That was my mistake. I hated seeing wasted money. But you should establish a cut off point. For me, in retrospect, it would be something like $30-$50 depending on how easily it could sell on EBay or Amazon or Craigslist. If you have an air purifier you bought for $200, list it for $50 on Craigslist and sell it that day. If you have a used textbook that could sell for $15, just forget about it. Yes it will add up to thousands of dollars! But No, you should not make selling your items into a full time job. Don't make my mistake. If you can sell in bulk, do it. I sold my entire coin collection at one go. You can sell 500 books for $0.50 each on Craigslist instead of listing them one by one on Ebay. Don't try to get the best price. Discount aggressively so it sells fast.

Have a vision of what you want your living space to look like when you are done. It really helps clarifies what things you want to keep. I mean, I had this antique object I bought on my travels when my dream space looks nothing like something that would accommodate it. When I realized that, I gave it to a friend.

Keep a spreadsheet of stuff as you're going through the process. You'll get annoyed and want to whittle it down. Be ambitious. Dream big. Move cartloads of nonsense out of your living space. And don't fill it with more.
I'm definitely a packrat too, here are some things that have worked for me.

For books, I usually take a bag to the used book store (which issues credits) and anything they won't take I donate to the library for their book sale. If you have a bunch of books by the same author or a dozen paperbacks under the same theme (e.g., English "cosy" mysteries) then it might be worthwhile setting up a sale on eBay.

For clothing, I donate it to a local thrift store that uses the proceeds to help people in need in the community. Work related women's clothing goes to Dress for Success to help women trying to reenter the workplace.

For household items consider Habitat Restore or a local non-profit that helps to resettle homeless people into apartments. Or donate stuff through Freecycle - sometimes I have held onto stuff I don't need because I felt guilty throwing it in a landfill.

JBTX
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by JBTX » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:14 pm

Remodeled a while back, and got rid of a lot of stuff. In spite of that we still have too much. I had time between jobs, so that helped.

Much stuff was thrown away. Luckily our garbage service will take just about any bulk items. Also numerous trips to goodwill. I'm sure we passed on some junk that was of low value, but I figured I'd let them figure it out. I used one of the habitat groups for appliances, but I had to schedule it way in advance, and they did not put a freezer on the list I had told them about, and they will only take what is on the list, and I had to schedule weeks in advance.

Maybe just take one room at a time, whenever you can find time. From what I have seen garage sales are a waste of time - the amount you get isn't worth the time you put into it.

BeneIRA
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by BeneIRA » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:30 pm

When in doubt, throw it out. It has served me well. Only a small handful of times over the years have I tossed something out and regretted it and I couldn't even tell you what those are now, so they must not have been important. Move to a smaller space. Ask yourself if you "need" an item. If it's one of those "if aliens invade the earth, it's before Labor Day and a Tuesday, then this will be useful" items, then toss it.

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climber2020
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by climber2020 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:33 pm

Silver Bullet wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:52 pm
More interested in how'd you find the time to accomplish this feat? Hire someone to help?
It's a slow, gradual process that took several years (and is still ongoing to a lesser degree). I not only downsized my stuff, but also downsized my time commitments by figuring out what activities were worthy of my time and getting rid of everything else. I have all kinds of free time now, and it's glorious.

longleaf
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by longleaf » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:50 pm

Maybe this does not work for you, but I would strongly consider doing this when you retire. That way you have an activity coming out of your job that you can focus your energy toward. Maybe stop the accumulation right now and begin a minor release of possessions as you approach retirement age.
Frugality, indexing, time.

Caduceus
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Caduceus » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:51 pm

climber2020 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:33 pm
Silver Bullet wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:52 pm
More interested in how'd you find the time to accomplish this feat? Hire someone to help?
It's a slow, gradual process that took several years (and is still ongoing to a lesser degree). I not only downsized my stuff, but also downsized my time commitments by figuring out what activities were worthy of my time and getting rid of everything else. I have all kinds of free time now, and it's glorious.
The sad thing is, I spent so much money on carting useless stuff from place to place. Would have saved thousands of dollars if I had had the sense to just toss out meaningless stuff early on. Books especially were a stupid thing to move. You can get used copies on Amazon for less than $5. So what's the point of keeping/shipping books. :oops:

Would you rather have a car or 1.5 years of your life back? Would you rather live in a huge house or a smaller one and get 5 years of your life back? I mean, in every case that I can think of, I care more about my time, since we are all dying every day.

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:52 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:51 pm
climber2020 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:33 pm
Silver Bullet wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:52 pm
More interested in how'd you find the time to accomplish this feat? Hire someone to help?
It's a slow, gradual process that took several years (and is still ongoing to a lesser degree). I not only downsized my stuff, but also downsized my time commitments by figuring out what activities were worthy of my time and getting rid of everything else. I have all kinds of free time now, and it's glorious.
The sad thing is, I spent so much money on carting useless stuff from place to place. Would have saved thousands of dollars if I had had the sense to just toss out meaningless stuff early on. Books especially were a stupid thing to move. You can get used copies on Amazon for less than $5. So what's the point of keeping/shipping books. :oops:

Would you rather have a car or 1.5 years of your life back? Would you rather live in a huge house or a smaller one and get 5 years of your life back? I mean, in every case that I can think of, I care more about my time, since we are all dying every day.
That kinda hit the nail on the head! Thank you.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:54 pm

FIL was a hoarder, sounds similar. Craiglist over several years raised close to $20,000. Meet at safe zone, usually police dept. If in a rush, hire auction company.

Having all that atuff, plus 2 storage units, suggests you might need professional help to not restart.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:57 pm

3-20Characters wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:03 pm
1. Buy new place (smaller)
2. Move (taking only items you want/need)
3. Estate sale and sell house
4. Deposit check from house sale into portfolio
I like this plan a LOT! I’ll add # 5
5. Retire and go fishing. 😄

annebert
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by annebert » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:15 pm

Well before you list your house, you really should get rid of stuff. I suggest that it might be very helpful for you to work on that rather than just walking away and hiring an auction service, as it might help you make changes in the way you look at "stuff" that will be helpful in the future.

Hulu
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Hulu » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:22 pm

Starting from the easiest/non-emotional category I'd collect all of said category in one area. For me, paperwork is not emotional so I worked from there all the way to pictures. Then ruthlessly keep only what you MUST have. Put the rest in the discard pile and based on your economics go from there.

Caduceus
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Caduceus » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:51 pm

Personally I would not start with paperwork because that's probably the most time-consuming, annoying category and one that's not gratifying. It might take you a few hours just to go through one box of papers and all you've decided on is one lousy box.

Things that will help you see yourself making progress are items like clothes, books, furniture (excess chairs, old pillows). You will get a fun adrenaline rush from cleaning up your space.

After that I would progress to papers, and finally sentimental items, which are the hardest. I didn't have any problems tossing clothes and papers. Sentimental stuff was impossible to discard.

Dottie57
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:58 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:51 pm
Personally I would not start with paperwork because that's probably the most time-consuming, annoying category and one that's not gratifying. It might take you a few hours just to go through one box of papers and all you've decided on is one lousy box.

Things that will help you see yourself making progress are items like clothes, books, furniture (excess chairs, old pillows). You will get a fun adrenaline rush from cleaning up your space.

After that I would progress to papers, and finally sentimental items, which are the hardest. I didn't have any problems tossing clothes and papers. Sentimental stuff was impossible to discard.
Papers are awful and frustrating. I’ve gone thru several purges and am now in another. I agree with Caduceus.

Clean out big stuff first - clothes, electronics, kitchen,toys, computers, yard tools etc. i don’t think doing categories works as well as clearing out a specific area (closet, chest, corner) etc.

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:01 pm

I’m pretty good with paperwork as I’ve had my own business for almost 30 years. I’ll start with the garages first. That’ll make the DW very happy and also give us room in the detached garage to stage stuff that’s going to be eliminated. Anyone want a pool table and baby grand?! 🙄

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Nicolas
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Nicolas » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:06 pm

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Last edited by Nicolas on Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

abonder
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by abonder » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:06 pm

Lots of good advice here. My view is that you should view impending move/simplification as an opportunity to clear out the waste. I’d say start right away and just chip away at it. Even 15 minutes per day is really useful. There’s a few things to keep in mind.

One, the act of decluttering will make it much easier to show/sell your home when it comes time. No matter how nice your home is, nobody wants to see it stuffed to the gills as it’s hard for them to appreciate the house itself and imagine it suited to their own needs.

Two, if you just buy a new house and abandon all your stuff, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to learn how to declutter/simplify and you may just fall into the same habits in you pr new abode.

Three, you need to identify “pathways”for accumulation and cut those off. It might be online shopping, yard sales, gifts from family - whatever it is, you need to identify the inroad and eliminate or limit it. You’ve got to halt the influx while you work to increase the outflow.

flyingaway
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by flyingaway » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:07 pm

We have been discussing downsizing many times recently. The process seems to be too much, lots of things need to be thrown away. In addition, my wife wants to buy a smaller house with about an half of the price of our current house (six bedrooms). I just want to move to an apartment, so that we could travel around the world in retirement.
I will certainly follow this thread.

ResearchMed
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:14 pm

Aaaccckkk! Going through this *now* (as in "another session today").
Funny timing of this thread!
First, I should say that I *hate* "organizing/decluttering". And I'm just not good at it. Never have been.

We combined households later in life when we married, and we both had "all regular household items plus personal possessions".
And DH's "dream house" was much too big (it's unique, and there's no "half-sized version", alas).
So... there was so much room, neither of us needed to toss stuff.
It was great... then.

Now, as we start thinking ahead to downsizing for retirement (and avoiding stairs, etc.)... "not so much"! :annoyed

We have a wonderful woman who started out helping with occasional housecleaning for me a few decades ago, then became a pet sitter, and now is our housesitter.
She knows the place almost as well as we do, and she's honest (or, we have never found anything missing).

Today was "Session #2" of "The Toss It Game" :shock:
(This - organizing/tossing - is probably the task I hate... detest... most. Having someone here to help is both actual physical help, but she also helps keep me focused. It would be a bit awkward to leave her and just walk away to check email, or sit and have a cup of tea and *then* check email! Plus I still need to decide "stay" or "go" for most things. I also need physical help lifting things and such, these days.)

Already, a *lot* went into the garage, and and then out for trash pickup the first time.
We've also got a growing pile of targeted donations. A vague acquaintance had a house fire that was a total loss, but no one hurt. So they can genuinely use some of the nicer-but-unneeded household items. This does make it easier to part with some "very functional but we just do NOT need it anymore" items.

I liked the description of battalion-sized supplies of some things.
And my helper is taking some things. (Okay, so HER house will be overstuffed now?)

And there are bags of donations for various charities (clothing, and household items in reasonable condition).

Trash goes in black bags, and donations are in clear, so I can keep track of "What's In THAT Bag?"

I just hate doing this, but it's SO good to see assorted storage spaces (there are many in "This Olde House"!) become increasingly empty.
And it makes DH very happy. He can be ruthless tossing his things. And then he "offers" to toss my things, and it's "Oh, I'll sort through things this weekend..." (Um, I'm retired. Why "this weekend"??" :confused )
Now, it's - finally! - more than an occasional lame attempt.

This way, whenever we do finally downsize (could be 1 year, could be 5?), much of this aggravation will be in the past.

And one good thing, we've definitely stopped "acquiring things", quite some time ago.
But that's because we want to spend on travel.
Our motives were not pure. :wink:

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

TallBoy29er
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by TallBoy29er » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:17 pm

just me, but a 10 cubic yard dumpster would do the trick.

there is value in just being rid of the stuff.

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GerryL
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by GerryL » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:25 pm

Coincidentally, I just dropped off a trunk load of stuff at Goodwill this afternoon. Then I found this thread. Maybe the conversation here will motivate me to get busy with the garage purge that I promise to do every time I go out to said garage to find something. Good news is that I did not move much of my stuff back into the house when the remodel was done. Bad news is that much of the stuff I stored in the garage is still there. Good news/bad news: I'm just about to head off on a month-long trip, so this motivation will need to chill until October.

delamer
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by delamer » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:30 pm

We used an estate sales company when we had to clean out my mother’s apartment when she moved to a nursing home.

The company’s owner looked through the apartment and identified a few large items that he would not take. Then I set aside the items that I wanted. (Some stuff, including clothing, went to a charity that did a pickup.)

Everything else was picked up by a recommended local moving company and delivered to the estate sales company’s local warehouse. They held an auction every weekend, so our goods were sold along with those of a lot of others.

We had to pay to move the goods and the estate company took a 25% cut (if memory serves).

No hassles with Craigslist, Ebay. No one coming to the apartment or meeting people at the police station. No worries about getting paid or checks bouncing. No liability.

Because of the moving cost and company’s cut, we did not get maximum dollar for everything. But the tradeoff for the relative convenience was worth it.

However, you and your family will have to decide what gets sold and what stays. You can’t avoid that part.

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Sasquatch
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Sasquatch » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:59 pm

We did a full “gut job” remodel on our downsized 1500sf ranch. Everything had to be removed from the house so we purged a bunch. Generally speaking if we had not used a item in the last year it left. Once we were done we ended up storing our entire house in a 8 x 20 shipping container. It was packed to the ceiling though.

Lots of runs to goodwill and ReStore. All the appliance, doors, cabinets, fixtures, etc went to ReStore during the remodel.

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abuss368
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by abuss368 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:15 pm

We began a decluttering, minimalistic, and simplistic life both financially and non-finacially years ago. This is a large undertaking but the journey starts with the first step.

I have learned that it is not a one time event but rather a philosophy and ongoing way of life.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

mancich
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by mancich » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:48 am

I would sell or donate whatever is practical to do so. For the rest, I'd rent one (or more) of those large roll-off dumpsters from your local trash collection company, and then be ruthless. We did this a few years ago with the basement and it was very liberating. And we haven't missed any of the "stuff" since. Good luck :beer

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abuss368
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by abuss368 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:29 am

mancich wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:48 am
I would sell or donate whatever is practical to do so. For the rest, I'd rent one (or more) of those large roll-off dumpsters from your local trash collection company, and then be ruthless. We did this a few years ago with the basement and it was very liberating. And we haven't missed any of the "stuff" since. Good luck :beer
We donated as much as possible over the years and continue to do so. The rest was trashed. Your right - we did not miss a thing!
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:57 am

Thanks everyone. We'll keep you posted.
The first step for us is to stop adding to the mountain! Easier said than done, but we're trying.
I did clean out my first book case over the last couple of nights. Felt great!

jwhitaker
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by jwhitaker » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:18 am

Here's a contrarian view. I know someone kind of like you, house full of fancy furniture and lot of just... stuff. If I had all the money he had blown on just pure nonsense, I would be retired and I'm under 40. To me, a person that ends up in your and his situation is probably impulsive. And your all of a sudden desire to get rid of everything is also impulsive. Your daughter is in high school and presumably your family is very busy. Why not just wait a few years until she is in college and you and your wife have tons of free time? You could tell daughter she is free to sell anything, and she can keep the money, then it's like a little job for her and you don't need to do anything.

If you have fine china to entertain 100+, you and or your wife must have some desire to entertain, so do you? When your daughter is gone and the house is empty, maybe you will have more time and energy to actually do it. All of the stuff you bought must be connected to some desire to do that activity. Here's the problem: you at one time bought all sorts of fishing gear; now you get sick of stuff and sell it all; in 5 or 10 years you are retired and need to fill your day, how about fishing!; then you go out and buy all that stuff new again, wasting the same amount of money. Same with snowmobiles, motorcycles, whatever, etc. It's like cars: the cheapest car is the one you already own (barring crazy leases, etc.). The depreciation on random junk and china is way worse than cars and look at how people on this forum talk about cars.

I vote you keep your stuff, keep your house, stop being so impulsive. Just stop buying new stuff. Get rid of the storage units, so your stuff is not costing you month after month.

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abuss368
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by abuss368 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:29 am

Silver Bullet wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:57 am
Thanks everyone. We'll keep you posted.
The first step for us is to stop adding to the mountain! Easier said than done, but we're trying.
I did clean out my first book case over the last couple of nights. Felt great!
That’s the key! I mentioned it is a lot more than a chore and something to get done. Rather it is a philosophy and way of life. It took me a while to get there.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

bob60014
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by bob60014 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:07 am

We did this (downsize and eliminated) as we had no need for anymore STUFF!!
Always chuckle when I hear Carlins routine. :D
http://www.thefrug.com/george-carlin-stuff/

bloom2708
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:00 am

One other possibility, don't forget the power of "Free".

Put a "Free" sign out and set items by it near the curb. Things don't last long in our neighborhood.

You see this more in the spring, but people put out "Free" items all summer.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:08 am

jwhitaker wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:18 am
Here's a contrarian view. I know someone kind of like you, house full of fancy furniture and lot of just... stuff. If I had all the money he had blown on just pure nonsense, I would be retired and I'm under 40. To me, a person that ends up in your and his situation is probably impulsive. And your all of a sudden desire to get rid of everything is also impulsive. Your daughter is in high school and presumably your family is very busy. Why not just wait a few years until she is in college and you and your wife have tons of free time? You could tell daughter she is free to sell anything, and she can keep the money, then it's like a little job for her and you don't need to do anything.

If you have fine china to entertain 100+, you and or your wife must have some desire to entertain, so do you? When your daughter is gone and the house is empty, maybe you will have more time and energy to actually do it. All of the stuff you bought must be connected to some desire to do that activity. Here's the problem: you at one time bought all sorts of fishing gear; now you get sick of stuff and sell it all; in 5 or 10 years you are retired and need to fill your day, how about fishing!; then you go out and buy all that stuff new again, wasting the same amount of money. Same with snowmobiles, motorcycles, whatever, etc. It's like cars: the cheapest car is the one you already own (barring crazy leases, etc.). The depreciation on random junk and china is way worse than cars and look at how people on this forum talk about cars.

I vote you keep your stuff, keep your house, stop being so impulsive. Just stop buying new stuff. Get rid of the storage units, so your stuff is not costing you month after month.
Most of what you mention above is true. You're also accurate in that we're both impulsive people, which is one of the reasons it's good to act on this now. Life is short and the clock definitely spins faster as we get older. While I'd like to think I'll have more time in a few years to mess with this project, I know we'll both want to do something new/impulsive (travel mainly). And heaven forbid either of us becomes ill or dies in the next few years, I'd hate to pass this project along to my children (2 are adults now).

Striking while the iron is hot!

Silver Bullet
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by Silver Bullet » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:13 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:00 am
One other possibility, don't forget the power of "Free".

Put a "Free" sign out and set items by it near the curb. Things don't last long in our neighborhood.

You see this more in the spring, but people put out "Free" items all summer.
Love the idea and I'm sure a lot of what is disposed, will actually be given to close friends or friends of friends.
Can't do the curbside "Free" idea though. The HOA Police would be at my door before walked back up the driveway! :D

JackoC
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by JackoC » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:18 am

jwhitaker wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:18 am
Here's a contrarian view. ...
I vote you keep your stuff, keep your house, stop being so impulsive. Just stop buying new stuff. Get rid of the storage units, so your stuff is not costing you month after month.
I think that's advice worth considering. After a kid finishes HS is a better time for a big household upheaval than before, a reason many people downsize after that.

I agree on storage units. My brother kept a load of stuff in storage units for years *after* downsizing but eventually realized it wasn't worth it. Somebody considering downsizing and with stuff already in storage should definitely consider getting rid of the storage units (some combination of getting rid of that stuff or stuff in the house to make room for it again) as a first phase, if there's a perceived need for immediate action.

Also, some excess items can yield enough money to be worth going a little more gradually. I know some people get hung up on the theoretical monetary value of excess stuff that nobody is actually willing to pay enough for to justify a real selling effort, compared to just a mass donation or throw away. But some larger things are an exception to that.

FeesR-BullNotBullish
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:27 am

Lots of great advice here. I might have missed it but wanted to add that there are thrift stores in my area that will pick up items you leave at the curb. Just call them and schedule a date. I use this service when I have too much to fit in the car.

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dgm
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by dgm » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:06 am

I recommend Marie Kondo's

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

While there are lots of tips and tricks, I think an important part of it is getting out of the "collecting/gathering/keeping" mindset.

She has a system and method of thought that makes sense and I think can help with breaking out of the mindset based on her many years of experience as an organization consultant.

Japan is a very crowded country with high real estate prices, so it is imperative that people make efficient use of the small space they have. This author is a consultant who helps people tidy up their spaces and throw out/donate things that they don't really need. Her experience as a consultant makes her book full of good real world tips on effectively getting into the right mindset as well as how to decide what to throw away and what to keep. (and overcoming objections from clients)

capsaicinguy
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by capsaicinguy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:31 am

We have moved twice in the last 2 years, both times we spent months getting ready and paring down. It was definitely tough at times to let some things go. Once I came to terms with the fact that it was all just STUFF I was able to get really aggressive unloading it all. Once I came to realize that even if I sold something and then wanted it back later I could just go back on Craigslist and find another one for about what I sold the other one for. My first cutoff was if I hadn't used the item within the last 2 years, then it was a 1 year cutoff. I tried on all my clothes and anything I didn't love or even slightly didn't fit right got the axe. I'm really glad we went through that to take a good hard look at everything we had and just be honest with ourselves about it all. It has been a continuous process for us though, we are still finding plenty that we kept around but now have decided not to. For some encouraging reading I would recommend the website: https://www.theminimalists.com/start/

trirod
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Re: Mega Downsize....

Post by trirod » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:47 am

This is a timely thread. I am in the process of moving house and even though it's actually to a bigger place, it has less storage space, so we need to get rid of a lot of the junk we have accumulated over the last 20+ years of living here. I always liked the idea of donating to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity, in part because of the tax deduction. The deduction is not relevant any more since I will be claiming the $24,000 standard deduction, so there may be some items that I would once have donated but will now try to sell - although I imagine my tolerance for that will decrease as moving day approaches.

Luckily (or not), we are completing the move over several months so have plenty of time to work on the decluttering.

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