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Thread--downsizing and house selling
Old 11-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #1
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Thread--downsizing and house selling

This has everything to do with retiring, but doesn't seem to quite fit the other categories. Let's post what we do to get ready for THE DAY! WE've been selling books and giving away clothes for a couple of years, but are speeding it up. A stager told us what to do to the house. So far, we've removed a zillion things from our walls, moved some furniture around. Yesterday I repainted the laundry room. Next stop repaint the exercise room.
I get overwhelmed with it (going from 3000 sf to 900) but trying to peck at it daily.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:45 AM   #2
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900sf is about the size we are shooting for in a couple of years....but we will just be dropping from 1800sf. Still....lots of stuff to get rid of still.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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We went through this some years as we downsized from 3,500' to 1,500', then 2 years ago we downsized again to 1,200'.

Good luck
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:57 AM   #4
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Downsized last year from 2500 sf to 1100. It took me about 6 months, working at it almost daily. The house was in tip top shape so at least we did not have to do anything to it before putting it on the market (as a rental). But we had to get rid of a considerable amount of stuff. I did not bother selling anything - too much work for a trivial amount of money. I just gave it all away to charities. After this experience, I'm determined not to let clutter creep up on us again. So far, so good.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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We did ours in three waves. The first was a little difficult and we found ourselves moving things from one room to the other. By the third wave we were brutal. Now that we have downsized and moved, we are STILL getting rid of things we don't want.

What worked for us....we decide to paint all rooms. 21 gallons. Every time we cleared out the room to paint we never brought anything back other than those few items required for 'staging'. Nothing went up and down the stairs to the main floor or the basement. If it went down, it was going OUT!

Excess either went in the foyer to be given away or taken to the bin. And when we offered items to people it was always....you are welcome to it BUT we a have a charity coming to pick all the good stuff up in 10 days or so. SO, pick it up before then or it will be gone. That worked well both times we did it.

Also, KIJII was our friend...got paid for some items that we would have otherwise have had to pay to be taken away.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:07 AM   #6
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We plan to downsize from 2300sf to 1300-1800sf. Since we have 3 rooms we never use/don't need, it won't be a problem for us.

I am sure we'll do it, though we've been planning to for a year or more...hung up deciding whether to relocate or not. Low COL/ugly winters-mild summers/Lake Michigan/world class culture vs a little higher COL/mild winters-ugly summers/no Lake Michigan/fewer cultural attractions.

We also got rid of a lot of stuff and some furniture, it was liberating!
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:27 AM   #7
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We also had to give away a large (sizewise) dining room set. It seems that there is not a market for them any more. We checked a local higher end consignment store and they showed us lots on the floor...so many that they no longer accept them for sale.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:29 AM   #8
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We planned to move to Missouri after we retired, but we waited for a year before putting our houses on the market. During that year we donated, gave away, or threw out most of the clutter in our houses. This reminds me of what you are doing right now! We tried to get rid of everything we could buy again after the move, and kept very little, thinking we could donate the last of our furniture at the last minute and then share one small rental truck for everything else.

After this massive de-cluttering, we spent a couple of months having our houses fixed up to sell, having everything imaginable checked and repaired, and having the entire interior and exterior trim of our brick homes repainted. Painting is a lot more work than I had remembered so after one room I hired someone to paint the rest. In my case that also involved removing wallpaper from every room, and I replaced the flooring in all the bedrooms and common spaces in my house. So, by the time we put our homes on the market in late 2010 they were pretty nice.

All of this was a lot easier to do after I retired, than before, because I had more time for it. Good luck with your efforts.

After all of that, we each spent several months essentially living in a showroom with our homes on the market, open houses every weekend, and so on. We had no luck, apparently due to the market at that time, so we decided to wait at least five years and perhaps reconsider then.

All I can say is, thank goodness I had retirement in mind when I bought my present home back in 2002. It is 1600 square feet, which is a manageable size, and it already has many elderly-friendly upgrades so I am perfectly fine in it for the foreseeable future. It occurred to me this morning that I hadn't even gone into the spare bedroom in months, so I went in there just now to make sure the room was still there and intact.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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We went from 4,300 sf down to 1,700 sf. We started nine months ahead of our move and methodically went from one room to the next. The first run through yielded a huge reduction in stuff but we still had an enormous amount leftover because it can be so difficult to let go. We were also brutal on the second go round since we were moving out of the country and it would be prohibitively expensive to take it with us. $100 bills travel much more easily and cheaply than old furniture does.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #10
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We went from 4400 SF plus a guest house plus two double garages to about 2900 FS with a double garage and a storage room.

We also used stagers to get our house ready for sale and did lots of decluttering. Also while the house was on the market we put some things in storage that we did want to take with us, but didn't have to have while the house was being marketed.

We had lots and lots of books, many bookcases. We decided to invest in replacing as many books as possible with Kindle books. That did cost a couple of thousand dollars but we went from using about a dozen book cases to using two which meant we didn't need as large a house to store all the bookcases.

We've been in the downsized house now for a year and a half or so and I still have stuff I need to get rid of. There was a lot of little stuff that I didn't have time to go through before we moved so we moved it with us. Most of it doesn't take up all that much space (imagine drawers with a lot of little items) but I find that I often can't find what I'm looking for so I end up buying anyway. So I really need to go through all that, get rid of more stuff and organize better what is left.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #11
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We have been getting rid of stuff for a couple years in order to downsize. There seems to be no end in sight to the clutter. On the plus side I save a lot of money these days by buying very cautiously, because we won't have room for half the stuff we have now in the new house, so there is no point in spending money to add to it.

We have decided on the area and price range for the new house, but I don't want to buy it until our current house is all fixed up, staged, inspected and ready to sell. We will downsize about 1,000 sq feet less than we have now. I would like to go another 500 sq feet lower eventually, but we won't do that until the kids are fully launched and unlikely to move back home.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:45 PM   #12
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Our house is about 4400. Of course we still have kids at home. Recently we have talked about moving closer to where our kids go to school and where we spend a lot of time. We have so much stuff and the tasks seems daunting. So for now we are staying put. Once kids get successfully launched we will move into one of our rental townhouses to be a home base as we do other things. Purge, purge, purge

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Old 11-03-2013, 02:04 PM   #13
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We are going through exactly the same process as we are planning on selling and moving away once we fire (hopefully sometime next year). Our plan is to move from a 1200 sq ft. house and get everything we need to fit in a car. We are not planning on taking furniture since we don't know where we'll end up (initially we'll make an extended visit to mother in-law) and we plan to do some traveling. Most of our furniture is just mid-range Ikea stuff and there's not much that we'd need to replace.

Some of the stuff we've been doing to downsize includes:

- digitize all our media (files, books, CDs, photos, etc.). We've run several hundred K of pages through our scansnap.
- sell stuff on ebay & craigslist (furniture). I think we're over 4k of stuff sold so far this year
- give stuff to goodwill (clothes, extra kitchen stuff, decorations, furniture) or family/friends
- my wife held one or two garage sales to get rid of old art supplies
- hauled a bunch of paint and hazardous waste to city disposal

The process has been extremely long (going on for a year now). All I can say is that it helps to make it a goal to get something done (sold, donated, thrown out, given away) every week. If my garbage and recycle bins are not full, I think about what else I can stuff in there.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:39 PM   #14
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We had 3.700 sf - 2,700 sf at our main home and 1,000 sf at our summer home. Then we demolished and rebuilt our summer home to two stories - 2,000 sf - and sold our main home so in effect downsized from 3,700 sf to 2,000 sf.

We're finding that it isn't enough space for us so we are now replacing our one-car garage with a two-car garage with an attic loft. The attic loft will be ~350 sf so once the loft is done we'll have 2,350 sf of living space in total. Honestly, that will include two good sized guest bedrooms that will only be used infrequently when we have guests or when the kids visit (or if God forbid, they boomerang!).
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:43 PM   #15
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We never had a chance to live large; we've lived in 1440 SF for 30 years.

We are continually purging, though, especially after a recent visit to FIL, where our future flashed before our eyes if we do NOT continue to do so.

Thirty years or more of stuff sneaks up fast.

Repainting is a great strategy. We will be installing new hardwoods to the same effect.
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:39 PM   #16
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From the earlier days lived in a 1600 SF house for ten years, family grew and upsized to a 3400 SF and lived in it for eighteen years and then downsized to 1800 SF. In hindsight, should have stayed in the first house and could have retired by at least five years earlier. But getting off the treadmill at 54 wasn't too bad, all things considers. Been retired now for eight years and don't miss the big house or the stuff, one darn bit.
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:55 PM   #17
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Sold a few items including one of the atvs to a friend. Two more to go but same friend has called dibs on those when we are ready. Yippee!
Goodwill had a semi parked about one mile from our house for months so most Saturdays I was donating a box/bag or two of items we no longer need. Will start this again next summer when they return.
Dh and I have an agreement that if we purchase a new item of clothing then one item (or more) have to go out! He is the clotheshorse in the family so this is a major accomplishment for him.
One day this week we stripped the spare walk-in closet in our master bedroom and purged items we haven't used in years. Worked so well that we also purged the main walk-in closet along with the closets in the spare bedrooms!
Donated about 2/3 of the books from the bookshelves and almost all the crafting supplies from over many, many years of projects.
Goal is to go from 2300 sq ft two-story to 1700 sq ft one-story.
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:30 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
We've been in the downsized house now for a year and a half or so and I still have stuff I need to get rid of. There was a lot of little stuff that I didn't have time to go through before we moved so we moved it with us. Most of it doesn't take up all that much space (imagine drawers with a lot of little items) but I find that I often can't find what I'm looking for so I end up buying anyway. So I really need to go through all that, get rid of more stuff and organize better what is left.
My inexpensive solution for those small items was a storage cube and fabric drawers, like the ones in the below link used for toys. I put it inside the wardrobe in the spare bedroom. The fabric drawers house stationery, computer cables, light bulbs, and my sewing kit in an organized and aesthetically pleasing way. You can choose different colored fabric drawers for different things, or just tie a small label to the handle. Recently I bought a case of wine and found that the 12 bottles fit perfectly into one square when stacked horizontally. So you may need fewer fabric drawers than there are squares in the cube. The process of organizing stuff was very helpful and made me aware of all the little things I will not need to buy for years to come.

Love Grows Wild: Perfect Toy Storage Solutions
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:25 PM   #19
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Have been in 900sf for 35 years. Am considering just signing it over to neighbor, he can strip it and raze it.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:12 PM   #20
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We downsized from 5400sf to 4200sf. It was hell. I don't know if I can go through that again.
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