The Art of Estate Downsizing (Part Two)

As we talked about In The Art of Downsizing (Part One), there are a lot of things to consider with the downsizing process.  We looked at the emotional challenges in Part One, now let’s look a little closer at the physical aspects of the move.  It’s time for the “heavy lifting”.


When moving to a new space, it’s critical to understand and plan for the potential constraints that the smaller space has.  If you are fortunate to have some time to prepare, it is wise to look over the new location and envision where things might go, if certain furniture will fit, where to hang pictures, etc.  A tape measure and even a diagram of the floorplan can be a tremendous help in this part of the process.

To whittle down the items to move, concentrate on the items that are currently used every day.  Remember, it is the items actually used daily that count, not things that “might come in handy” or “you never know when you will need one of these” items.  Focus on downsizing, not just moving the same stuff from one location to another.

If the person downsizing was a collector of something and there won’t be enough room to take the complete collection, consider taking a couple of the most prized items to the new digs.  While the other items from the collection may need to be liquidated, it can be helpful to take photos or videos of the rest of the collection for future reminiscing.  As mentioned in Part One of The Art of Downsizing, digitizing photos can help save space while still allowing easy access to the memories.

If you have items that are high value or potential high value, it is wise to get an appraiser who specializes in those items to help you evaluate them and decide how best to handle them.  There are many ways to deal with high value items including estate sales, auctions, donations to museums, etc. once you have an idea of the value.

If you decide to donate items, be sure to choose wisely.  You may want to direct your donations to a favorite cause and you might be surprised how many different causes are out there that will take donations.  Also, some groups will pick-up your items and save you the time and money to take the stuff to the donation center.  Of importance to many of us is the amount of money that is produced by the charity and how efficient they are at getting the help to the people that need it vs. the amount of overhead and administrative costs as well as the compensation of the CEO of the charity.  These percentages and dollar amounts can usually be found with a quick online query, it is often very interesting reading.

If you have some specialty items that could be used in schools, hospitals, retirement homes, pet rescue, etc. consider giving them a call and see if they need the items.  You can be helping more than you know, and your donation will be greatly appreciated.

When you are examining things you are getting rid of and you find chipped, broken, stained, etc. items, it is probably best to donate or dispose of those things.  It is difficult and often not worth the time to try and sell such items.  They are difficult to sell and typically don’t bring a very high price due to the damage.  Use your good judgement to determine what is worth it and what is not.

Next month, in Part Three of The Art of Downsizing, we will look more closely at the Time issues of downsizing.

As you can tell by reading, in almost all cases, knowledge is king in deciding how to handle a downsize.  Be sure to gather as much information as you can prior to and while working through the process.

Family Friend Estate Solutions has first-hand knowledge on downsizing and we are always glad to share ideas and help you with the many decisions that must be made.  Feel free to give us a call and we look forward to working with you!