Downsizing Guide: Save Money, Time, and Stress

Downsizing your house or condo has numerous benefits. Between the saved time, money, and stress, living in a smaller home is proving to be the better choice for many Kansas City Metro homeowners.

Downsizing Guide: What the Tucker’s Have Learned from Experience

Here in our guide to downsizing, we explore why more and more people are choosing to downsize and then how to actually DO IT.  As Kim and Don here at kcmoHomeBuyer have gotten older and their kids moved on to their own homes, we have downsized ourselves, 3 times.  Plus we have helped our parents can countless home sellers do the same.

Why Downsizing Makes a Lot of Sense

There are many reasons why downsizing makes a lot of sense. Here are just a few benefits that come with downsizing!

You Will Save Money!

Moving to a smaller house can save you thousands of dollars. You will likely have a lower mortgage payment, or perhaps no mortgage payment at all.   Plus there are a lot of other financial benefits of that smaller house.

  • Repairs and upgrades will cost much less as there are fewer things to repair and upgrade.
  • Property taxes will often be lower.  In a smaller home the assessed value will likely be less than the larger property, although if your smaller house is in a newer or pricier neighborhood, this might not be the case.  The same goes for insurance.
  • Utility bills will be less as there is much less house to heat and cool and perhaps with a smaller house comes a smaller hot water heater for added savings.
  • Maintenance will be easier as there is just a lot less house that can break, get worn out, or need updates.
  • And if you pay someone to clean or mow the yard, again much less house and yard, so much less to pay out.

Overall, owning a smaller house can save you thousands over the years. The money you could be saving can be put toward other things such as paying off debt, saving up for retirement, for travel, school, or as a gift to your family.

You Will Save Time!

Just as you save all that money on a smaller house, you will save a lot of time.  Smaller homes are much easier to keep clean and maintained. Less carpet to vacuum, less floor to mop, fewer toilets to clean. You get the idea.  Plus, generally, you will have a smaller yard, which saves time mowing and trimming the bushes.

And in some cases, your downsize might come with yard and exterior maintenance.

You Won’t Accumulate So Much Stuff!

Downsizing your house in Kansas City will help you to cut down on your clutter, at least we hope it does.  You have fewer places to put stuff, so you buy less of it:  decorations, clothing, furniture, stuff. You will also find that you are more purposeful in what you buy. Once you’ve gone through the entire process of downsizing and getting rid of stuff, you will be less inclined to buy more stuff. (This can save you money as well)

You Will Be Less Stressed

With less property to manage, you will have less to worry about. Less can go wrong, less has to be maintained. Owning a house with multiple bedrooms or with an oversized yard can become too much for some people. As the years go by, you may find that it takes more and more effort to maintain the property. The stress is most likely not worth it. By downsizing into a smaller home, you will be able to end the stress while saving time and money. Your lifestyle will become much simpler, providing you with excellent peace of mind.


Downsizing Your Stuff

Now that we have you on board with the whole idea of downsizing, we need to get ready to downsize and that means tackling all your stuff.  Going from a large home to something smaller means you will have less room to keep all that stuff.

Many of us have closets filled with items we aren’t using, and things stored away in the attic that never see the light of day. We recommend starting early and tackling one room at a time, even one closet or drawer at a time utilizing the following downsizing tips.

The One-Year Rule

You might have heard this rule for your closets. Look at all the clothes in your closet and if you have not worn it in the past year it has to go. While you might have one or two sentimental items, like a wedding dress, try to keep these to a minimum. You can also apply this rule to other clutter-prone areas of your house. Think kitchen gadgets, craft supplies, old DVDs, and so on. If you haven’t used it in the past year, the odds are pretty low that it will get any use in the future.

Repurpose And Give It Away

You likely have many things you are keeping due to sentimental value. While it is more than okay to hang on to some of this stuff, having too much can weigh you down. Maybe your kids or grandkids would love to have your old Christmas ornaments that are lying around in the closet, then again they might not – Sometimes they don’t want your stuff. But it never hurts to ask. 

Digitize Where It Makes Sense

Piles of papers all over the house. Does this sound familiar? It seems we all have a stack of papers (or 5) that we are going to get around to dealing with. Make that time now and toss or shred anything that is no longer needed. You can scan in old bills and receipts if needed, and opt to go paperless for future statements. Make a rule to deal with mail as it comes in instead of letting it pile up everywhere.

You can do this with photo albums too.  And if you have a lot of old fading photos, scanning them in and making your albums digital just might save a few photos that could soon fade into nothing.  Plus, think about how easy it is to share current, modern digital photos.  Imagine doing that with photos from your childhood or your grandparent’s childhood.

Get Rid Of The Dupes

For us, it was tools.  It seems that every single house we buy comes with a few screwdrivers and other assorted tools.  We were getting ready to move and discovered we had 87 screwdrivers.  GOOD LORD!! 

But you might find this same problem with other things. Do you need 4 sets of wine glasses or will one set do? Do you really need 200 extra hangers and 5 wine bottle openers? There are many instances where people buy 2 of something, never using both at the same time. Take inventory and keep your favorite items, giving away or selling the other items.

Organize Everything

As you are downsizing it also helps to organize.  Take the time to organize all of your belongings. Group books, glassware, clothing, and other items. Getting “like” items all together in one space so you can see what you have can be very helpful.  Perhaps you didn’t even notice you had so many duplicate things – like our screwdrivers above. We had them stashed all over the house, but when we put them all in a pile in the garage we realized we had a serious problem.


Disposing of Your Stuff

As you sift, sort, and organize you end up with your keep pile and you end up with everything else.  Figuring out what to do with items you no longer want can be daunting.  Here at kcmoHomeBuyer, we are faced with this quite often.  We buy a house, the people leave their stuff and we have to figure out what to do with it.

Friends and Family

First, you might check with friends and family to see if anyone has a family member just starting a new household who might be in need of things.  A young person moving into their first apartment who had no stuff just might be glad to get an old couch, a less-than-perfect table, and an old set of dishes.  Then there are times when friends and family like your stuff better than the stuff they have, they might take that living room set and get rid of their old one. Ask around.

Facebook Market Place

For bigger nicer items, Facebook Market Place can be a great tool.  Take a few photos of the item from several angles, write up a good description, and post it for sale on Facebook Market Place.  We use this quite often for furniture, appliances, and other big items in the house. We see people selling smaller items like housewares and clothing as well.

Although Facebook Market Place is filled with a lot of scammers and you have to be careful.

Estate Sale Companies

If you have a whole house full of nice stuff, an estate sale company can be a great option.  They do all the sifting, sorting, pricing, staging. They run the sale and split the proceeds with you. Keep in mind that if you only have a few choice items there are a few estate sale companies that will see just those items. They might market online through their website or they might move the item to their store to sell it for you.

Garage Sale

This is by far the easiest way to get rid of a lot of things and make some money.  Yes, it does take work to sort it all out, price it, and manage the sale.  But you can make some money, especially if you can get a friend or family member to help.  Perhaps they will bring some of their own stuff too.

We do this at a lot of houses. Drag it all to the garage. Price the big items. Then throw the doors open at 8 am on a Saturday. Wheel and deal. Take offers. Package things up. Remember your goal is to get rid of the stuff, so being super high on your prices might not get things sold.

Donate Items

If you’ve gone through all the above processes and now you just want to make stuff go away, donation is a great solution. If It is still in good usable shape or is something that could be refurbished or repurposed, donation companies can be a great way to go.  Places like Habitat for Humanity, Good Will, or your local Church Thrift Store are always happy to take most things, just be sure to check their list of what they will not take. 

It is important to note that many of these donation places will come to you to pick up items.  Generally, they will want you to have the items either in your garage or out on the street as they don’t want the liability of damaging your house and getting stuff out.  Every place has different rules, so give them a call or visit their website to find out.

Trash

Let’s face it, some items are just plain garbage.  They are things that no one wants, needs, or can use.  Some trash can be recycled.  Some items have to be disposed of in the proper places, like paint, chemicals, or electronics.  And other items can just go in the trash.


Going Down Memory Lane

This is what deters most people from downsizing.

They have stuff tucked away in drawers, closets, and boxes that are filled with memories. Some are good memories, some are bad memories, and either way, they just don’t want to relive the memories. That’s when it’s time to call in outside help. Friends and family might be able to step in. You can hire a pro to help.

If you are downsizing and selling your house to the Tuckers here at kcmoHomeBuyer, leave the stuff, well take care of it.

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