Most of us are familiar with moving. Some of us have moved far more times than we'd ever hope to repeat. Others have stayed in their starter homes for the entirety of their married lives and a few lucky (or unlucky, depending on your view) souls have inherited their family home and been able to avoid moving altogether. In almost every person's life, however, there comes a time when moving is inevitable. Oftentimes this falls toward the end of our lives when we have the least desire to move and have probably accumulated the most possessions. So, how do we prepare for this change if we are either moving into a smaller apartment, a room in the home of one of our children or into an assisted living situation? Most people choose to have an estate sale to rid themselves of the most items with the least amount of physical wear and tear. You can have an estate sale without selling the house, just the possessions, or you can try to sell your home at the same time.
First of all start off by assessing your belongings. You will most likely require a notebook for this job. Divide your items into categories, ie. Furniture, appliances, linens, tools/garage items, books, kitchen, etc. Physically go into each room of your home & look at what you've accumulated from that category. It's easier to do this by category because furniture is found all throughout the home, garage items or tools may be found in several different places, artwork is throughout, you get the idea.
Beginning with the larger items, write a list. If you have an idea of where that item will go when you move, or who else would enjoy that item, write it beside the description. If it is something that you cherish & want to bring with you, or that you will NEED when you move, put a heart beside the item description. If it is something that you plan to sell in the sale, put a dollar sign beside it. This seems like an easy task, but even with larger items, you'll probably be amazed at how much writing, wrestling & thinking you need to do for the items. Each of these things have memories associated with them, and if you're not generally a nostalgic person, this process may bring unexpected emotion. Recognizing that beforehand can help you to be able to appreciate your life in a whole new way, appreciate that they've served you well over the years & think of ways that someone else may be able to benefit from them now. Do not be daunted if this step takes a few days. It's better to think through the decisions and feel good about them than to rush the process and second guess yourself later.
Once you've completed the large items list, you can list things for sale or have a family member list things for sale to begin the selling process while you go through the rest of your belongings. You may need help with some of these, especially if you tire easily or they require a lot of lifting. The first step is to think about where you're moving to. Can you have a few furniture items there? How many clothes will you be able to bring? Will you have a spot for beloved items or hobby items? Now go through your things and choose those items that you absolutely LOVE that you know you'll be able to fit into your new space. Set them aside in a specific area of the house. While you're weeding through everything else in your home, you can continue to add to or remove items as you see fit.
Next, accumulate numerous boxes, different sized trash bags, tape, rubber bands, and markers. If there are things that you know immediately that you'd like to donate, just put them into a box, tape, label and get them out of your way. Most of the items will probably fall into the sell category, so begin grouping them together in easy to access places.
Most people do not sell clothing on their estate sales, but prefer to donate it or sell on a garage sale. You decide how to best handle this, but the clothing and shoes should be boxed up. Hanging clothes are most easily moved on the hangers, if manageable. Cover about 10-12 hangers with an upside down trash bag with a hole in the bottom to accommodate the necks of the hangers. Rubber band the hangers together, & be sure to tie the bottom of the bag so that the clothing does not get dusty or stained.
When you are able to thoroughly empty an area of the house, take a moment to deep clean the area, or have someone else do it for you. It will make you feel so much better to be fully finished in the end, & if you're selling the house, it will make it far more appealing to a buyer.
Downsizing and moving are easy words to say, but they require much in the way of emotional and physical strength and energy. You can be proud of yourself once you've completed this monumental task & perhaps find a way to reward yourself & those who've helped you to complete it! Life is full of times to celebrate, & while it may seem strange to you to celebrate the downsizing of possessions, just think of all of the extra time you'll have to do things you enjoy when you have less things to take care of! This life change is definitely a positive one, relish in it!