Our last article included 11 tips to help you get started on the process of downsizing your home. While that article focused more on how you can “Get Started”, this article takes you to the next step and provides you with 16 tips and strategies designed to “Keep You Moving Forward” after you’ve started the downsizing process.

Know the values ​​before you start shooting. “No”, I repeat, “No”, start getting rid of anything before someone looks at its potential value. Too often, things you perceive to have value turn out to be worthless, while things you perceive to have little value end up having considerable value.

Have a professional help you with values: Before you dump anything, it would be wise to hire someone who is knowledgeable in personal property values ​​to provide you with valuations before beginning the dumping process. A professional home personal property valuation is usually a good place to start for most people. A USPAP appraisal will be more accurate and detailed, but will cost significantly more due to the time it takes to prepare. The upfront cost of either should seem pretty reasonable compared to the potential loss if you throw away the wrong stuff.

What you paid has no relation to today’s value: We’ll cover this concept in more depth in a later article, but at this point you need to understand that what you paid for something has absolutely no relationship… no… to what it will bring in today’s market.

Start early in the process: Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Start early, work in smaller blocks of time, and the job will be much easier.

Start with a small room: Start by selecting a small room to start with. Once that smaller room has been successfully completed, it will be easier to move on to a more complex room.

Start with a room that has less sentimental attachment: A bathroom, closet or kitchen can be a good place to start. The most important thing is to start somewhere and then build momentum towards bigger projects.

Start with larger objects: It is often easier to start by removing larger items, such as furniture. The logic here is that you can start to feel like you’re making progress after only making a few decisions.

Start with a part of the house that you currently don’t use much: An adult child’s empty room is often a good place to start.

Start with personal documents and family photos: This won’t save you a lot of space, but it can be fun and it’s a logical step to start the downsizing process.

Work in limited blocks of time: The process can be very draining and emotionally draining. Limit yourself to just a few hours at a time, at least at first. Then, if you feel up to it, you can work for extended periods of time.

Stick with a specific project until you finish it: Once you’ve started, do your best to complete a specific project, especially smaller projects. For example, if you start cleaning out a closet, finish that project before moving on to another project. Recognize, however, that larger projects like a basement or attic probably won’t be completed in one session.

anticipate the weather: Plan ahead, keeping the weather in mind. You don’t want to be working in the attic on a scorching July day, and you don’t want to be working in the garage or outbuildings in sub-zero weather. Use the weather in your favor.

Give yourself ample lighting: Little will be done if you cannot see what you are doing. If the room you’re working in isn’t bright enough, bring in some temporary lighting to brighten up the work space.

Give yourself ample workspace: You can’t sort much into piles or sort categories on a single rickety folding table. Try to provide yourself with one or more solid 3′ x 8′ folding tables. Today’s tables have lightweight plastic tops and are much easier to move than the heavy wooden tables of years past.

Use heavy-duty plastic bags to throw away: Whether you buy them at the grocery store, home improvement store, or dollar store, be sure to use heavy-duty plastic bags to pack up old clothes and bedding, or toss away small, unwanted items to the weekly trash. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a lighter plastic bag tear after you’ve spent considerable time packing it.

Houses with more space may sell better: Selling your personal property can earn you even more money when you sell your current home. Clutter tends to make a house look small. By downsizing before you put your home on the market, you can make your home appear even larger than it actually is, thereby increasing your salability. We know of a situation where the real estate agent felt that a home generated $30,000 to $40,000 more than it would have if the downsizing had not occurred.

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