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6 More Downsizing Tips from Here and There

Category: Retirement Planning

June 18, 2014 — Downsizing and raising children have at least one thing in common- it’s a lot easier to tell other people how to do it than it is to do it yourself! Topretirements has published several articles about downsizing (see Further Reading at end of article) due to member interest. In this article we will explore some new tips from all over, and hope that you will contribute your own suggestions in the Comments section below.

1. It is never too early to start.
We can’t tell you many of our friends didn’t leave enough time for it. The result was a horrible rush and more stress than was needed. Start today!

2. Keep the memories, lose the stuff.
This could be the best advice we ever heard on the subject of what to keep vs. what to throw out. If you have things that mean a lot to your family but just don’t make sense to keep, celebrate that. Take photographs of the items and share stories with family members – then find a new home for them, wherever that might be. Don’t overlook digitizing your physical photos.

3. The 3 piles strategy
Be realistic – what will fit, space wise and stylistically in your next home? With that in mind and well before any moving day is on the calendar, you and your partner, if you have one, should agree to put all your stuff into 3 categories/piles:
– Must have
– Maybe
– No
Now, move all of the Maybes into the No pile. Either toss it or donate it – do not keep it. Otherwise you will just end up moving it and having to contend with it all over again. Do you really want to pay to move stuff only to have to store it or throw away at your new destination? You would be surprised how many times this happens.

4. Make a list of what you can’t take and ask the kids/family/friends what they want.
If they don’t want to take items that need a new home in the short term , they need to go somewhere else. You are not a storage unit!

5. Have a family auction
After you’ve decided what you can part with, an idea we’ve heard about is to have a family auction. Numbers are drawn and family members can select items in the order drawn. This approach also works for heirlooms you are not willing to give away now – it’s a way to reduce family stress down the road. Of course tag sales, estate sales, and giving everything to a charity are other approaches.

6. One step at a time
Tackle one project per (quarter or year). Work on the attic, kids’ rooms, basement, closets in any order you want.

Bottom Line: Downsizing is liberating
Do your kids a favor, and save yourself a lot of trouble. We guarantee you will feel better with your new, leaner household profile. Start now with a gradual approach and you’ll be ready when you need to be.

For further reading:
A Tale of 3 Downsizings
12 Steps to Downsizing Success
Downsizing Checklist and Tips
Topretirements Members Getting Ready for Big Moves
eDivvyup – a Web-based tool for dividing property
How to Run an Estate Sale
About Home Downsizing (eHow)
Downsizing Tips (Yahoo)
Downsizing Baby Boomers Looking to Sell Their Stuff (Smart Money)

Comments? Have you started downsizing already? Please share your thoughts, fears, failures, and successes on downsizing in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on June 17th, 2014


  1. Seventeen years ago, we downsized from a 12 LARGE rooms house to a 6 SMALL rooms house. It was a painful process because my husband doesn’t like to part with anything — even those moldy Agatha Christie paperbacks that were falling apart. (Agatha wasn’t moldy, just the books). It’s a testament to the strength of our marriage, that we’re still married today. As I said, it was painful. However, I the saving grace was that I started down-sizing seven months before the move date. I created a chart which assigned a closet, a dresser, the attic, the garage, etc. to each weekend day from October 1- May 1. It just made the entire process so much less overwhelming. I can’t say, however, that it made husband’s letting-go issue any easier. A guaranteed “disagreement” every weekend. I repeat, it’s a miracle. But, here it is 17 years later and I bet he couldn’t name one thing I got rid of that he misses except perhaps for those Agathas.

    by Pat Kennedy — June 18, 2014

  2. It’s amazing the amount of stuff we can accumulate over the years. It’s even more amazing how much of it we don’t need.

    I love the plan you created, Pam. It broke up your journey into more manageable chunks, which was helpful for your husband who was attached to those items.

    Me on the other hand, once I get rolling I’ll toss stuff that I needed! Either way, it’s a good idea to downsize belongings anytime you move, but especially when you downsize homes in retirement. It’s so freeing!

    by Rachel — June 19, 2014

  3. Michael posted this on our Facebook page – pretty good!

    “I often joke the only thing I want to move when I retire is cash. Leave the other crap behind.”

    by Michael — June 19, 2014

  4. I am happy to say that my husband and I purchased a smaller home in the community where we want to retire. I’ve been gradually sorting through my things and donating some, moving some to the new place, etc. However, my husband doesn’t part with anything and plans to keep the house we are currently living in. I believe that’s his solution to not having to downsize. I’m hoping eventually he will just decide to sell the place as trying to maintain two homes cuts into the finances and who needs two houses? Has anyone else dealt with this issue?

    by Karen — June 20, 2014

  5. Had to laugh about the moldy old Agathas, since I have a full set of my own. My kids gave me a Kindle with the ones that are available electronically. I think the Kindle Paperwhite replaced a full bookcase of Agathas and Rex Stouts! On the positive side, I can turn the books into Large Print versions as I get older.

    As a widow, I am finding the downsizing process heartbreaking, each time bits and pieces of my life go to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Vietnam Vets, Ebay, library donation, trash bin or elsewhere. My kids don’t want to hear the stories behind items, and they sure don’t want the stuff (for ex., my 22 yr old has NO interest in Grandma’s crystal, sterling silver, a Great Aunt’s Hummels, a large diamond Rolex watch, etc.). I am trying to sift through items to keep the most important ones, but it’s all part of letting go. I’ll be moving for work for 2-4 years before retirement, so I get to downsize twice.

    by Sharon — June 21, 2014

  6. My husband and I downsized 5 years ago to an apartment in Boston. The best thing I can say is don’t go too small if you can afford it. We still have our own spaces and I am very grateful for that! It truly was liberating for us getting rid of ‘stuff’.

    by Penny — June 21, 2014

  7. Hi PENNY! My Grandad came from County Clare, Ireland. I was at one time stationed in Central Mass (SAC AFB) but never made it to Boston. Being an Irishman I still have it in the back of my mind. Is it worth the trip and when would the best time be? I heard that due to (?) some months are better than others.



    by Robert — June 22, 2014

  8. My husband and I both retired and moved from a big family house to what we thought was what retirees should own (one story slightly under 2000 sq. ft.) Right…that lasted about six months! Ended up selling and moving to an even bigger 2-story Colonial because we got tired of falling over each other all of the time. Of course the first thing we did was run out replace everything we had given away! Now we have separate spaces to hang out in and we come together in the family room. We realize this house won’t work when we’re 80 but figure that retirement, like everything else, is better taken in stages.

    by Alice — June 22, 2014

  9. Hi Robert, June through October are lovely. Lots to do and see. Its a very walkable city and public transportation is great. Definitely don’t want to drive here. Visit and enjoy!

    by Penny — June 22, 2014

  10. The emotional part of downsizing is admitting to some extent that your life is becoming smaller, you are no logner gaining in “stuff” but declining. Much of the retirement process is about accepting and embracing the next chapters. But in order to enjoy the next chapter, you have to turn the page. It’s different for everyone, so if you’re reading this and (like me) you want to keep those old story books that you read to your kids when they were 5 years old … go right ahead. Let your kids sort through the stuff when you’re gone, it’s the least they can do. Keep what brings you joy. In the end joy is the most precious of your nest eggs.

    by Dan — June 23, 2014

  11. Bravo, Dan. Loved the literary analogy. Your posting helps me to put this process into perspective a little better.

    by Sharon — June 24, 2014

  12. Don’t underestimate the value in both time and energy of a yard sale. Just tossing stuff out adds to landfills and while donating is a good last ditch effort, yard sales can actually help with bills and future purchases. We made $700 in a 2-day effort when we started downsizing and we’ll do one more in our final push to move from PA to NC. Yes, it’s time consuming but try to think of it as fun and remember one man’s (or woman’s!) junk is another’s treasure!

    by cherie — June 29, 2014

  13. We set a goal for our move. Only take what will fit in an 8-ft trailer.

    by John H — June 30, 2014

  14. While I really appreciate Dans perspective, and agree that joy is the most precious nest egg, I got stuck being the kid who did ‘the least I could do’ for my mother and both of her sisters. Three houses full of stuff. The least I could do turned into a huge job. The smallest of the three houses took two weeks full time (of my vacation time) to sort thru the old stuff. The total time for all three houses was close to ten weeks, spread across a couple of years…all my vacation time, all at my expense. Sorting out and disposing of the belongings of my mother and aunts almost broke me. Please don’t leave this burden to your children; they did nothing to deserve it. You made the mess…you clean it.

    by Ginger — July 1, 2014

  15. Sad, but well said, Ginger!

    by ella — July 2, 2014

  16. There has to be a balance between keeping what really matter to you and getting rid of the rest. My sister’s and I had to go through our parents home of 50 years. My father was still alive but moving in with one of us. It really surprised him and also broke his heart to see us trash or give away all those years of their “stuff.” He understood, but nonetheless very hard on all of us and it took months. We actually had to rent two huge dumpsters and more trips to the goodwill than I’d like to remember. I like the idea of taking pictures and getting rid of the item. Or keep one book for the grand-kids that you read to your children, not the whole bookcase full. After all – its really not the stuff so much as the memory it invokes. I second Pam’s plan. When you schedule it and take on a little at a time its not so overwhelming. So, all this to say do downsize your stuff for your sake as well as those you’ll some day leave behind.

    by Beachkid — July 2, 2014

  17. I was diligently working on downsizing for a temporary relocation to the Carolinas, before my retirement in 3-4 years. I had a few days for house-hunting, and made that classic mistake…I ended up buying a house with over 3,000 sq. ft just because it had all the bells and whistles that I had wanted but couldn’t afford in my current location.

    You know how that little dialogue between the angel on your right shoulder and the devil on your left shoulder goes? Downsize! But for only $30,000 more, you can get so much more space and a lot of extras, like granite, home office, butler’s pantry, etc.! Downsize! But you only live once! Downsize! Wouldn’t it be nice to have plenty of room for visitors? Downsize! Don’t you deserve to enjoy your life? Downsize! But a larger home could have a bigger resale market.

    Wish I had listened to the downsizing angel, but I’ll try again in 3 years when I retire. I really don’t understand why the smaller ranches and 55+ communities that I looked at were so much more expensive than family homes per sq. foot. I guess that’s driven by market demand though.

    by Ted — July 4, 2014

  18. I believe whether a person downsizes or up sizes is a personal decision as long as a person can afford such. What I find quite alarming in today’s society is the number of older people who have become severe financial burdens on others. This problem seems to be escalating because of very poor planning. I have always had a financial philosophy of living below my means: Because unfortunately sh*t happens.

    by Bubbajog — July 4, 2014

  19. I live in just under 1200 sq. feet, and it is too big for me alone. I could easily live in half that size, and plan to do so once I retire. My goal is to work 3 more years, so I’ll continue downsizing until then. When I moved here, I moved it all, thinking I would downsize once I figured out what I needed. I won’t do that again. Any place I move to, I’ll have shopping access, and Ebay is a click away. I’m down to the “good” stuff now, and some of that is going because I either don’t use it or no longer care about it. I have the time to be comfortable with this process, so emotions attached to an object have time to be worked through and released, which really is the hard work. It’s not the stuff, it’s my attachment to the stuff. Good luck to everyone downsizing!

    by Elaine C. — July 3, 2015

  20. Everyone visiting these sites should consider going to the internet and viewing/listen to the late George Carlin’s rant on STUFF. Great, true and sometimes vulgar.

    We raised 3 kids in a 1 bath – 1200 sq ft rancher and now everyone wants bigger and bigger. Crazy IMO.

    We finally sold our home and moving back to Fl and downsizing more than our last downsize. Too much damn STUFF. I can’t blv all this STUFF I am packing up. It’s frustrating and useless. We need to learn from FULL TIME RV’ers. Would love to do that but not practical nor affordable now at our age.

    by Robert — July 4, 2015

  21. To each his own.

    by Tony Conte — July 4, 2015

  22. We went from a 2100 sq ft 2 story with a basement to a 1700 sq ft one story when we moved. We gave away, donated and sold a lot of stuff before we moved. We started about six months before, doing a little at a time. It was a lot of work but well worth it. We got rid of more when we got to our new house. We still have a lot of things but our new house is comfortable for the two of us. I also went through cleaning out my dad’s garage when he was sick. I think it was very depressing for him. My mom still lives in the house we grew up in and it has so much stuff it is unbelievable. We have tried to help clean things out but she just gets upset. My siblings and I have decided to just let her have her stuff and deal with it when she is gone.

    by Kathy — July 4, 2015

  23. I am SO on board with downsizing. With 3,000 sq ft and 3 levels, we just have TOO MUCH STUFF. My husband, however, is a bit of a hoarder and insists on keeping things (including reusable containers, etc.), so I am up against it.

    Having said that, I have been looking at the SMALL HOUSES – they are like the TINY HOUSES, only a little bigger. Small houses run from about 500-1200 square feet, and do not require climbing a ladder to a loft bedroom like the tiny houses do. I think a great alternative for retirement would be a co-operative with other like-mindeds who would purchase a large piece of land and put small houses on it. There is only one of these that I’ve found – and it’s in California (where i refuse to live). You can build a small house or have one built for approx. $60K.

    by Liz — July 4, 2015

  24. Liz, you sound so like me. I do not want to climb a loft in my old age but would like a small house somewhere lovely, but I do not see that anywhere. But I have to admit when I go to look at homes I start thinking about all the petty things in them and have trouble with wanting to give up my old art etc. and want to buy something ‘nice’ and bigger, I will get there soon thogh,

    by Carla — July 5, 2015

  25. I like small spaces. Maybe that comes from living in Manhattan for awhile. Of course I’ve been single for many years. Right now I moved in with my 93 year old mom so she wouldn’t be alone. She has a 2 bedroom fully furnished coop. So I got rid of all of my furniture and most of my stuff except for the things that mean the most to me which included my 3 cats of course I’m looking forward to my next adventure which will probably be in Athens GA. I want a small space for me and the “girls”. There are some nice rentals there. I want to take my time to check out the area and make the decision where I want to live. I do know that I need a minimum of 500 feet. Hope not to go more than 1000. The less I have to clean the happier I am!

    by Stacey — July 5, 2015

  26. Downsizing sounds good to me. My husband on the other hand likes to collect odds and ends and doesn’t want to part with any of it. He is not a hoarder but afraid he could become one easily. If I could live the dream life in a TV sitting by the most beautiful Oceanside site I could do that in a heartbeat. But my other half wants a larger home than we have now. So we are still looking at possibilities. Didn’t realize so many rules and fees in different communities which will definitely make a difference. We will keep looking

    by Vic — July 5, 2015

  27. Well, I have to say downsizing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! We went from a 3,500 sq. ft. home down to 1,968 sq. ft. and we both agree it’s a bit to small. The getting rid of things was hard, but once we started it was no problem and we actually did quite well…..gave a lot to the kids…..we only have 3 bedrooms and I find that hard to deal with when the kids all want to come home or guests visit; I miss the larger kitchen and the larger laundry room in lieu of a closet.
    We’re putting the house on the market, after 12 years, and are looking for something around the 2,000 – 2,500 sq. ft. Bottom line here, just BE SURE of the square footage you want…..I’ll be so happy to be out of this small house!

    by Susan — July 5, 2015

  28. I have been downsizing for the last 10 months and I really appreciate all the info and insights that y’all are giving. I will be putting up my 2400 sq ft house on the market in February. I will also be looking at northern Phoenix for a place so I can be closer to my son. I am going out there in December for another visit and to decide where I will rent from while I am looking for a place. A 2-bedroom apartment sounds perfect for me right now. I like to do my crafts and hate the housework.
    Again, I want to thank y’all for your ideas.

    by SharonA — July 5, 2015

  29. This comment came in from Sandy, and it is a good one! You can see more about his downsizing adventures in

    When we moved, we got rid of a lot of furniture. Unfortunately, we hired an interior decorator for our living room. We were afraid of mistakes. We weren’t terribly happy with what we got. What we would have done, had we known in advance, was to go the high end consignment store in Beaver Creek. We found a lot of high end furniture in pristine condition at drastically reduced prices. In resort areas, as you know, people often buy furnished houses but want there own taste. Out go all this beautiful furniture and in comes their decorator. We have many pieces from our store. If one is patient, good things turn up. AND, upgrades of one’s own furniture is always possible and not expensive. We now love our living room and many other pieces around the house.

    by Admin — July 6, 2015

  30. My husband and I downsized to 987 square feet. 2 BR/2BA condo. Best decision we’ve ever made! We can travel all winter without worrying about shoveling the snow from our driveway. Best part – MUCH cheaper living and we have enough money to enjoy retirement. No payments = money!

    by SandyM — July 6, 2015

  31. Robert – regarding stuff. We have been in our home since 1988. Twice we have rented a dump container to get rid of things that have no value (broken, one of a kind, things we don’t use anymore). We first go through things:
    1. When was the last time you used it?
    2. Do you ever see yourself going out and buying another?
    3. Do you have it only because you have extra space?

    If any answer leads to a conclusion it isn’t really not necessary, don’t pack it, give it away. Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and other groups will take these items and repurpose them for people who cannot buy new.

    A second habit I have gotten into is that if I buy something, I have to throw (donate) something. This way you don’t continue to build inventory.

    We will vacate our 2900 sf home in 2-4 years. Each year until then I am going to go through everything we have and make determinations. Some things will be given to family/friends, but if no interest, they go to charities or groups like our senior citizen group, who hold tag sales a few times a year. Books go to the library. Eventually, when we move, we will get rid of the dining room set, the very large sofa in the great room, and other furniture we no longer use.

    When my sister moved to Alabama, she packed everything. We saw boxes of SOS pads with only 2 in the box and liquor bottles with barely a shot left, Make sure you have a dumpster next to your moving van and only bring things that make sense. The shipping the tiny things added up for her in needing to rent two trucks rather than the one they had planned.

    At one point we lived for 6 years in 360 sf. It was plenty of room for us and two cats. While we may downsize, we may be a bit larger than that, because we want to sleep on the first level rather than a loft.

    by Lynne — July 6, 2015

  32. I have read many posts here that have advised people to downsize their belongings months well in advance of a possible move, and I really can’t emphasize that advice enough. Even though we started the process of going through all of our possessions no less than a year ago by either donating worthwhile items to charitable organizations and/or just throwing it way in the trash, we are finding that with only another few weeks away from making our out-of-state move, we are still finding items that we either no longer need or want. So my advice to everyone is to please do yourselves a favor and start now. Also, even though you may not intend on moving several states away, you will be doing both your spouse or your children (if you have any) by paring down the items in your house so that they won’t have to deal with it all in the event of your passing. A rather cheerless thought, I realize, but in the end someone is going to have to deal with it, and so it might as well be you.. ::) 🙂 🙂

    by Valerie — May 17, 2016

  33. Valerie,
    You are so right! We are a couple with no children and we have been married for almost 43 years. We have lived in the same house for 41 years. We have accumulated and accumulated stuff to the point that I cringe when my Hub suggests we buy even the smallest thing. We have weeded out a lot and sold things on ebay. We have given boatloads to Goodwill, Veterans organizations, and a local charitable place that came to our house and took stuff away. We have rented dumpsters, huge ones, filled them up and still our house is full!

    When my Mom died I called this Picker place and wanted them to do an estate sale. By the time I got back to them, it was too late and they already had a wait list. I had to get the stuff out because we needed to sell the house. I called this other person who was not a picker but an antiques guy but he wasn’t interested. He suggested the local charitable organization and it was a life saver. All we had to pay was something like $35 for them to cover their gas and they came to the house and took just about everything. We had some mattresses and two pieces of furniture and a broken freezer they wouldn’t take so we got 1800 got junk. They are expensive. But the house was cleaned out pretty quickly. I hated giving all Moms stuff away but like I said I have no room here. We took a few things but not much. So sad to see someones life just gone in a flash.

    I find the dumbest things hard to part with! I just got rid of a bunch of old cookbooks that I hardly ever used but didn’t really want to give them up either…WHY? I don’t know!

    I also went through a lot of old paperwork and have probably 20 grocery bags full. Our Senior center will have a shredding event next month for free so I will be visiting that for sure! We did it last year too! Free is good!

    Keep hoeing out!

    by Louise — May 18, 2016

  34. I downsized from a 2 story house and garage to a one bedroom apartment last year. Now, on the eve of another move, I’m looking at wherever closets or shelves are stuffed to start additional sorting and giving. I also retired last year and found the organization Dress for Success will take gently used professional clothes. Good luck to all going through this process – it’s a lot of decision making and letting go.

    by ElaineB — May 18, 2016

  35. Yes! Downsize so your children won’t have too! 6 years ago it took a 20 foot truck to move my MIL in with us, as she didn’t want to get rid of anything! No way was that fitting in a 20X16 bedroom! It took months to give away/donate what wasn’t necessary. Plan 3 stack-able tucker totes per room of your current housing.. Less is More. Most storage rooms are 20X10 Ft. (200 square feet) Sizing down to fit that area so we can take our time selecting a permanent home. Also Make sure you write down/keep medical records, dates, doctors name, specialty, address and phone numbers. Keep one phone book from your current town.

    by DeyErmand — May 18, 2016

  36. I got motivated yesterday from this discussion and filled two bags with books and a few odds and ends. More donations for Goodwill. Start small, even one drawer per day will add up!

    by Louise — May 19, 2016

  37. Louise — you are absolutely right — starting with even one drawer per day months in advance of your anticipated move will definitely help and will make the job a lot less stressful. As I had mentioned, we had anticipated at least a year ago that we would be moving down South, and so we started to purge our house of unwanted/unneeded items. I can’t even give you an estimate as to just how many boxes of papers that I ended up shredding. We even had to replace our old shredder with a new one, because the old shredder bit the dust what with all of the extra shredding that I was doing — LOL! . However, I had to chuckle at your comment about not wanting to part with some old cookbooks that you own, Louise,, because I have been an avid cookbook collector for years, and my husband has been after me to give away part of my collection. Believe me, It was definitely not one of my favorite tasks, since I had a tough time choosing one cookbook over another, but I have managed to whittle down my collection and am now down to around 35 books. Believe me, that is progress considering the fact that I used to own close to a 100 cookbooks 🙂 🙂 Also, we have been married for 45 years with no children either, so I can only imagine what an accumulation of things that people have in their homes whenever they have had children — good grief!!!

    And, hey, DeyErmand, great idea about keeping an old phone book from your current town, because you just never know when you might need it.

    by Valerie — May 19, 2016

  38. Valerie,
    LOL, my shredder bit the dust too! I have so much shredding that no way I want to spend the time and I know if I buy another one, I will kill it too with the massive amount I have to do! This time of year certain organizations have shredding events but cost around $10 a box. The Senior center offers free shredding so that will save me probably $60!

    Wow, 100 cook books! You did good paring down your library! My Hub took a bunch of one day courses at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and each course included a cookbook signed by the author. We must have 10 of these books that never get looked at. I am thinking of selling them on Ebay. I find so many recipes on line that I never even think to look them up in my cookbooks anymore! You might be able to find the identical books you didn’t want to part with as e-books and you can store them on your computer! I just bought this neat scanner that is like a wand. I plan to go through my Mom’s picture albums and scan all the pictures and may put them on a thumb drive. The scanner is hooked up to my computer. You just feed the pictures into the scanner on one side and they roll through and pop out the other side. Much easier than using a regular scanner where you have to lift the lid each time. However that is an option too.

    OMG, that is a scary thought to think of children’s accumulation on top of all the stuff I have here!

    Funny, I worked in Research and Development of food products for 18 years. I worked in a lab and we all shared a double door refrigerator/freezer. We never had enough room but we also never hoed it out all that often. One of my coworkers said the fridge should have a trap door on the back side so that when you push the new items in the front the old items would push out into a garbage can! Maybe we could include our closets and drawers in that invention too! LOL!

    by Louise — May 19, 2016

  39. I could not agree more. PURGE PURGE PURGE!!! My husband and I had planned to move to North Carolina last year to be closer to our children and grandchildren. Our daughters and sons-in-law came up over Labor Day weekend and worked relentlessly for three days. We rented a large dumpster, made several trips to goodwill, sold stuff on Craig’s list and the result was an amazingly spare house. It was such a relief. Sadly, we never made the move, because my husband, after a year of several health setbacks, passed away two weeks later. I am still in our home, but plan to move in the near future. What a relief that I really don’t have too much to do and have very little to move when the time comes. My realtor is thrilled. You truly will not miss your “stuff.” Though, my daughters packed away my Kitchenaid mixer….I do miss that, but I am surviving. 🙂

    by Mary K — May 19, 2016

  40. Hey Louise, I love your idea abut the scanner — that would have really come in handy, because.insofar as my cookbook addiction (ahem, collection — LOL!) is concerned, I also had a huge pile of recipes that I had printed out from various websites. However, I forced myself to close my eyes and pitched most, but not all, with the exception of recipes that have become our daily favorites. Also loved your idea about the trap door at the back of the fridge 🙂 🙂

    We just made arrangements yesterday for a mover to pick up our things a few days prior to the closing on our house up here. Thankfully, the estimate that we received was fairly reasonable. However, we had already made the decision not to transport most of our furniture down South, and have instead decided to buy new furniture for our new home in South Carolina. A lot of our furniture was older anyway, and after we compared the cost of moving it versus just buying brand new, it made lot more sense for us to just start all over again. Shopping for new furnishings is undoubtedly going to take some time, but we will have lots of fun in the process, since we are striving for a whole new décor, as well.

    Mary K., I am glad that your daughters and sons-in-law helped you purge your house of so many unwanted items, but I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband.

    by Valerie — May 20, 2016

  41. MaryK — My sympathies also on the loss of your husband.

    I noted that you miss your KitchenAid mixer, and I had to laugh. I don’t cook much for myself anymore so it has been easy for me to get rid of kitchen stuff. Surprise, surprise…one of my kids just gave me a KitchenAid mixer for Mom’s Day (and not a pretty colored one…no no no. He gave me a giant black monster with an industrial size motor). I think he found one that is designed for a commercial kitchen! My kid is proud that he remembered I used to look at stand mixers in stores. I had looked at the pretty colored ones 10+ yeas ago when I was baking huge batches of cookies for my kids and their friends. Now I’m getting ready for retirement, and live in a different state.

    This kid is the type of person who will take offense and hold a grudge if his gift is not properly treasured, so I’m stuck with it until he gets married. At that point I will tactfully attempt to pass it back to him and his new family. In the meantime, I think this monster needs its own zip code.

    Time to gently have ANOTHER talk with the kids, to try to get them to stop giving me STUFF (at least until I know how much space I’ll have in my ultimate retirement destination.) No more thoughtful surprises from Ebay or Amazon. Seriously, no more ceramic roosters, purple glittery sweaters, or 60’s toys that they thought I’d like…please :-).

    by Kate — May 20, 2016

  42. Kate,
    LOL, on the Kitchen Aid Beast! Good idea on regifting it back to your son one day. Here is an idea, do you have some favorite cookie recipes you used to make for your kids? Maybe you could make up a little cookbook to go along with it. Plus, as you know, Kitchen Aid mixers offer many attachments for things like grinding, sausage making, pasta making. When you decide to regift it back, you could include some of those things to jazz up the regift.

    I have a Kitchen Aid Mixer too. It sits on a shelf and never gets used. Plus, within the last year I HAD to have a bread making machine. It couldn’t have been a little one…nope had to be the biggest one! It sits on top of the fridge and hasn’t been used in months. GRRRRR! Why do we humans get a bug in our heads we have to have stupid things?

    One suggestion for the kids on giving you gifts. They probably really want to get you something for birthdays and Mother’s day. Maybe you could help them out by offering suggestions. Like a specific type of sheets and color or a comforter. Other suggestions would be gift cards for the grocery store, Walmart, restaurants, bookstore, Home Depot…etc. Or suggest breakfast, lunch or dinner out.

    by Louise — May 20, 2016

  43. I have already confessed to an unhealthy obsession with cookbooks, but I must admit that I actually owned 3 Kitchen Aid mixers at one time — 2 stand mixers, and 1 hand mixer. Although there wasn’t a thing wrong with the first stand mixer that my husband bought for me several years ago, I had to go and buy another one, because I just had to have one of those beautiful Hot Pink Kitchen Aid stand mixers. So I ended up donating my original (white) Kitchen Aid stand mixer to one of my favorite charities, along the Bread maker that I’ve probably only used a half dozen times, and an iced tea maker and a juicer that I won at a company picnic. So you get the idea here — too much stuff, and most of it goes unused and stashed away in the basement.

    by Valerie Lang — May 20, 2016

  44. Valerie,
    If you change your mind on transporting furniture, look into PODS. IT is a moving solution rather than a moving truck. They deliver a metal box thing to your property and you can take your time filling it. It is supposed to be waterproof. When you are done, you call them and they come and transport it to your new home. If you are not ready for it, they will store it for you. My girlfriend did that when she moved from CT to MI years ago and she said it worked out good. You just have to pack it correctly so nothing breaks. There are other companies that do the same thing but I don’t know the names.

    by Louise — May 21, 2016

  45. Thanks so much for the heads up on PODS, Louise, but we have already looked into that idea. However, only in terms of the items that we had already decided to move down South with us, because on our last trip to South Carolina last month, we had already started to place orders for some of our furniture and arranged for their delivery. We’re just looking forward to a fresh, new start in life, which thankfully includes a new décor, as well 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now, if my husband can somehow manage to keep me away from the cookbook section of any bookstores that we may visit, we’ll be alright — LOL!

    by Valerie — May 21, 2016

  46. Valerie,
    I am with you on a fresh start. I would buy all new furniture too! That would be my dream! Where in SC are you relocating to? As far as some good recipes, go to QVC and check out their recipes! David Venable, one of the hosts, has some great recipes. If you like lasagna, try his lasagna soup! It’s awesome! However, warning, warning…QVC is a dangerous place to go to. You will be tempted to BUY things and fill your house up again! LOL! Just bought an air fryer a couple of weeks ago! LOL! This is one appliance that does get used quite often though!

    Maybe when you get to your new home you could buy a bookcase that will hold maybe 60 books and when it is filled with cookbooks you have to get rid of one book to buy another one to fit in it’s spot.

    Good luck with the move!

    by Louise — May 21, 2016

  47. Louise, QVC??? OMG — say no more –cause that’s what got me into trouble in the first place, and the place where I have bought a lot of my kitchen appliances, including my beautiful new KitchenAid Stand Mixer in “Raspberry Ice” — LOL!!! And, yes, I watch David Venable, too. And you are right, David does have some great recipes, but I must admit that although I have been sorely tempted, I have never bought either one of his cookbooks. However, I do have my eye out for the latest cookbook written by Ina Garten that is due out in October, so we will definitely have to invest in a new bookcase to hold that book, as well as my remaining stash of cookbooks, but I will definitely need to keep in mind that our new house will have neither an attic nor a basement, so I need to keep my shopping with QVC to a minimum. Otherwise, I will surely lose my happy home 🙂 🙂

    by Valerie — May 21, 2016

  48. Valerie,
    You made me LAUGH! QVC is a very dangerous place indeed! David cracks me up too. Everything he advertises he says he has one at home and loves it! The guy must live in a warehouse! LOL! Maybe Ina will have an E-book you can buy! Uh oh, no basement or attic! Hope you have lots of closets and a BIG pantry! You will have fun starting over again!

    by Louise — May 22, 2016

  49. My wife and I are moving from NC to OR. We are leaving our furniture and will only have about 30 boxes. What is the best way to ship? Thanks, Bob (comment made by Bob which we moved here)

    by Admin — July 25, 2017

  50. I found the article and the comments very helpful. Thank you for the cogent and solid advice! And, yes, also thank you for the humorous anecdotes from your personal experiences. This will really help me.

    by Bob — July 26, 2017

  51. We came across this interesting article on how to tell if something is worth saving or not. You might enjoy it.

    by Admin — July 26, 2017

  52. Admin
    Recommend RatPack if it just boxes.

    by Michael — July 26, 2017

  53. These comments concerning moving and downsizing were moved here from a different Blog for more discussion:

    For those who are moving several states away, I have a question. If you move cross country, are you selling your furniture before you leave and just taking a few things and starting again with furniture in your new location? How expensive is it to move furniture across country? I am asking as I may move from Washington DC to Oregon and am thinking I will sell most things or give away what will not sell. I will take dishes kitchen items some decorative things and books. As for Bruce, I would think the styles in Arizona are different than what one would have in Minnesota. The wisdom here will certainly be helpful.
    Thank you.
    by Jennifer — March 13, 2018

    Jennifer, IMO the best way to move is to sell everything beforehand and buy new/ used at your new destination. Less expense and a fun adventure. After moving from NY to Florida, I wish we had taken this route. Live and learn. Good luck !
    by Jim — March 13, 2018

    Jennifer, we had a 5 bedroom home before we sold it last March. We downsized and decided to purchase most things new. We questioned is as we looked at things is this worth moving or not? The kids took what they wanted and the rest was donated or tossed. We have things we are moving, but it all fits in a 10 foot POD. The cost will run us about $3K to ship the POD to Arizona.
    by Bruce — March 13, 2018 |

    Jennifer, yes, moving is expensive. When I bought my Florida condo, I bought it turnkey as I was snowbirding. When I decided to sell my Minnesota house and move full time to Florida, I sold much of my Minnesota stuff at an estate sale. Still brought too much! Have disposed of most of the stuff that came with the condo through online garage sale sites or to neighbors. If there are any high end resale shops where you’re moving, those are an excellent source for quality furniture at reasonable prices. I think the folks in Naples must redecorate every month, and I’ve profited from their discards!?
    by Linda — March 13, 2018 |

    We recently moved from Tennessee to Maine. Our mover was from Maine but he flew down, packed up some furniture, the dining room & kitchen stuff to fill a 26? box truck. Then met us in Maine 3 days later and unloaded. All of that for just over $6000 (We had set aside $8K to move). Most moving companies charge by the pound and will only quote over the phone. North American sent a guy but wanted $12,000+. Movers Unlimited charges by the job and we paid for the extra insurance – just in case. (no claim)?We downsized from 3500+ sf to 1450sf. We sent most of the furniture to auction but I couldn’t see giving stuff away then having to buy it all over again. Some of my stuff, I love! The beds were old enough to discard and a lot of extra stuff went to the local thrifts. We took a lot of books, CDs/DVDs, kitchen stuff, fabric & yarn. We closed on the new house in Sept. A friend & I drove my car up in Nov, spent a week cleaning, measuring and talking to contractors about the kitchen. The owner of a local “Condo Furniture” store came in the week before and set up beds. We stayed in a hotel the first night then had mattresses delivered the next morning so we could stay at the house. I flew home. We sold the other car and flew up with 2 cats a couple of days after the movers left.?We moved the beginning of Dec. and the TN house went on the market the next week (left a few pieces of furniture for “staging” which were picked up by the auction house before closing.) We sold the house the first day and closed in Jan. So – all went smoothly! A friend of mine now has her house on the market and is looking for a new one while she waits. She plans on using the same mover who has quoted her a higher amount for 2 trucks, loading & unloading since she has packed up nearly everything herself.?Hope that helps.?
    by Holly — March 13, 2018 |

    Jennifer, A complete move (especially cross country) is very expensive. Our last major move was almost 30 years ago, was paid for by my employer and included all packing, moving, unpacking to just 6 hours away (No VA to NC). Total cost was $15000! (Thankfully we didn’t have to pay it.) You can reduce that drastically by handling all the packing yourself — plan on a minimum few weeks of work. Reduce by selling/donating anything your don’t want and consider the “pod” option (add a few months for this option). You have more recent costs identified by others above. ?My wife and I are considering our future after being in the same home for more than 25 years (near 15 of those in retirement). We are at opposite ends of the options — I’m ready to sell/donate all and start fresh with plan to rent; she wants to sell the house, re-buy (perhaps in a retirement community) and move most all we have. And there it sits. And so do we until we find a way to agree. ?Our current home is just more than we need or can handle on our own, but we have at least 30% of our worth sunk in it. It’s in great shape and has been continually upgraded, but it is 25 minutes from anywhere/everywhere on the outskirts of the Research Triangle area of NC. We are considering staying local/in-state or moving to FL (or other deep south location). Heat/humidity is not a concern, but we have two summer vacations planned in FL to check this and areas new to us. Cost is a factor, but is not terribly restricting. So if you or anyone else has additional thoughts to sway either of us, please feel free to comment. The main concern is take/sell, but location recommendations are always nice.
    by RichPB — March 13, 2018 |

    Actually my position is not to take all the furniture but some of the furniture. In the past few years we have replaced older furniture with some new (and expensive) pieces of furniture (couches and chairs) that along with a few sentimental pieces that my husband, my stepfather and my grandfather made. It would be more expensive to replace these items than to move them. I also want to all the things involving my two hobbies genealogy and scrapbooking. that I have built up so and can do this in retirement. I always accepted that we would rent first in an area to make sure that is where we want to live but I do not find any rentals with furniture included except those that are being rented for astronomical prices as a vacation home. Most are more than $100/day which is not affordable except for a few weeks vacation. I am also finding it difficult to find any rentals within an active retirement community. Do they have rules against renting in those communities? We are only looking at northern Florida to try not to have too much heat and humidity in the summer for me. He loves the heat and humidity but I was raised in the mountains of NC and don’t even like the summer humidity in NC Piedmont. Anyone in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine area want to move to NC??
    by Sheila Beaudry — March 13, 2018 |

    I am with the idea of not moving all the furniture, (just some) but buying new when you ‘start your new life’. One of my best memories was when my Hub and I were first married buying all the new stuff for our first home. Which at that time was a mobile home. Then we moved to an apartment. Then we built our new home. Those were such wonderful times!?I have a few pieces of furniture I would move and get rid of the rest.?We just had a snowstorm which was minor considering…6 inches of snow and is still snowing like showers. AZ would be interesting to live with mostly no snow!?
    by Louise — March 13, 2018 |

    You can always attempt to pack your own things, but from my experience the movers will not insure it if they do not pack it. Selling most of my things (I already downsized to a 1200 Sq ft apt in a co-op) would be the best bet. I have Baker chairs and a sofa, also Baker. The dining room table and chairs are Amish made tiger oak. The bedroom furniture I would like to keep as my bed was hand carved in Italy….wow this is already exhausting! ?Thanks to all who made comments. I have only a few things I am attached to and those I will keep. I always learn a lot from all of you who post.?
    by Jennifer — March 13, 2018 |

    by Jane at Topretirements — March 13, 2018

  54. The movers will insure you if you pack your own things, however the standard insurance is pitiful. Not worth making a claim. Even if they pack your things, no guarantee there will not be damage or things will be lost. If you do not purchase extra insurance, making a claim is not worth it.

    by Linda — March 14, 2018

  55. Hi Linda:

    My movers that I used here in DC will not insure what they do not pack. I would always buy the insurance. I would most likely sell everything and start new if my new location turns out to be across the country–which it may. Thanks.

    by Jennifer — March 15, 2018

  56. I just moved and packed myself. The movers did insure.

    by Debra — March 15, 2018

  57. Us to Debra.
    Apparently per the movers, our state (South Carolina) has laws about movers and the way they offer their services.. We opted to pack what we could, supply our own boxes and let them handle the heavy or delicate items. They charge per hour. Our stuff is in storage. They will move it to our new residence when we are ready. Overall expensive but self packing cut down on their hired time.
    My husband reminded me the times we self moved and to remember we saved money then knowing one day physically we would be limited.
    We sold several heavy, bulky items on our local Facebook furniture page. It was easy and felt safe.

    by C — March 15, 2018

  58. I moved from SC. I used my own boxes and packed myself for the most part. They packed several large, awkward items and wrapped the furniture and mattresses. They charged by the pound.

    by Debra — March 16, 2018

  59. Yes Debra. Our movers explained when they transport to the new location they will weigh the load and base the transport charges on that. The per hour charge was for the packing and loading portion of the move. Of course we are paying for storage fees at this point.

    by C — March 16, 2018

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