• Crackers Clearout

Downsizing: How to Reduce Stress when Preparing to Sell & Move

Change means different things to different people. For some, change can be hugely positive, exciting and rewarding – for others the very mention of the word “change” can bring feelings of stress, anxiety and, for them, the negative aspects far outweigh the positive.

Regardless of how change personally impacts you, how you manage the change process can significantly impact how that change affects your life.

For some, moving house signifies the start of a new and exciting journey. For others, it can be a heart-wrenchingly difficult time, perhaps happening more out of necessity than desire.

Many Australians aged over 55, living in their own home, have a massive chunk of their personal wealth tied up in their primary residence. This is not an ideal scenario – especially for those looking to retire or reduce work hours. Deciding to sell your large, long term, family home to downsize can bring on stress, anxiety, even feelings of dread about what lies ahead, which can have a flow-on effect to those around you.

Crackers’ Clearout specialises in helping people prepare to put their long-term home on the market, and move into a smaller residence. Here we share some simple tips to help reduce the pressure and stress of downsizing.

Start Planning Early

As soon as you decide to put your home on the market, it’s essential to start planning how you’ll attack the decluttering process.

If you know where you’re moving, spend time taking photos and measurements of your new home – storage spaces, cupboards, the garage – and work out whether you can take your larger furniture and even whitegoods with you. This is a good time to consider things like whether you can install a garden shed if you need the storage. You’ll need to consider things like:

• Access into your new home – will the entrance, lift or stairwell accommodate your furniture?

• Will the fridge, washing machine, microwave, dining table, bed and lounge fit the space available?

• Is it worthwhile bring my tools and gardening equipment?

• Will my crockery fit in the dishwasher or the cupboards?

It might feel overwhelming to have to consider so much – but it’s better than turn up to discover you have a moving truck full of items that you can’t get through the front door.

If you don’t yet know where you’re moving to, you can still do a lot of planning and preparing, but ensure you don’t dispose of anything too early that you could end up needing again later – it could become a costly mistake.

Consider the Real Estate Process

If you’re selling your home, it’s important to employ an excellent real estate agent with a high profile in the local area, a record of successful sales and a good reputation. Importantly, the agent should be able to recommend reliable, professional service providers to help you prepare your home for sale and move. A good agent will be able to recommend gardeners, cleaners, junk removal services, packers, removalists and handypeople, to ensure you don’t have to waste time researching options.

Some things your real estate agent may recommend could impact the order and how your decluttering or downsizing preparation flows:

• Staging your home for sale – there may be some items that you know you won’t take with you to your new home, but work beautifully to help present your current home in its best light. If you’re aiming to offload items quickly, make sure you keep a list of items that need to go after your home has sold.

• Clearing up the garden – again, you may find that you have an outdoor setting or water feature that is perfect to help make you current home look great – but won’t suit your new home. This could include things like the lawnmower – it’s important you keep it on hand right up until you do a last clean up ahead of handing over the keys, but there’s no point taking your lawnmower to a property with paving – or a community with a gardener.

• Putting items into storage – often a real estate agent will suggest you move items into storage to declutter your home during the sale process. If you have a shed or garage you can use, it will save you money – and moving costs. However, sometimes there’s no option but to move these items off-site into paid storage. Whilst most storage facilities offer reasonable monthly rates, it’s a good idea to consider whether you have continuing need for the items that you intend putting into storage, so you don’t pay for storage for something that will ultimately be sold, given away or otherwise disposed of.

Schedule the Declutter

Schedule your declutter, room-by-room, space-by-space, over several weeks if necessary. Remember outdoor areas, the garden, storage spaces, garage, sheds and under the house.

It’s essential to allocate an appropriate amount of time to each space and stick to the schedule. So, for example, if you have a kitchen that has ten cupboards and a butlers pantry, you’d have to allocate considerably more time to decluttering than if you had four cupboards and a basic pantry.

Be realistic with your timings – if you’ve allowed yourself plenty of time for the declutter, the entire “prepare for sale” process will be far less stressful than if you leave everything ‘til the last minute.

Plan for Disposal

Know what you’re going to do with items that you can’t or won’t be taking to your new home. If your dining table is a solid 10-seater and you only have space for a 6-seater in your new home, plan how you will dispose of your old table. Some ideas include:

1. Auction House - Consider contacting an auction house (or two) to see if they can sell your items. They may send someone out to you to assess your allotment but are more likely to ask for photographs via email. We’re finding local auction houses are rejecting older style, large timber furniture items unless they are considered antiques or quality brands such as Parker – and need to be in excellent condition.

2. Sell items online – Facebook marketplace, Gumtree and ebay are still great options when it comes to selling your preloved furniture and household items. Be aware that occasionally there are scammers around – so if a situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You may also find that a purchaser has agreed to buy your item, turns up and then proceeds to knock the price down, considerably. It’s your choice whether you choose to go ahead with the sale – but sometimes it’s simpler to sell for a reduced price than try to achieve top dollar.

3. Donate – if you’re looking to donate to charity, it pays to do your research. The big charities tend to be VERY picky about what they accept, based on age, condition and their storage capacity. So don’t take offence if your beloved 30 year old, perfect condition, leather lounge is rejected – it just doesn’t meet their needs. There are many smaller charitable groups that are more likely to accept older items such as The Generous & The Grateful.

4. Give away – you may want to pass items on to family, friends or someone you know. If you do, make sure they are happy to take the items prior to just handing them over – it’s unfair to dump items on people when they don’t really want or need them. Another option for giving items away is to offer them up on local community or Buy, Swap & Sell Facebook pages. Often items get snapped up – and collected quickly.

5. Recycle or dispose – council clean up is a great option for recycling or getting rid of items that don’t really have lift left in them. Check with your local council whether they offer scheduled curbside pick up dates or whether you can schedule a private pick up. Unfortunately, some councils don’t offer this valuable service and you will need to dispose of the items yourself or through a paid disposal service.

6. Call in the professionals Crackers’ Clearout offers a professional home clearance, rubbish and junk removal service. We come to you, remove the items and take them for appropriate disposal. We aim to reuse, repurpose and recycle where possible to minimise the amount sent to landfill.

Home Clearance Help

Crackers Clearout can help you at any stage during the downsizing your home process.

During decluttering – create a pile and we’ll take it off you hands

During preparing for sale – if the stylish or real agent has suggested clearing out the shed or garage before the home goes on the market, we’ll come and remove the items for you

Moving day – you’ve realised that items won’t fit through the front door of your new home – we’ll come and take the items, and your stress away

In your new home – so you thought your retro green lounge would look great in your new modern minimalist apartment – but the facts are it just doesn’t work and you’ve bought the lounge you’ve been eyeing off for months. We’ll come and take the lounge away – so you can make way for you new furniture

If you have any questions regarding downsizing, decluttering and rubbish, junk or home clearance needs during the real estate sales process, call Crackers’ Clearout on 1300 257 688

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