Cousin Belle’s Personal Downsizing – Helpful Hints

May I first start by saying “THANK YOU” to all those who follow my blog.

My WordPress blog isn’t just a place to post advertisements for my Zazzle store, it’s a place to share some interesting tidbits of life. I’m not sure how many of you actually read these, but I’ll post this anyway in hopes that it’ll help someone.

I’m going through a long overdue downsizing of my life. Due to inheriting many things that others insisted I own, I have 3 households to downsize. I do consider it to be 3 times the work!! I’ve been trying to get rid of things for the past couple years, and I’m in the final 1/10 of my stuff.

I also love to collect antiques, but I decided those had to go unless acquired through family, and even then, I did sell some. For the most part, I decided to sell everything that wasn’t “heirloom”. Furniture-wise, I’m left with one bedroom furniture set, an occasional table, a hundred year-old small knick knack cabinet, and a telephone table from the 1920s. I own some heirloom knick knacks and musical instruments, but for the most part, all beds/mattresses, bedding, couches, room decor, Christmas tree and decorations, computer desks, craft stuff…it’s going or gone. I’m not done with the sales, but I’m moving things around every day and it’s feeling better and better.

I think it’s important for people to know the EASIEST way to get to the bottom of a downsizing project, and I would give you 3 suggestions if you ever wanted to do it:

  1. Find a consignment ‘house’ to sell your large furniture items and home decor
  2. Find an eBay reseller to sell most other items
  3. If it’s valued below $5, donate in bulk for tax receipts


Here’s my reasoning:

All people are attached to their personal belongings in some way, shape, form or memory. You might need a glass of wine to do a pre-assessment – what to keep vs. what to throw out…? I believe that “things” carry energy with them, and sometimes, we just acquire too much stuff (see: George Carlin). The people that I’ve talked who downsized have all agreed that it was tough, but SO worth the effort!

TL;DR – less stuff = more money!



HELPFUL HINTS

  • Start your downsizing by getting rid of stuff you hate. If there are boxes of things you just can’t stand to own or have bad memories of, get rid of that first. Regardless of your belief or unbelief in a divine deity, get rid of negative vibes and bad feelings…whatever it is, part with that which is easy to, first.
  • I am of the mindset that you need to physically get rid of your items first – the money can come later. If there’s not much urgency and you want to get rid of your stuff for the most amount of money, then go to consignors and resellers. You can drop off 9/10 0f all you own so they can worry about selling it.
  • Consignment stores will be a great help – you need to remove your large items first, i.e. furniture.  When you remove the larger items out of your house, you can actually see the rest of what you have, and you’ll physically have more room to spread out, organize, and downsize. Better yet, you don’t have to pay consignors up front to sell your items. Take that big stuff out of your house sooner than later so you can move around and breathe. Removing larger items makes you feel like you’re making great progress quickly, and you need that encouragement in your journey. That said, larger consignors will pick up items for you. (I got my profits by physical checks)
  • Go to eBay.com and find an official “Trading Assistant” – this is someone not only affiliated with eBay, they are authorized to resell your items. There’s a level of accountability there that’s well worth their commission. I would say the average reseller asks for a 30% commission, but it’s well worth it. You won’t have to sell your own things, ship them, mail them – let someone else do that. Besides, you don’t have to pay them up front to sell your items. AND, you can physically get rid of your items to get them out of the way. Again, you’ll “see” progress more quickly! You can arrange payments with your reseller (I got my profits by physical checks).
  • If you have items above $5 in value, sell those things with your eBay reseller. You probably won’t need to have a Yard or Garage Sale if you give most of your items to the reseller. Even selling things for $5 profits you and your reseller. My reseller sells new, used, vintage, or pretty much anything that can be shipped. Different resellers sell different types of things, but you might get lucky and find one that does it all. If not, there’s no real risk of finding more than one reseller to suit your needs. Diversify!
  • Anything worth less than $5 can be donated to very needy and worthy organizations (get a tax receipt). I found a crafting organization who took all kinds of crafty things from me; stuff that would be strange to sell at a Yard Sale (lots of paper towel and toilet paper rolls, scraps of material, glues/adhesives).
  • You can choose to have a Yard Sale, but I wouldn’t unless you don’t mind lots of people around your house, knowing what you own. I’m just not into it – I’m a very private person and don’t want people “in my business”. If you can utilize the 3 ways I suggest above, you won’t even have to deal with the general public to sell your items. I can promise you that these types of sales lend themselves to lots of stress that you don’t need. AVOID STRESS – downsizing is tough enough.

ALTERNATIVES:

  • Concierge – If you need a coordinator to help you – a concierge – there are many people who advertise themselves as “Personal Assistants” or “Professional Organizers”; they can manage all the sales if you need them. They can even manage a way to pay themselves out of your commissions, so you may not even have to pay them up front. If your downsizing coincides with a move, some realtors can be your downsizing concierge, or else they can refer you to one.
  • Craigslist – OK, I have to admit, I’ve used them for buying and selling, and I’ve had no bad experiences. The reason I can’t recommend them for downsizing: variables. Like I keep saying, downsizing is stressful enough, and Craigslist adds some frustration and aggravation at times (coordinating many emails, times to pick up). If the “people factor” doesn’t bother you, then I’d put ‘sell-it-on-Craigslist’ between the eBay reseller and donations.
  • Yard/Garage/Tag/Boot Sale – I’ve been there, done that, made lots of money this way. What I don’t like is so many people in and around my life. Can you tell I’m single? I don’t want people knowing I’m single, moving, own this or that…it’s just me. Kind-hearted people do ask questions and are well meaning, but there are plenty of people who are ill-intended and are prying to see what else you own, and checking out your personal business. However, if you have a  large family, neighborhood, or group of friends who’ll keep people honest, help with parking, help with the cash drawer, you’re in the clear. If you don’t mind all the prep work involved, and you don’t mind the people traffic, then do a yard sale. I’d avoid this route by selling all larger items on Craigslist and all cheaper items, donate for a receipt. Again – that’s just me. I know some people need “cash in fist”, so I know you have to go this route sometimes. Go for it if you’re up for it!!

If you’ve gone this far, I thank you for taking the time to read – I hope you can use this, or pass it on to someone who can. I want you to be less stressed, and it’s a huge commitment to part with most of your life’s belongings!

Wishing you all the best profits in this journey, and please give me feedback if you tried any of this advice 🙂

Traveling lighter,

Cousin Belle

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