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Once you’ve decided on those must-have items to take to your new, smaller home, the next step is to empty your current home of the remaining items. Sounds simple but if you’ve been in your home for many years, that’s a lifetime’s worth of belongings. The do-it-yourself route might not be possible because of physical and time constraints. Here are two other options for clearing out your home.

The fastest but often the most expensive option is to hire a hauler or clean-out crew to remove everything from your house and take it to a donation point and/or a landfill. These services charge by the truckload and by the hour. In addition to the expense, someone (you?) has to sort through and decide what is destined for where. If sorting is not done, items that could be reused or repurposed end up in the landfill.

Another option is to have an estate sale. Estate sales are not just for people who have passed away. They are a valuable and viable option for people downsizing.

Adult children often have full homes and/or may not want things you have cherished for years. Estate sales are a great way to get belongings to people who will not only value them but can recycle and repurpose them. As a group, estate sale shoppers tend to be a creative bunch and repurpose even the oddest of things. Outdated, dark furniture gets a coat of paint and finds a new home.  Old costume jewelry gets broken down and remade into trendier pieces. Vintage anything is valued by someone. Cookware, tools, clothing, furniture, yard items, and collections of all kinds are just some of the items that bring a crowd to an estate sale. Even half-filled containers of cleaning and gardening supplies will sell.

Some items won’t sell but you will end up with far less than you started with. Not only will some of your belongings be recycled and repurposed, what you make on the sale often more than covers the cost of dealing with what’s left. As an added bonus, if your house has not yet sold or on the market, an estate sale is a great way to attract interested buyers.

A reputable estate sale company will come your home and identify what is sellable. They set up a sale date that works with your schedule, advertise the sale, label/arrange items and manage the sale. While a minimal upfront payment is usually required, the company takes a percentage of what’s sold as payment—meaning they have a vested interest in making your sale a success. Using the estate sale option also has the benefit of requiring little effort on your part.

Knowing belongings collected over a lifetime will be reused and won’t end up in a landfill plus the monetary advantages and less work for you, make an estate sale a good option for clearing out your home when downsizing.

AUTHOR:  The owner of Chesapeake Transitions, Marilyn Leek is a Certified Senior Move Manager®.  For over a decade, holding estate sales is one of the services Chesapeake Transitions has provided to Maryland seniors and their families.

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