Dealing with the Dilemma of Downsizing.
Downsizing! To some it is a vile and nasty word. I just can't throw it away, I might need it! It belonged to my mother! I have to keep all the records. It's valuable, and the kids might want it. To others, downsizing will become a joy to finally shed the shackles of stuff: empty, simplify, dump, and welcome the new. Take the best and dump the rest.
We are constantly re-creating our selves. Change, good or bad, is a stark reality and the only thing that gets us through is our attitude and possibly a little help from your certified personal property appraiser.
Many appointments we have are with clients who are moving and are in a quandary about what to do? As estate consultants, the advice we give is basically the same for everyone: once you have decided to move, begin the process now. Preparation is the key for both the reality of the move and for the mental adjustment that is necessary.
JOB NUMBER ONE: Start cleaning closets, cabinets, storage areas, and the garage. Decide what treasures will follow you to your new Shangri-La! It is like an over seas trip: you pack your suite case, carry it around the block, and come home and take about half the stuff out because you realize you just don't need the excess baggage. The same applies to your up coming move.
JOB NUMBER TWO: Contact your children and other relatives and ask "do you want this or that?" If they do, give it TODAY. You can live without the desk or the china hutch or set of dishes; get it out NOW. It will help you adjust to the fact you are moving. Once you start to let go, it will become much easier on you. If someone says to you, "we might want this?" Let them know that MIGHT is not in your vocabulary; you need to know. To store items for a later date will only cost you, and most likely the costs will out weigh the value of what you have stored.
JOB NUMBER THREE: Go through and file ALL important papers in ONE file box! You do NOT need your tax papers back to President Eisenhower! The last five years, yes! Start shredding.
Downsizing also means you will have stuff that no one will want, no matter how much you beg your son or daughter to take the hard rock maple bedroom set that was in their bedroom. They just don't want it, and they have no kind way of telling you. What should you do? You have TWO choices:
Choice #1: Have an appraiser come in and do a certified report at fair market value for charitable donation. Everything that you do not want goes in to the report. You not only have a taxable write off, but you will be helping the charity of your choice. The only BAD news is that 99% of the charities will NOT come in and box, bag, load, and haul your unwanted treasures off to their local recycling headquarters. YOU have to bag, box, and prepare EVERYTHING for a scheduled pick up. Too much work. Who wants to add more labor to an already stressful situation.
SOLUTION: There is a local auction house that we work with to help reduce the anxiety. After you move and have taken everything you need, and a few things you don't, the auction house will come in and empty EVERYTHING and leave your house broom clean. Your treasures are then auctioned off and the proceeds will be given to the charity of your choice. You don't care what it brings because you will have your report for tax purposes.
Choice #2: Have an estate sale! Once you move, you turn your house over to an honest, reliable, specialist who will represent you with the integrity that is required. Remember: an estate sale is liquidation value, less 30% to 40% commission for a total house cleanout. At the end of a sale, you will be handed a check for the net amount. Let's say the sale grosses $3000, your check after expenses and commission will be $1800 to $2100. If the money is necessary to help you off-set the move, then consider a sale! Your house will be emptied and broom clean.
Moving is upsetting for most people....YOU have to take the first step to start the journey...take it now.