For some, that means moving to a smaller home, clearing out some clutter, and saving some cash in the process. It’s a big job, and one that can be emotional at times.
ABC7 talked with some downsizing experts to learn tips for parents like Jen Garrett, whose youngest son just left for college.
Now that all three of her children are out of the house, Garrett said she’s leaving too.
“It’s going to be hard in a lot of ways,” she said. “I’m ready though.”
Garrett said she’s downsizing from a five-bedroom house with a full basement and a huge barn she works out of, to a three-bedroom home on a much smaller property in South Carolina.
“Definitely, my expenses are going to go way down,” she said.
Downsizing experts like Jacquie Denny of the online auction site Everything But the House say if you’re going to downsize, the earlier the better. You can take any money you make to add to retirement funds, and the older you get, the more difficult it is to move.
“For different people, they hang onto the very end – until the steps become too much,” she said.
Denny and the staff at Everything But the House photograph, catalog and sell items that families want to get rid of in order to downsize. She said, true to their name, everything goes – and sometimes, she and her crew make discoveries that turn a big profit.
“I’ve sold a World Series ring for $90,000, and Tupperware for $9,” she said of the gamut of items she often finds.
Denny said most of us under- or over-value possessions, so it’s good to talk with a person who knows market value, what will sell, and what won’t.
“[What will sell] are retro-type furnishings, first-edition books,” she said. “[What won’t are big-box robo TVs, old exercise equipment.”
If you plan to do your own liquidation, give yourself plenty of time, she advised.
“That is not pleasant – to go through all the stuff that’s in your basement,” Jen Garrett commented.
Garrett said she will miss the places where her kids grew up.
“I feel like I need to go around and take pictures of stuff,” she said.
But, she likes the feeling of lightening her load, she added.
“In fact, I think I’m getting a little ruthless now,” she said with a laugh of the quickness she is getting rid of things. “I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.”
One last tip Denny offered – you shouldn’t be offended if your family and friends don’t want to take things from your downsize.
“Remember – they love you, not your stuff,” she said.