Downsizing – tasks & priorities.

Moving and selling? Having to think about both the old and the new home at the same time is a lot to content with for anyone. For people who have suffered a loss or maybe aren’t as physically strong as they used to be, it’s not unusual for the task of ‘downsizing’ to the added to the mix……no wonder it’s considered one of life’s trauma!

The good news is with a bit of planning or simply by hiring a Professional Organizer, people survive the process every day.

Where to start? Get your priorities right.

Most aspects of moving and settling can be adjusted even after the event. It’s not so easily done when it comes to the sale of the home, and with much history and money invested in it, a good sale becomes the top priority for most people on the move. 

It means saving money, time and energy by making sure your home looks great, photographs well, attracts the interest of lots of buyers and sells quickly. It means keeping motivated, being on top of market needs and on schedule with e.g. payments, booking professionals, appointments, schools and work commitments.  

Once you have a broad schedule, the first task you want to attack is therefore going through and editing what items you have, and what those items can do for the house sale and your future. It’ll save moving items around just to bin them later, and removal men won’t be paid for bringing items to the new home just to bin it there. The same kind of savings are also made by not making new purchases until absolutely necessary.

With such a lot to do it can seem a bit overwhelming. But remember there’s blue sky at the end of it all

Sorting and zoning.

Placing ‘like with like’, grouping your belongings, and placing them where you’ll logically need them, is sorting and zoning. You can divide each group of items into sub-groups e.g. wardrobe into tops, shoes, bags a.s.o.. After that some items can be sorted further by season.

The necessary groupings will become obvious as you go through items and see what you have, and if you create only a few groups to sort by, it will be easier for you to remember which group is which as you sort. 

After a little while it’s easy to see which items are necessary and precious to you, which items are needed to present your home to achieve the best possible sale, and which can go out without hesitation.

                              You are sorting items to:         

  •                   -make sure it’ll fit storage in your new home,
  •                   -present your home for best possible sale,
  •                   -find and retain your style and memories,
  •                   -and move forward in your life.

You can use rooms, not available to you once you move, for storing items needed to be picked up, valued or to help display the house for sale. These spare rooms are also ideal for sorting things pulled from hard-to-work in areas like the attic, hall and garage.(It’s a good idea to protect with plastic or paper, so the rooms look their best for the sale.) 

Whenever tempted to try items on, reading through papers or otherwise lingering,
pull yourself back on to the task of sorting,
or you’ll lose momentum and soon after motivation.

Be realistic about how many shelf meters, rail meters, storage cubic meters and how much floor space you’ll have in the new home. There is no point moving items which won’t fit once there. No excuses? The only excuse to keep things is when those items will help sell your home as desirable and well proportioned. And you need to plan either selling them with the house or get rid of them before the new owner moves in.

Getting rid of items

Items to deal with are:

  • Heirloom. Remember heirlooms can’t be replaced, and even broken items can be someone’s history. So chat to your family about it, share photos of items or have family come see them.
  • Items stored for others. Now is the time to say “sorry – no more”. It’s ok to allow yourself to not have the responsibility for other people’s stuff just now. This is not saying you don’t love or want to help them; only that just now your need them to help you. Not your problem how they remove or store their stuff either – you have enough to sort as it is.
  • Items to be valued by a professional. It might not be something you’ve tried before and might add some fun to the otherwise slightly heavy experience of packing up. Ask if others – including those whose items you have stored – might want to pitch in and have some of their items valued in the process, and it could be less expensive than you think. Who knows what you’ll learn and what you might earn by selling certain items? I haven’t done it for decades, so I’d be keen to hear what you have all experienced, if you can recommend someone, or if you offer a valuation service.
  • Items which are ruined. If they are not heirlooms, get rid. For heirlooms see above.
  • Other items you don’t like or need: if you are sure others won’t have them, sell them, donate to good causes and generally dispose of items responsibly.

Adding value 

If you are losing a garden in the  move, consider neatly arranging and selling a few of your gardening tools with the house. It can add to the feeling of an easy move for the buyer, and you might earn money instead of paying to hire a skip to put it all in.

The same goes for out door pots, garden furniture, soft furnishing, furniture, appliances etc. particularly if they are quality brands or fit well with the measurements of odd spaces.


You can watch many ‘homes under the hammer’, ’60 minute make-over’, ‘location, location, location’, ‘grand designs’ etc. and still not achieve a look which attracts buyers. Some things to consider:

  • good curb appeal,
  • house ranking in the neighbourhood,
  • presenting your house for the kind of buyer the neighbourhood and size of home attracts,
  • making sure your house looks great in photos,
  • presenting good and interesting lighting,
  • child safety issues,
  • and much, much more…….


You might want to hire a professional for that second pair of eyes even if you do feel talented. Remember the quicker the sale, the shorter the period of having to pay for having two homes.

Still not convinced you need any of this? If you leave everything where it is, you have to hope potential buyers like the photos of your home enough to come view, have imagination enough to see the potential in your house for them,  and when you move you move too much content, at great expense, to the new house where there isn’t room for it.

My very best wishes to you and your move – call me when you get stuck. Or before.