If you’ve lived in the same home for a long time, you have very likely accumulated a lot of “stuff”. Like most people, over the course of a lifetime we collect a myriad of items: furniture, trinkets, books, china, silverware and other treasures. When you are preparing to move, especially if you are downsizing, you will be faced with the question of what to do with everything. This is a difficult choice, and one that most of my senior clients face when they are ready to make a lifestyle change and move from the home in which they raised their family to a smaller home, condo or retirement residence.
THE HISTORY OF YOUR THINGS
We form emotional attachments to the things with which we surround ourselves. For most people, the items in our homes have deep and meaningful memories attached to them. Glance at anything in your home and you can remember where you acquired it, or when, or who gave it to you. This is particularly true for figurines. If you have a large collection and you know your new home will not have the space for all of them, how do you choose which ones to let go?
The same holds true for everything you love. It’s impossible to give up the wooden spoon with the scorch marks slashed across its bowl that houses the memory of your youngest child learning how to cook. The Royal Doulton or Portmeirion tea cups with matching saucers reminds you of afternoons sipping tea with your sister. The heavy wooden coffee table may be the first piece of furniture you and your spouse purchased as a couple. These items hold joy for us, packaged neatly in our family history and our memory. It’s not an easy feat to let things go and it can be painful to release these items and to imagine them living in someone else’s home or worse, the dump.
HOW TO CHOOSE
The first step to sorting out what will move with you is to decide what you absolutely cannot live without and which items hold less of an attachment. If you know the dimensions of your new home, spend some time figuring out which items you wish to keep, but will not fit. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to approach your family and ask them what, if any, items they’d be interested in taking. Ideally, you can keep the heirlooms in the family, but you need to be prepared to hear that the items you hold dear have no value to anyone else. Young people are generally not very interested in anything from “grandma’s house”. Acknowledge that your items hold meaning for you, but someone else will not share that sentiment.
HOW TO DISTRIBUTE
Aside from handing off your things to family members, there are various ways to distribute the stuff you have to leave behind. Before giving away anything, you should assess what items have actual value. Auctioneers, appraisers and other experts can assess your items and tell what has financial value and is desirable on the market. They can also help you re-home those items and will sell them on your behalf for a commission.
Any items that are not sellable can be donated to various organizations. There may be some limits or restrictions on what an organization can take, so it's best to check beforehand. Which organization will take what may also be location-dependant. For example, Goodwill in one area may take furniture, while another will not. Some charities will gladly schedule a pick-up, while with others you may have to find a way to get your items to them. Give some thought to smaller organizations such as church groups or service clubs (like Optimist or Kiwanis) that might be able to pick up your items and re-home them.
WHERE TO GET HELP
As a Master Accredited Senior Agent, I can walk you through the process of downsizing and offer some guidance on how to determine what you’d like to keep. I have a growing list of experts who can assist you with the valuation and distribution of your goods, as well as packing up your home and unpacking at your new home. The most important thing is to recognize that you had your enjoyment from the items you are letting go and it’s okay to free them to have a new life. It is possible to detach yourself from the items while still holding on to the memories and joy they brought you. If you need further assistance with downsizing, please reach out to me. I can help you manage this process and connect you with the right people who will make this transition a little easier.
As we shift from a trash economy to a repurpose economy, the list of organizations who will distribute your unwanted items continues to grow. Here is a list of resources.
Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga
Habitat for Humanity will take everything from household items to tools to clothes. Items are sold in their ReStore which funds the administrative side of Habitat's organization. All donations to Habitat directly fund the building of affordable homes. They will pick up items, salvage ones that might otherwise go to the dump and have recently launched a Revive program.
Sell This For Me
Serving Toronto, Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, and Waterloo, Sell This For Me will auction your goods in an estate sale. They can come to your house, take photos of the items for sale and list them online or house them at another location to sell.
MaxSold sells items by online auction. This is another easy solution as they will come to your house, take photos of the items for sale and list them online. There is an Ontario Horseshoe branch serving the Horseshoe region.
Aldershot Lions Club Garage Sale
Located in Burlington, the Lions Club will send someone to your home to determine what they'll accept and will pick up and deliver to the store to sell to others.
Accepts all manner of goods: household items, furniture, kitchen wares, books. Almost anything you want to give away, Goodwill is happy to take. They do not offer pickup service, so you will have to drop off donations on your own.
You can also check with your local library branch to determine if they are willing to take donations of books.
Millionaire's Daughter (Hamilton and Oakville)
Kerr Home Decor
Bogart Home & Decor Consignment
Organize Me Please
Move Seniors Lovingly
Too Good to Dump
The link will take you to the Oakville and surrounding areas page, but there are various cities, towns and villages with their own Too Good to Dump Facebook pages.
As always, I'm happy to help in any way I can. Please don't hesitate to call or text me at 905-330-5201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.