Selling Your Home: 4 Downsizing Tips From Realtor Victoria Carter

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From Victoria Carter

The global pandemic has prompted many families to consider where and how they want to live. HireAHelper, a website that lists moving companies nationwide, recently published an interesting study, Report: Where Americans Are Moving During The COVID-19 Pandemic, and one of the key findings was, 

“37% of people moving due to COVID moved because they couldn’t afford to live where they were living.”

Whether you are moving to a smaller space or a different one, if a move is on your horizon, it makes sense to downsize in advance. Doing so is never easy, and making your way through years of possessions requires strategic planning, preparation, and time. 

Start early, and read our 4 downsizing tips if you are thinking of selling your home: 

1. Reimagine your spaces to help with downsizing

Before you begin to downsize, consider the spaces you will be moving from and to, and get floor plans with dimensions for each. Start by looking at the square footage of the rooms. For the spaces where you are losing square footage, identify furniture or items you don’t use—perhaps a piano that is never played or an armoire that sits empty. If you have a large formal dining room and no longer entertain, plan on selling or donating the table and chairs so you can replace them with more practical, versatile furniture pieces in your new space. 

As you contemplate what furniture to keep or remove, look at storage options in the new home. If they are less than what you currently have, plan on replacing some of your current furniture with pieces that include storage. As you try to decide what stays or goes, there’s a free interactive room design tool by IKEA, which is drag and drop and can help you put your ideas on paper. 

2. Donate items your family has outgrown 

This downsizing tip sounds easy, but parting with possessions that your family, and in particular, children have outgrown, is very hard. It helps to have a strategy in place. For example: 

  • Look at your possessions and take note of items you use regularly versus those that haven’t seen the light of day in a year. 
  • Set aside anything that doesn’t serve your current needs.
  • Identify places where you can donate your unused items. 
  • Calendar dates for drop-offs or pick-ups.

Due to COVID-19, many donation pickup services have been put on hold. An interesting online and home-based alternative is eBay for Charity. You select a charity, and then when you sell and ship your items on eBay, part of the proceeds can be designated for charity. If you are willing to donate 10% or more of the proceeds, your item may even be featured or listed in the eBay Charity Shop. It’s a little more work to do it yourself, but ultimately you can get rid of items and help a charity of your choice too. 

3. Use your town services when downsizing

Many townships have town yards managed by their departments of public works. These facilities will accept drop-offs of many items you no longer need. For example, some of the items accepted by the Township of Millburn include: 

  • E-Cycling
  • Indoor and outdoor furniture
  • Televisions
  • Clothing and toys
  • Rugs, mattresses, and box springs

For large white goods such as air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators,  many towns will allow residents to schedule a pickup, and you can leave the items curbside.

4. Sell your used furniture online

There is a thriving online community for used furniture. This excellent blog by Millennial Money, 21 Places to Sell Used Furniture (& Make Money Fast), lists almost two dozen websites for used furniture sales. Using your smartphone, you can snap and upload photos, write the descriptions, provide a location for pickup, and set your own prices. If there are fees involved in the transaction, they are disclosed on the website.

For some apps, the buyer can put in a counteroffer for the item listed. Others allow you to set up a meeting location so you can avoid shipping fees. It’s worth noting that while listing items is typically “free,” most sites will take a commission on the furniture sale. 

Although downsizing is stressful and time-consuming, it is often a necessary part of moving. Whether you choose to sell your items online, donate or dispose of them, luckily, there are many resources that can help. If you are thinking about putting your home on the market and have questions about downsizing or any of our northern New Jersey communities, I would love to assist you. Contact Victoria at (973) 220-3050 or email

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