Downsizing with The Bangor Daily News

In this very busy real estate market more and more people are needing help with moving.  I was proud to be part of Julia Bayly’s article, “How to Downsize Your Stuff for a Move” in The Bangor Daily News.  She found some Maine organizers to give her some tips for people needing these kinds of services.

Downsizing in Newton

Put it on the Calendar

Put it on the calendar first. Everything has to happen in real time so if you are serious about getting started before you are under the gun of moving day you need to block off a time slot on your schedule and make it a regular event.  Even an hour every other day, if you stay obedient will make that moving day much easier.  The more time you have to triage the more control you have over the destiny and amount of money each item you choose to let go will garner.  Get it out of your head and onto paper you guide your life by.  In the end it’s a question of how much you love space in your living quarters and how much money and efforts you have for storage.

Ms. Bayly writes:
Downsizing for Space

Get Supplies

Once you come to your first scheduled day of organizing be sure to have handy trash bags, boxes and a Sharpie pen for marking boxes.  Another good idea whenever organizing is to bring a paper and pen or pencil to make To-Do list that arises naturally as you go through things.  Trash bags are easily shaped to fit in that last crevice in your car when taking donation at the end of your work time, much easier than boxes. But boxes are good for heavy items and the things you decide you want to make the move to your new place.  Try to have only one category in each box and label according to what room it should be placed in by the movers.  I like the Sharpie method because it is the fastest.  I have known many who think they must have the labels who get bogged down when they run out or with the logistics of keeping them in order for what you have on hand to store.  To make it easier on the movers you can mark them on the top and side.


Start Easy

Last thing you want to do is start the challenging process by opening family heirlooms you had stored in the attic of guest bedroom closet or garage.  That’s just setting you up for failure if the process is at all difficult for you or you are on your own.  Choose instead a category that has the least emotional baggage so you can have success right out of the gate to keep you motivated to continue.  Also don’t pick items from around the house randomly or you will make chaos in short order. Instead pick one category only and finish to completion before starting another.

Ms. Bayly continues:

Downsizing Hierlooms

downsizing boxes by room

Be Honest

Take a look at what is currently in storage. Do you really need to pay to have it packed, shipped and unpacked again? Decide to let things that you can replace rather easily go because by moving it to the new space you could buy new instead when you get there.  If you are stuck in a quandary about an item take a moment to ask yourself why you are keeping it. When do you use it? Why do you use it? Who uses it? Asking these questions helps you to titrate down to the essence of the reason you save it.  Once you answer these questions you will have an easier time editing your things.  If you have not used an item in over a year chances are you really don’t need it.

Bangor Daily News:


Get Evaluated

Once you start triaging the items in your home and trying to hone down the mass to be the essential you want to pay to move you will end up with things you have saved because they might be worth money.  My clients have liked Maritime International in Bangor, Maine for old coins, stamps, baseball card collection, silver and gold.  You should consult a well-known and respected valuator or auction house to ask about your things’ value.  They will often give you an idea by looking at your collection for free.


When you have targeted the things to let go you can donate to Goodwill for a tax write off if you itemize.  Google what the current tax year tax law says.   You can try selling your item on FaceBook Marketplace or Craigslist or eBay but the corresponding with inquiries will take time and patience. Just be aware of that going into it. You might elect to start an account at a local consignment store. Just know they are very picky about what they take and you only get a small percent and/or credit in the store.  This is also a bit of a hassle so you want to keep that in mind too.  If you are moving a way from the area that might be useless.  If you are producing a lot of trash have a local rubbish removal company put a dumpster of appropriate size in your drive near the house if possible.  The next hard thing to do is to have a yard sale.  They usually yield a few hundred dollars and you can also hire a company or a professional organizer to do an estate sale for you. Bothe these options come with effort and time on your part.  If you are a social person you may love meeting all the people who come to the sale. Anyone who has had anything to do with the house will stop by and you will make lots of new connections but it takes a special kind of person to be into this process.

Getting Stuck?

Always a good idea to write down questions for a professional organizer, mover or move management specialist.  Along with Google they are your best resource for best preparation.  I recommend everyone call a few places to get whatever information they will offer about how to best prepare.  You will always forget something but try to narrow the margin a bit.  If you choose to hire a specialist they should make the process half as hectic, chaotic and time consuming for you, the client.  Hiring a professional to come on-site might be a financial commitment but you can get affordable assistance virtually.  You’d be surprised how cheaply you can go through a room to edit all of what you do not want to pay to move.  Just remember help is just a phone call away.

More from the Bangor Daily News:

downsizing with a professional

Check out the article for more tips from other Maine professional organizers.

Are you ready to get downsizing? Contact us now to get started!

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