House & Home

Downsizing: How to shed a house full of stuff


So how do you downsize from a suburban home with a two-car garage to a one-bedroom apartment?

Shannon Claire Smith and Nicholas Herman got rid of most of their furniture plus 90 percent of their books and half their clothes in about a month. Here are their tips for anyone about to make a move:

▪ Edit, edit, edit. Re-evaluate your past choices. Ask yourself whether you would buy that piece again, given the chance. If the answer is no, consider listing it on sites such as Craigslist or Krrb, and use the money toward something you absolutely love.

▪ Have weekly yard sales. Price a new batch of things each week for a weekend sale. Keep prices low to get them moving. Think of buyers as people who are doing you a favor by hauling your things away for you. At the end of the day, take the leftovers to the curb and put out a curb alert on Craigslist or Freecycle.

▪ Don’t expect to make money. Time is of the essence. The idea is to get the stuff out of your house.

▪ Use this as an opportunity to start fresh. You may have had used or hand-me-down furniture sticking around as placeholders. By moving, you’ll be able to make new choices and upgrade to things you like better.

▪ Ask for free storage. If there are things you just can’t part with (prom dresses, heirloom chests) but have no room for in your new place, ask friends or relatives with large basements and attics whether you might store them there. Under no circumstances should you rent a storage unit. You’ll never get rid of it.