Avoiding Chaos When Downsizing & Selling Your Home

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Avoiding chaos when downsizing & selling your home is most important if you are a senior who is facing the big downsize. It’s important we understand that even if we have moved many times, downsizing is not a regular move, for many reasons.



When moving and selling/buying a home, many people first call a real estate agent, as for most people, the actual house sale is an important part of the equation, especially if the equity in their house is the largest asset they own.

If so, selling it may be an integral part of funding their future home.

With a large downsize or estate settlement, selling the house should not be considered the primary problem.

It is simply just one of many aspects of THE problem.

Selling the house is easy – especially in today’s market where there are more potential buyers than there are homes available for sale.

Dealing with the lifetime of accumulations in the house is NOT easy.

Via an online webinar, it was my goal for my audience to learn the right approach to help them avoid chaos when downsizing and selling their home.

You can watch the webinar recording on demand anytime here:

Or, read on if you would like to learn the right approach to avoid chaos when downsizing and selling your home!



At this very moment, millions of Americans are considering a large downsize, or they are helping someone who is.

They are on the fence because they are overwhelmed by the thought of downsizing and they simply don’t know where to start.

When is downsizing the right choice? | Organized Haven

Their biggest hurdle they are facing is the question of what to do with everything they’ve collected on the inside of the house!

They know, though, that a change to their living arrangements is necessary, whether it be for safety, health, companionship or financial reasons.

I wrote about this over on the blog: Should I Downsize and move to a Retirement Community or Age-in-Place?



Most people are independently capable of making their own decisions, but not always in cases of downsizing and settling an estate.

Unanticipated aspects of downsizing and estate settlement | Organized Haven

Sometimes one spouse has made the key decisions and that person might now be gone or unable to communicate.

Family members who are involved (sometimes overinvolved) may have opinions that conflict with those of the senior themselves and their best interests when evaluating downsizing options.

Oftentimes, we are involved in conversations surrounding the “value” of the items collected in a home as we are responsible for finding buyers at an estate sale.

The perceived monetary value of these articles are at an inflated height based on the perception of individual family members.

At the time of purchase, they may have been expected to appreciate in value, but truthfully, prices for many of these articles fell throughout the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, the people who still own them (or their family members) are convinced their collection is worth a fortune. Here’s a short list of examples:

  • art glass
  • old oil paintings
  • figurines
  • lamps
  • weapons
  • clocks
  • bureaus
  • paper weights
  • mirrors
  • cabinets

Another truth is that some family members have plans for their share of estate proceeds. Hoping and wishing for a fortune simply clouds their judgment.

This results in large collections not only in the home, but also in storage units, resulting in an all-consuming project and high storage costs!



One of the key reasons we feel stressed when we consider downsizing is that we don’t know where to begin.

We listen to our friends and family, and many of them have suggestions and even want to help, yet many of us still don’t get practical information.

Proper Sequence - Sell the House or the Excess Contents First? | Organized Haven

Most of us have moved more than once in our lives – particularly by the time we are ready for the big downsize.

We think that because of this, we should be capable of this downsize.

We need to understand that downsizing is not a regular move, for a lot of reasons.

First, understand that one size does not fit all situations. The best solution for a 40-year-old juggling a mortgage may not be the best solution for an 80-year-old who has all equity in her or his home.

When most people downsizing hear that they can move first, they often feel relief and joy, followed by a double check to see if that is in fact even possible, which of course for many seniors, it is.

Moving and dealing with the excess contents first accomplishes a number of key things, including increased control, better choices, and most importantly, less stress!

So, needless to say, involving a Senior Move Manager® in such a complex project BEFORE hiring a Realtor® and listing your house for sale is my expert advice.

Read more about hiring a Senior Move Manager® over on the blog here: 7 Reasons to Hire a Senior Move Manager®



By now, it might be obvious how real estate selling is different for downsize and estate situations.

How Real Estate Selling is Different for Downsize and Estate Situations | Organized Haven

No, we don’t really bring a therapist along to get people through moving day, but if you’ve moved before, you can probably relate!

They say that moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s lifetime.

Imagine how stressful it is when you’re 85 and going through the biggest downsize of your life!

Everyone has inclinations, which often become more pronounced as we grow older. As we age, many of us become less able to deal with complexity.

Stress makes mental and other health issues worse. Even the act of planning to move to a retirement community can be a huge strain.

Many real estate agents might argue that there is no difference between an estate or downsize house and any other house, but a downsizing specialist understands that is not the case…

Many important differences include atypical details around insurance, title, authority, security, probate, client health and goals, and so much more.

Even the presence or lack of furnishings is affected by real estate or staging advice that doesn’t always appreciate the complexity of all the other things the executor or downsizer is managing.

Advice coming from only the real estate prospective creates stress and pressure in other areas important to the estate or downsize seller.

One of the challenges in approaching downsizing is to understand that there are more forces than simply the pursuit of “the best” price for two key reasons:

  • “the best” is not a quantifiable or measurable term (it is very difficult to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the price one realtor will get you will be the best)
  • there are things of higher value than price – namely health (the lowest stress option would be “the best” for a downsize or estate client in which goals should revolve not on price, but on time of the sale… NOT MARKET TIMING, BUT RELOCATION TIMING & CLIENT NEEDS)

If all of the reasons I’ve shared with you so far weren’t enough, let’s throw another dynamic into this picture – downsizing for the senior with dementia!

You can learn more about this on the blog here: 5 Tips for Downsizing with Dementia



By now, you understand WHY dealing with the excess household goods FIRST is important to help you avoid chaos when downsizing and selling your home.

If I know my usual audience well, I know that their next important question is HOW to deal with the excess household goods.

What and How to Deal with Excess Household Goods | Organized Haven

Baby boomers face extraordinary challenges when downsizing a lifetime of things.

Oftentimes, their kids and grandkids don’t want any of it!

That leaves everyone involved wondering… What do we do with it all now?

We go into greater detail on the blog: The Kids Don’t Want It… What Now?, but for the purpose of this post, we learned years ago how important it was to have a downsizing option for our clients and their families that was safe & secure, efficient, transparent, and, most importantly, worked!

It was in 2016 that we first partnered with the online auction house, MaxSold, to begin providing our clients with the peace-of-mind of a one-stop solution for all of their downsizing needs.

We’ve learned how important it is to understand your options and the value they provide in terms of dollars and SENSE.

With MaxSold, our clients get the most value out of their estate AND their downsizing experience, for many reasons:

What Value does MaxSold provide compared to a normal estate sale or other online sales method? | Organized Haven



At the end of the day, why do Central Florida’s seniors and families not only hire Organized Haven for their downsizing and moving needs, but consider us their primary resource for preparing for the sale of their home?

How can Organized Haven Prepare Sellers for the Sale of Their Home? | Organized Haven

Organized Haven is a NASMM A+ Accredited moving, downsizing and estate clearing company with a team of Professional Organizers and Senior Move Managers®.

We are trained and experienced in helping seniors, families, and busy professionals with decision-making when downsizing, space planning, packing, moving, unpacking and organizing.

We are different than most other Professional Organizing and Senior Move Management® companies as we also have our own highly experienced and truly professional movers and estate sellers.

We are able to provide value in both dollars and sense when moving and can accomplish a full downsize and estate clearing in under 2 weeks on average with a high-level of detail orientation.

So, the true question is, why wouldn’t one hire a Senior Move Management® company like Organized Haven to avoid chaos when downsizing and selling their home?

A Senior Move Manager® is your best resource for a stress-free move or age-in-place plan.

A trained and vetted member of NASMM is properly insured for all services provided, such as packing and moving.

We are also trained and experienced in serving seniors with hoarding tendencies or dementia and managing all moving parts of the most challenging of transitions.



More on-demand webinars with organizing and downsizing resources, tips and solutions can be found on our YouTube channel here: https://bit.ly/39ccCS7

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Organized Haven helps Polk County and Central Florida seniors and their families who wish to “rightsize” their home and the contents within.

Whether aging-in-place in the comfort of your own home or downsizing and moving to smaller living arrangements, follow us for solutions to help you meet your organizing goals.


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Happy Downsizing & Selling!



By: Nicole Ramer, CPO®, SMM~C®

(Certified Professional Organizer® & Certified Senior Move Manager®)

© 2022 Organized Haven. All rights reserved.

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