Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part Two

iStock_000003574070XSmallThanks for the great response and ideas from the first post on Downsizing…before I add some more thoughts, let’s talk about some of the issues generated after Post One:

There seems to be a universal response to the negative naming of the difficult process: Downsizing. However, I remembered with some friendly prodding that Barry Lebow, Founder of  The Accredited Senior Agent Designation refers to it as “Rightsizing”, a term defined as “to undergo a reduction to an optimal size”. I like referring to it as it turns a negative into a positive, so that works for me….Barry’s web site at has some great resources for seniors who are rightsizing but remember that people rightsize for all sorts of reasons.

Here are some of my further thoughts for today’s post:  I am a great fan of  writing up the plusses and minuses of any major decision. Sit down with your partner and family and decide what rightsizing will mean to you and your lifestyle. With older readers, those with health issues or caregivers, much of the discussion should be based on safety issues. The ruling decision should be based on “Is this the safest place for me to live?”.

When it comes to what should stay and what should go, call a professional…and listen to them. The Real Estate business is full of third parties we use called “Stagers” . They pride themselves on showing our sellers how to make their homes look spacious, when they may not be and have a very good unbiased eye. Owners, Family and friends may have vested interest in pieces or history around them and may be tied to “Stuff”.  My colleague, D’arcy Burkholder of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada has a great perspective and points out “these are just possessions…ask yourself……Do you own them or do they own you?”.

I also hear people say that they are “saving these possions for their children”. As I child I heard that excuse used many times…strange that I was never asked whether I wanted those possessions or not. As my mom aged and passed those possessions on to me and my brother they occupied a large armour in my living room and his basement….they seldom got used, and when asked where they were, it became easier to say that they were in the dishwasher….course that never worked with chairs, a sofa or the dining table. The dishes were not dishwasher proof so I got a further talking to…with a gracious helping of guilt.

Ask your children what they want and give it to them now…without an editorial or history…especially if they tell you they cannot use it. Remember that you went through the process at their age, but also remember that this generation is known for not being as loyal as we were and seldom care how long you have had it around. With the recent generation we make a mistake branding ourselves with our History rather than our Services or recent successes. How long something has been around is not as important to them as its utility today.

Today’s tips:

  • Hire a professional Stager and play “does it stay or does it go?” at home.
  • Have new floor plans done and use your Stager to stage your existing place for sale making recommendations on the new space at the same time.
  • Get sticky notes to place on what is to go… let your family or friends walk through the “to-go” group while you go for a short walk…if they want something in the “to go” group, it must go today. If it does not disappear, move it out as soon as you can but …don’t move it into a storage locker. Storage Lockers are often a cop-out!

At all times keep in mind where you are moving to and what the pluses of that new space are going to be. Get excited and get packing! Speaking of packing…at all times hide all packing boxes. There is little as depressing as half-empty or half-filled moving boxes. Always make your home a Moving Box FREE Zone!

Feel free to add your comments and suggestions below or read the earlier post at:

Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Post One

Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part Three

6 Replies to “Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part Two”

  1. You should get the book Laui Ward’s Downsizing your
    home with style …she gives you great advice on how to have a great home..Richard are you well organized…

  2. Hi Richard,

    Great post and topic, one which will only gain momentum and attention given demographics. It actually touches on a greater issue and that is, how big is big enough when it comes to the size of one’s home.

    With respect to your topic at hand though, one great on-line tool that I’d recommend is a room planner like the one found here:

    Room Planner

    I recently used it to plan our nurseries and it worked like a charm when picking out furniture. I’d suggest users consider space allowances for things like drawer pull-out or swing of cabinet doors etc.

    Hope you and your readers find it useful.


  3. Richard, I have taken Barry’s ASA course and don’t remember him using the term “right sizing”. I love the term and Barry if you are reading this comment, thank you. I plan on making it part of my vocabulary. Donna Webber

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