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Downsizing – 5 things to keep in mind

Posted on Thursday, January 02, 2014


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So yesterday I was in the office welcoming in folks walking along 5th avenue south in Naples and one group describes their downsizing plans to me – “liberating” they tell me. Sold the big house, bought a small condo. The night before on New Year’s eve good friends told us of the struggle to rid themselves of extra possessions during their downsizing this month – hard to let stuff go. At an open house last week I heard “this is place at 2,750 sf is too big, we are looking to downsize.”  There is a lot of this going on. Let’s cover a few downsizing thoughts we share with clients and offer up as helpful.

First recognize there is a lot of downsizing going on out there. Is the big stuff still selling here in Naples? Yes of course, but there are quite a few folks looking to find a smaller place or maybe looking to own fewer places – all despite the upturn in the economy. Their reasons range from eliminating the hassle of maintaining two more properties, or maintaining bigger properties,  kids moving out leaving too much space, finally ready for the big move on to new things … lots of reasons.

Here are some thoughts which might help in the process of downsizing – ideas we have heard from friends and clients while working through the process.

First off, know where you are going. Steven Covey, a behavioralist I put a lot of faith in, would say “Begin with the end in mind.” So true. So much of the stress of downsizing is attributed to the unknown, or the inability to at least think about that future lifestyle. You need to know what the new place might feel like to live in and with. If you cannot buy your new place before selling your old place at least get out there and look. If you are headed for the 2,000 to 2,500 square foot single family residence for example get out there and look at the market. Visit open houses. Look at the space. Imagine living there and get your head moving forward. I think this helps a lot.
Next idea, just get rid of stuff. One of my good friends actually owns two warehouses full of stuff from past homes. Does he use the stuff? Nope. Does he therefore need it? Nope. So what gives? Sometimes it is just tough to get rid of your old stuff (although my friend’s warehouses hold a lot of new stuff too). Just lose it. My wife and real estate team mate must be smiling because she is good at this and I am not. But I must admit feeling liberated by living a more simple life. Just let it go. Keep the memories but let the stuff go.

(hint:  if you have packing boxes from prior moves still unpacked (happened to us!) this might be a sign you need to let some stuff go)
Next, feel better by donating. You are literally holding “another man’s treasure” in your extra possessions. You might be surprised how much good your old stuff can do and donating your extra things will help you feel better about things. Furniture for example is more than welcome at Habitat for Humanity’s Home store. Every $50,000 builds a new home for someone less fortunate – contact them at Some of the more creative might enjoy selling things on eBay as well. I have found this fun, you can raise some extra cash and you may feel a little better about moving and downsizing in the process.

Don’t forget to north wind the Kids. I remember our youngest son (half-jokingly but with some truth in it) saying “You Sold My House!”. Let your loved ones know what you are up to. Give them some time to get used to the idea of you moving on. Share with them why you are making the change. And my favorite – invite them to share in the upkeep with their time if they push back! Hah – a great one with kids. Anyway, giving others some time to get used to the idea can help when the time comes. And remember … in the end it is about what you need to do for yourself.
Finally, think about making a list of past maintenance expenditures (and time spent!) on your old place before you move. I like to carry this around with me in my head – both the dollars spent per year on the old place as well as the time spent taking care of the old place. Sure we have great memories of the old place but it helps me to think of the time saved and the money saved by downsizing – not just to save it but to imagine now how I SPEND the time and money I saved on new adventures, interests and friends. Isn’t this one of the main reasons you downsized anyway?

We hope these ideas help. We have gone through downsizing personally and we are so glad we did but we understand it may be difficult. Get with us – the Naples Best Addresses team at Coldwell Banker – and let us help you with your real estate needs here in Naples Florida.

Mark and Nan

Mark Goebel PA & Nan Goebel PA
Coldwell Banker
Mark Goebel, PA and Nan Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921 239.595.3920
Facebook: NaplesBestAddresses

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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan. Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
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