The First Steps to Downsizing Your Home

How to get rid of unwanted excess as you decrease your square footage



Get Help: If you’re not up to doing it yourself, get pros to help organize, execute, and advertise your tag or estate sale. Jean MacIntosh of J & J Resales in Bedford Hills believes in the old adage that one person’s junk is another one’s treasure. “You can’t begin to imagine the types of things people buy at a tag sale,” she says. Another business, Estate of Mine in Pelham (917-513-5440), bills itself as “a white-glove version” of the ubiquitous tag sale. Owners Randi MacColl and Linda Peters of Pelham worked in sales and marketing for luxury brands such as Vera Wang, Architectural Digest, and 1stdibs before starting the venture last spring.

Sell antiques through reputable dealers or auction houses. Consignment shops are also a good outlet for vintage pieces. Selling collectibles on eBay or Amazon makes parting with them less painful. 

Donate unwanted books to your local library’s used-book sale; household items and clothing to your favorite charities. You’ll clean house and get a tax deduction.

Make a digital record of the things you have in storage, listing dimensions and condition, so that you don’t have to unpack to get that info. 

On moving day, line up plenty of help on the receiving end. Laurie Hilliard’s company, The Skinny Home, offers the services of a decorator to help set up new homes and keep the chaos to a minimum.  

Use small spaces wisely. “Multi-purpose your furniture,” says Kim Freeman, whose dining table now also serves as a library table and for presentations to clients. 

Consider cutting down large-scale furniture, like two-part cupboards, that might be just a little too big for the smaller space. “It’s good to have serious pieces in a small room so that it doesn’t look dinky, like a dollhouse,” observes Freeman

Give yourself a reward for getting rid of stuff, Hilliard suggests. “Buying a few new things that complement the things you kept can be exciting.”