How to Purge & Let Stuff Go When Downsizing

One of the biggest obstacles for people who are downsizing is what to do with all the extra stuff they aren’t taking to their next home.

You may have years and years of items in your home, including stuff stored in your basement and attic. Maybe even in boxes you haven’t opened for a long, long time.

Just thinking about it all can feel overwhelming! And it’s not just the physical part of the purging process that is dreaded by those who plan to downsize, it’s also the swirl of emotions knowing it’s time to say good-bye to items you may have loved owning.

But you can make it all less stressful and less paralyzing if you are organized, are well prepared, and have a plan, all of which I can help you with on strategizing.

And most importantly, give yourself plenty of time to go through everything you own to decide what you’ll bring with you, what can be donated, what you want to give to family members or loved ones, what you may want to sell, and what should be thrown away. 

Getting your home ready to list

You’ll need to complete this purging process before your home can be properly listed and ready to show to potential buyers.

It’s much better to have an uncluttered and more streamlined home with minimal items when it goes on the market. Today’s buyers like to envision themselves living in a home and not the current owners and all their stuff.

With all the decisions to be made and the organizing to be done, I recommend contacting me well in advance so we can come up with a schedule. That way we can ensure you have enough time to get the purging step done so you can get your home on the market when you can sell it for the most profit.

Tips to make it all go smoothly

To avoid being overwhelmed, below are some tips that can provide some guidance. You can tackle the purging process on your own or I can provide recommendations of professionals to hire for a wide range of services, including decluttering and packing, selling or auctioning items, picking up your donations, etc.

  • Start purging as early as possible. This will help make the entire process less stressful so you can pace yourself and not overdo it. The key here is to find pockets of time to go through stuff and not attempt too much at once.
  • Don’t hesitate to get assistance. Start to reach out and schedule help from either a professional service (estate sales or decluttering company) or trusted family members as you go through your possessions. Remember, I can provide recommendations!
  • Give yourself enough time to finish. Everything always takes longer than you anticipate so make sure you work toward having your home ready to sell during the timeframe you want. That’s why you want to start as early as you can.

Dealing with emotions and memories

The purging process can be a time filled with many emotions and expectations so remember to tread carefully and be graceful with yourself and other family members. It’s understandable if you or others are grieving an end of an era and any attachments to your home and its items.

  • Take breaks to reflect and say good-bye. It’s going to be emotional and exhausting to go through treasured or memorable items. It’s okay if you or others need to talk or relive family stories or other memories. Again, give yourself time to do this!
  • Acknowledge the strong emotions from family members. There could be items they want or thought they would inherit, and it could be hard to see these given away or sold. They also may need to grieve the loss of their family home.

Keep, donate, sell or throw away

Here’s where you need to stay organized and be realistic when deciding what to do with items. Working with a family member, a professional service, and even myself as a real estate agent can help you stay focused on the job and even be there to bounce ideas off of when you’re unsure.

  • Do not create a “maybe” category or put in storage! Make four categories — keep, donate, sell or throw away — for your belongings.
  • Only keep furniture that will fit and you’ll use. That could mean extra bedroom furniture or that large dining room table won’t make the move.
  • Only keep items that will match your new lifestyle or location. Say good-bye to your lawn mower and yard tools if you’re moving to a condo and to cold weather items if you’re moving to a hotter climate.
  • Pass on heirlooms, antiques or treasured items to family members. You will feel better if others will enjoy and use these items.
  • Have an auction company or estate service appraise items of value to see their worth. This way you can decide to sell certain items to add to your own cash flow. Or, family members who inherit items will know the worth.
  • Consider digitizing photos, compact discs, DVDs. Find a service that can digitized your family DVDs, photos in albums, or your old-school film strips. That way you can easily pass these memories on to future generations.
  • Only consider buying new furniture if it will work better in your new home. Sometimes you do need to buy more small-scaled items, such as a couch, when you move to your downsized home. Make sure you budget for it, and aim for multipurpose pieces, such as night stands that have drawers, ottomans with storage, etc. 

I’m Here to Help

As you can see it’s important to be well organized and follow certain steps when moving to a smaller home and getting rid of many of your possessions.

I can help you feel less overwhelmed if we map out a strategy together for your entire moving plans — including purging and letting go of your stuff to prepping your home to be listed. The earlier we can talk, the smoother it can all go. Contact me if you’re considering a downsized move!

The Blog

Hi, there!

I'm Danielle and I love helping people in  NH, easily and affordably 'right'size' from home that no longer meet their needs to homes that better fit their current needs and lifestyles.

Let's Meet


603-988-3140 (call or text)


My Listings



schedule your free consultation

Hi, there!

I'm Danielle and I love helping people in NH, easily and affordably 'right'size' from home that no longer meet their needs to homes that better fit their current needs and lifestyles.

schedule your free consultation



My Listings

The Blog