12 Items to Discard When Downsizing
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you had a beary safe and great weekend. Dab the AIDS Bear is still off with the army for the rest of this month.
With most Americans, we end up with too much STUFF! Sooner or later we all need to get rid of some items. Here's what you should pitch so you can get organized and reclaim some space.
The Big House
Consider making this decision throughout life rather than when you're ready to retire. Even if your home is already paid for, there are still significant costs in owning more space than you really need, including taxes, utilities, insurance and repairs.
Over the course of a lifetime, the average American today will pay more than $600,000 in interest on all the money he or she borrows, according to CreditLoan.com. Pay off debt as quickly as possible. Definitely pay it off before you retire. Live by this old-school rule: If you can't afford to pay for it now, you simply can't afford itlus, it will force you to downsize other belongings, too. You'll also have an excuse for why people can't stay with you!
If your wardrobe has outgrown your closet and dresser, start by purging enough pieces so that everything will fit. Get rid of unwanted clothing at yard sales or online, or by donating items to charity.
Anything in Off-Site Storage
According to the Self Storage Association, there are about 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S. That's more than five times the number of Starbucks! Vow to eliminate storage fees by getting rid of enough stuff so that all your possessions fit in your own home.
If the exercise bike or treadmill in your bedroom has morphed into a permanent clothes rack, donate it to a local thrift store or charity.
Kitchen Appliances and Gadgets
Ask yourself: "When was the last time I plugged that in?" If it's been more than six months since you've used the waffle iron or bread maker, it's probably time to find that appliance a new home. While you're in the kitchen, eliminate unused culinary gadgets and nonmatching tableware.
Besides downsizing your home and eliminating debt, getting rid of one — or all — of your vehicles could result in the greatest savings. According to market surveys, it currently costs an average of $8,698 annually to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. if you factor in all the costs, including depreciation. If you're a two-car family, getting
rid of one set of wheels might make sense once one or both partners are no longer working. You might be able to get by with public transportation or a car-share program, or at least downgrade to less-expensive vehicles. If you're planning to relocate in retirement, there are communities where owning a car may not be necessary.
If your kids or other family members don't want keepsakes from their own childhood (or yours) now, they're not going to want them when you're gone. Hold on to a few precious, symbolic mementos — those that truly spark memories and joy — and digitize images of the other things.
Filling — and too often, overfilling — a room with furniture is a common tendency. Doing so makes the room seem smaller and gives you more places to store and display more stuff. Start by eliminating a couple of pieces from a room and see how much more spacious it feels.
Books, Magazines, DVDs
Unless a book has sentimental value or you're going to read it again, put it back into circulation via a yard sale or thrift store so that others can enjoy it. Or donate it to your library, where you can always get free access to books, CDs and DVDs. You can store countless e-books (many are available for free) on an e-reader that's smaller than a single print volume, and you can easily digitize your music and movie collections.
Consumer Reports advises organizing your important files into four categories: "papers that you need to keep for the calendar year or less; ones that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover; tax records, which you should save for seven years; and papers to keep indefinitely." You can access copies of many documents (e.g., bills, bank statements, user manuals, etc.) via online accounts. Consider storing digitized documents on a Web-based storage service or an external drive.
While holiday decor has some sentimental value, consider getting rid of the decorations you haven't used in the past five years, particularly bulkier items such as outdoor decorations and holiday tableware you use just once a year.
Hope these tips help you make more room and save money while you have a beary safe and great weekend!
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,