The Pain of Downsizing

As the Baby Boomer generation (my generation) continues to age many of us find it necessary to downsize. Our dream homes are fast becoming nightmares due to the size of the home, the amount of yard we need to manage, or the repairs that we’ve put off. Many of us do not have the energy or the desire to continue to maintain the homes we purchased earlier in life. The problem is that many of us have far more material items than we can take to our new home.

Today I spoke with two people from this generation who are downsizing. One recently had surgery, and I think that got him thinking about all the stuff they owned. He’s feeling the need to sell off some of their things that have been stored for years in their attic and basement. The other individual has already moved into a smaller home, and the house is crammed with all the things they brought from their larger place. Both told me the same story I’ve heard countless times in the past few years: their children are not interested in any of their things. I will be looking at what they want to sell in the next few days to see if an auction makes sense for them.

A few years before our Mother passed away she offered some of the things she and Dad owned to each of their children. I received a couple of pieces of antique furniture that had been in the family for many years. My brothers and sisters each received items they were interested in. Times have changed, and many times the children are not interested in their parent’s possessions. The parents are forced to find other ways to dispose of their personal property.

I appreciate these folks wanting to take steps now to rid themselves of some of the things they’ve accumulated over the years. Too often, someone dies and the family is left trying to figure out what to do with everything. Many of these families feel overwhelmed trying to honor the memory of their loved one while at the same time trying to dispose of the estate.

A few years ago an auctioneer in our area sold an estate for an individual whose family had no idea how much he had accumulated over the years. None of his family lived in the area, and after the funeral they were shocked when they saw the size of his estate. It took 17 auctions to dispose of the personal property from this estate!

Downsizing can be painful. No one wants to give up possessions they spent a lifetime accumulating, but letting them go also means someone else will have the opportunity to enjoy the things that brought you pleasure over the years. That’s far better than having the family take the items to the dump or the burn pile after you’re gone.

If you’ve reached the stage in your life when you feel you need to start downsizing, check with an auctioneer to see if selling at auction makes sense for you. I would be honored to talk to you about selling part of your estate if you’re ready to downsize. I can be reached by email at

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