After lots of thought and conferring with family members, you’ve made the decision to simplify your post-retirement life. You’re on board with looking for a smaller, more manageable home, but realize you have a challenge ahead: what will you do with the things that won’t fit into a space with less square footage? No one wants to leave behind beloved items, but more importantly, there are family heirlooms passed down through the generations you want to make sure have a good home. What to do? Here, some suggestions:

Hold a family meeting to manage expectations.

As you’re putting a plan in place for downsizing, you’re probably thinking about updating your will. Moving marks the perfect time to take inventory of furniture and heirloom items and to make your wishes known to family. While family possessions can sometimes lead to emotionally fraught situations between family members, it’s also possible that younger generations won’t want or need your hard-earned possessions. One way to determine the best way to distribute items is to hold a family meeting where you can talk openly about what you’d like to give to whom and why. This sets expectations for everyone and also lets family members know what is important to you and why, like the fact that you would really prefer that your grandfather’s desk stay in the family.

Donate to a good cause, a non-profit, or even a museum.

If it turns out that your family has no desire or space for heirloom items (and doesn’t want to pay for storage), you may have more options than simply donating the family silver to a local thrift store. If your things are still in good shape, you might consider donating them for a good cause, as many charities and schools hold auctions to raise funds. It may be that your local church or service clubs desperately need new furniture, and your living room chairs would be a welcome gift. You could also contribute to your family or area’s history by donating items to a local museum; you never know what kind of items they could be looking for.

For items with little or no emotional attachment, plan to sell.

You really love your collection of Santa Claus figurines and garden tools, but unfortunately, no one in the family shares your passion. There’s no harm in selling items in good shape for a little cash you can put towards moving expenses. Though it can be an undertaking, garage and estate sales, in addition to selling your items online, can be a great way to move many items at once. You can always donate or give away leftover items when the sale is over.

Whether you decide to age in place or move to a new home, Open Mortgage offers financial tools to help set you up. Contact me today to speak with a representative about your mortgage options.

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