Professional declutterer Sarah Macnaught wanders around my home appraising my belongings. She is on a mission to wade through my unwanted clothes, books and toys to find things to sell.
She settles on a vintage-looking wooden desk. ‘This would sell very well,’ she says. ‘Modern but retro and easy to transport.’
Sadly, it was bought recently from John Lewis. And I need my desk. But her point is reassuring: you do not need a home full of antiques and designer clothing to make money. If you are having a clear-out, fast fashion and functional furniture sells well, too.
‘Older, more expensive furniture is actually harder to sell,’ the ‘belongings coach’ says. ‘Great big mahogany wardrobes are seen as passé. One day they will come back in again but, for now, people want utilitarian, simple furniture they can stick in their car and take back home.’
So why is Sarah, of Rightsize, looking at my desk? I have joined millions of Brits in the decluttering phenomenon.
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The Sunday Times
Home-blocking is a term used to describe the aging population’s seemingly intransigent preference to remain in a property rather than downsizing to release urgently needed homes back to the local community.
The major barriers to downsizing from a family home into something smaller are practical, financial and emotional.
While I advocate for the reduction or abolition of stamp duty for the elderly and urge developers to ensure most new housing development is suitable for the 20% of our population aged 65 and over, I am also keenly aware that emotional barriers of downsizing will challenge any potential homemover until circumstances force them.
As a downsizing specialist, I work with elderly people to support their decisions about what to keep and move with, and what to let go. Sometimes we can spend months deciding what to keep and then just take 10 days to sort through every thing else. Or the other way around. Either way, the process is the same while the stories need to be told, legacies created and safe passage of goods ensured.
Often I am “rightsizing” my clients to make the best use of the space they have, while they wait for the unwelcome shove from Mother Nature to make that downsizing decision for them. Until this type of support service for our seniors grows sufficiently as it has in the USA where organizations such as The National Association of Senior Move Managers thrive, the critics will just have to live with their unruly home-blockers.
With thanks to Louise Cooper’s article in The Sunday Times Money Section.
Download Sunday Times article
170529 Sunday Times downsizing article
Article discusses all the practical ways to help families divide things, not themselves after a bereavement. In addition to my organising services, I offer my clients use of FairSplitTM online inventory system to really get things sorted fairly, no matter where in the world they are.
PDF Download How to Divide Things, Not Families, after bereavement.
1704 The Barrister ‘divide things’