Downsize and Declutter in Toronto
Decluttering Services for Downsizers in the GTA or Southern Ontario
As the old saying goes, there’s no place like home.
It’s the space you’ve lived in for years or decades—but it’s also so much more. It’s where you’ve formed memories. Maybe it’s where your kids grew up. Or where your pets greeted you warmly every time you walked in the door.
Home’s where you hosted dinner parties for friends. It’s where you and your partner read quietly by the fireplace. Where you’ve accumulated a lifetime’s worth of cherished possessions in each and every room.
And yes, home’s also a place with overflowing junk drawers and unwanted knickknacks stuffed in boxes in the basement. You might even be holding onto paraphernalia your kids left behind when they moved out. Or heirlooms from your parents or grandparents.
Before you downsize and declutter your Toronto or GTA home to fund the third stage of your life, how do you feel about paring down your possessions? That means letting go of items that no longer serve you and finding new owners for some of your beloved keepsakes.
Letting Go—It’s Often Easier Said Than Done
If the thought of sorting through every item in your home’s every nook and cranny feels overwhelming—not to mention parting with things you feel attached to or that seem like a shame to throw out—you’re not alone. Many people who downsize and declutter procrastinate because they find the task unpleasant.
Are any of these you?
- You’ve got a houseful of possessions, ranging from sentimental memorabilia, to valuable family heirlooms, to pieces worth keeping, to junk you should have discarded long ago.
- You know you need to get rid of stuff, but don’t know where to start or how to go about it.
- You’re not sure how to dispose of items you won’t keep.
- You’re okay with decluttering and appreciate that it’s a big task, but could use guidance or a little push to get going.
- You worry decluttering will be difficult emotionally.
If some of these sound like you, don’t worry; we’ve been there ourselves. But before you transition to your third-age home in a community that’s right for you, here’s why it’s crucial that you pare down your possessions.
Attract Better Offers on Your Home, and Make It Easier to Move
Imagine putting your home on the market and potential buyers walking through. To attract good offers, your home needs to look neat, clean, and presentable. You’ll also need to depersonalize your home by moving away your own photos, clothing, etc., so buyers can picture the home filled with their own things and fall in love with it.
Removing clutter can help you attract the right buyers and sell your home faster and for a higher price. For this reason, decluttering is an important step toward preparing your home for sale.
Decluttering will also make packing faster and easier after you buy your third-age home. If you move to a smaller house, you’ll want to reduce your belongings.
When to Start Decluttering
As soon as you decide to downsize and declutter, it’s time to get going. Remember, decluttering isn’t an overnight task. You’ll want to begin weeks or months before moving out of your current home.
When you go through the Transitions Downsizing Done Right program, in our exclusive 3-step process we’ll assess how much decluttering your home requires. We’ll also decide together whether you can downsize and declutter yourself or need to hire a professional organizer, in which case we can pair you with one* to help you sort through your items, decide how to handle treasured keepsakes, and part with excess belongings.
But as you downsize and declutter, you may be wondering: “What do I do with my excess belongings?”
Decluttering Done Right:
7 TIPS for Paring Down
- Start by talking with family and friends. Are they interested in taking any of your items that you might be willing to part with?
- When going through your home, begin where it’s easiest. Likely, that’s a space (e.g., garage, linen closet) holding items of little sentimental value.
- In some parts of your home, you’ll have many possessions you feel emotionally attached to. Save these spots for last.
- Invite your family and friends to be part of your decluttering journey. Involving loved ones lets you share stories and relive important moments as you sort through your belongings. Letting go and moving forward becomes so much easier. Plus, your loved ones get a chance to select heirlooms that mean something to them.
True story: The mother of Vincent Côté, our CEO, is inviting her daughters and granddaughters to choose jewelry pieces from her collection. Once a piece is chosen, Vincent’s mother tells the story of how she got it. Imagine all the heartwarming moments these women and girls are having together, the laughter, and the family history that’s being shared.
- If you love a piece but need to give it away because it won’t fit well in your new home, find a way to honour the memories attached to the item. For example, you might photograph it.
- Don’t worry right away about exactly what to do with items you won’t take with you. Simply make three distinct piles: Keep, Donate/Sell, Discard.
- Don’t be a prisoner of your possessions. Keep only the things you love and will use or want in your new home.
Some of your pieces in the giveaway pile may be practical items that other people can make good use of. Other possessions may have sentimental value, but you make the difficult decision to let go of them because they won’t fit in your third-age home.
Unless you want to sell these items, consider donating them. Especially for the belongings you care about, you’ll sleep easier knowing your piece will find a new home and another person or family will benefit from it.
You can donate items to non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, charities, places of worship, or thrift stores. In Toronto, you can refer to the “Where to Donate Items” section on the city’s waste reduction web page.
Storing Excess Items
If you sell your home and need to live elsewhere before moving into your third-age home, you may need to store some of the furniture, clothing, and other possessions you’ll bring with you.
Another reason for storage is to temporarily hold pieces that won’t fit into your third-age home but that you still want to keep or you’re still deciding what to do with.
Our trusted partners* can help you find a storage facility. They can also pack and label your items if needed, as well as take them to the storage site.
Downsizing Auctions and Selling Items
For possessions worth selling, you have a range of options. These include holding a garage sale, listing items in online marketplaces or online auction websites, selling pieces in consignment stores, approaching antique dealers, and more.
Our vetted trusted partners* can help you choose the best places to sell your particular belongings.
Discarding and Recycling
If needed, our trusted partners* can pair you with local resources to recycle, shred, or otherwise dispose of items in your discard pile.
In Toronto, you can use the city’s Waste Wizard to find out how to throw away junk.
Packing and Moving
This may seem hard to believe, but many people thoroughly enjoy their moving day and the time leading up to it. What’s their secret? Being organized!
Make sure you have the right tools, equipment, and supplies on hand. These include packing tape, permanent markers, sticky notes, padding and stuffing, bubble wrap, linens and towels, and lots of boxes.
You can get boxes from moving companies as well as storage providers. There are even companies that let you rent plastic reusable moving boxes. It’s best to avoid boxes from grocery and liquor stores because they’re not very strong.
Start early and work steadily. Make progress every day with your packing instead of leaving it all until the last minute. Form a plan to work backwards from the moving date.
When selecting a moving company, we recommend you get quotes from two or three providers. If you need help finding a reputable mover, we can refer you to one of our trusted partners*.
Downsizing and decluttering—we know it’s a big job! Are you up to the task?
If you’re thinking of using your home’s equity to fund your active, healthy third age, let’s book a time for a friendly conversation
NO OBLIGATION. This is a complimentary chat to get to know each other and see whether we might be a good fit for you.
* Fees may apply for services provided by third-party providers such as financial planners, retirement coaches, movers, cleaners, professional organizers, new home builders, home inspectors, designers, lawyers, stagers, and more.