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Taking The Fear Out Of Downsizing, One Step At A Time

Worked through several early career endeavors before discovering her passion for professional organizing. Once she did

Executive Contributor Liz Crosswell

The thought of downsizing scares most people to death. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. People stay in their current situation much longer than they need to because they can’t imagine how to go about downsizing. Most of my clients who are down-sizing, are coming from a house they have lived in for over 20 years. Often times they have raised their children in this house and have many years of memories tied up in this house. If you can look at it in stages, then it’s not quite so daunting. This is how we look at it.

Back view of embraced grandparents enjoying while looking at their family on a hill in autumn day.

  1. Decide where you want to go. Do you want to move to a smaller house? Does highrise or apartment living sound good to you? Are you wanting a one-story house? Or maybe you would be more comfortable in a patio home without a yard. I would suggest looking at all of these options and really deciding what are your main goals.

  2. Once you have an idea of where you want to go, now comes the real work. Take it room by room. We must edit! Start with a room that does not have sentimental ties to it. Go through the entire room; drawers, closet, everything. Ask yourself, do I still use this? Will I have room for this in my new place? Make your piles: donate, trash, resell. Collect all of the keepsakes from all of the rooms and put them in one place. It’s important to have them all in one place so you can get a real look at all of these things together. Is it really a keepsake? Will my kids really want their art project from 2nd grade? Move along, room by room, making these important decisions. This is not an easy process. We help people through this process because it is a very challenging and exhausting process. Also, it helps to have someone else running the show and guiding the process. If you have the time, it’s nice to be able to space it out so you can work through a room every 3 weeks.

  3. The next stage is figuring out what furniture, rugs and art will fit in the new place. It often helps hiring someone who specializes in space planning. 

  4. The next stage is deciding what to do with the rest of these items that will not fit in the new place. Often people invite their kids over to see what they can use in their homes. Make decisions on what can be resold, what is a donation, and what is trash. If you are donating, you can often find a charity in your area that will pick up your donatable items.

  5. When the packers come, it’s best to be there, helping label the boxes. It’s best to put the room it is going to in the new place instead of where it is coming from in your current house. This way when the movers are unloading the boxes in your new place, they will know exactly where to put them.

  6. Once you have finished going through your whole house, you are ready to move. In a perfect world, you have done enough editing for the new place and everything fits. This is usually not the case. Once you start unpacking in the new place, you often find that everything doesn’t fit. Sometimes it takes seeing all of your stuff in the new house, with no place to go, that then you realize there are items you kept, but don’t really need. You don’t want to start in your new home with piles of stuff everywhere because there is nowhere to put them. The more cluttered your house is, the smaller it will feel. You need a fresh start.

The key to all of this is that you are giving yourself enough time to process all stages as you go through them. If it still feels too daunting, just call us!


Liz Crosswell, Crosswell Organizing

Liz Crosswell worked through several early career endeavors before discovering her passion for professional organizing. Once she did, it wasn’t long before she founded Crosswell Organizing – a full-service organizing firm dedicated to discerning homeowners in Houston’s most premier neighborhoods since 2008. While CO calls Houston home, the team will travel to the ends of the earth to help a client organize a vacation home or manage a move.



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