Weatherford Democrat

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April 21, 2013

EXTENSION NEWS: Tips on downsizing when moving from the family home


• Keep items you treasure the most you may need to narrow your list, but you will find that everything is not of equal value.

• Identify items you want certain family members to have and consider what you are willing to give now. You may get more pleasure out of seeing your granddaughter enjoying your dining room set now, that after you are gone.

• Get rid of things you know longer need. Be realistic about what you use regularly and what you don’t.

• Consider having a garage sale or auction. Having enough items that are likely to earn a profit may be worth your time.

• Donate to charity. For those items you cannot give away or sell, make a tax-deductible donation to a charity. Often some places will pick these items up. Consider specific items for specific things such as musical instruments to a school program, bedroom furniture to a shelter, books to the library.

• Have the adult kids remove their stuff. Give a deadline that works with your schedule and warn them that any leftovers get donated.

• Agree on a system of dividing among children and other family members. Create a clear system of who gets what.

• Be sure everyone gets something special. Disagreements may occur; agreeable solutions may be achieved if everyone feels they received something meaningful to them.

• Encourage negotiation. If disagreements do happen, encourage family members to negotiate amongst themselves. Someone may be willing to train an item with financial worth for something more sentimental.

Leaving a home can be difficult. It is important to remember, however that it is the relationships in our lives that give us the most pleasure. A life filled with possessions is no comparison to life filled with family, friends and meaningful connections.

Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Parker County. Contact her at (817) 598-6168 or

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