Downsizing makes sense in many situations: the kids have moved out, you don’t want to deal with all the upkeep and maintenance anymore, or you just don’t need all the extra space. While downsizing can free up a lot of capital that’s tied up in your current home, it can also be risky if you don’t take action to avoid common pitfalls.

With that in mind, here’s a list of five common downsizing mistakes sellers make, and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Waiting too long

People often start thinking about downsizing long before they actually do it. In some cases, this mistake can add up to years of wasted energy consumption, wasted maintenance and upkeep expenses, and lost opportunity.

How to avoid it: Conventional wisdom says that the best time to downsize is right after your kids have established their own permanent homes, and you are still relatively young and in good health.

Mistake #2: Assuming you’ll have room for all your belongings in your new home

By definition, downsizing means you’ll have less room in your new home than you do in your current one. Some people focus on the empty space in their current home and just assume they can comfortably fit everything in their new home, only to be in for a rude awakening come moving day.

How to avoid it: Before you move, go through all your current belongings and get rid of everything you don’t absolutely need. Take careful measurements of your new home’s room dimensions, and use them to guide your culling.

Mistake #3: Getting overwhelmed by all the clutter

That said, it can be daunting to have to go through everything you’ve accumulated over the years. This is especially true if you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, or if you’re downsizing to a significantly smaller property.

How to avoid it: Divide up the task into manageable bits. Go through your home one room at a time, collecting things you don’t need and accumulating them all in a central location, like your garage or an unused basement room.

Mistake #4: Getting a little too garbage-happy

A lot of homeowners make the mistake of just throwing away everything they don’t need or aren’t going to bring to their new home. This can add up to lost opportunity, both for you and your community.

How to avoid it: Instead of throwing everything in the garbage once you’ve collected all the things you aren’t going to bring, try to monetize items with resale value by listing them online or having a garage sale. You can also donate unwanted belongings to local charities to help community members in need.

Mistake #5: Weighing yourself down with sentimental items

Everyone has some items they keep for purely sentimental reasons, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ll miss every little odd and end you come across. The truth is, you won’t.

How to avoid it: Irreplaceable treasures with high emotional value should be kept. But if you’re on the fence about something, chances are you can just get rid of it.

Are you ready to downsize this summer?

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About Jethro Seymour

Jethro Seymour, one of the Top Davisville Village Real Estate Brokers at Royal LePage RES Ltd.. Jethro Seymour is a midtown Toronto residential specialist with over 20   years of sales experience in real estate, marketing, construction and publishing. He has helped many families find homes in Toronto’s great neighbourhoods,  and has extensive knowledge of local markets, new home construction,   resale home sales, and the condo market. Living in midtown Toronto,   Jethro previews many of the homes that come to market for his clients and inventory knowledge. Jethro specializes in Midtown, Davisville   Village and Leaside neighbourhoods. For more information, call Jethro Seymour, Broker.

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