The Estate Sale and Downsizing Blog

Your Decision to Downsize Requires Questions, Plans, and Edits

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Downsizing Households | 0 comments

It could hit when you wake up one morning and discover your stuff has stuff…or the umpteenth time you have to cut the grass…or when your last child moves out…it is that decision to downsize your home and lifestyle.  It’s an exciting decision to make, but before you rush and put a for sale sign in the front yard, give some serious thought and planning into how, why, where, and what you want to downsize.  How and why do you want to downsize:  do you want a different house–one on a smaller lot or on one level?  If you are ready to let someone else tend to the yard, roof, and leaky faucets, then maybe a condo or apartment is for you.   Consider lifestyle accommodations that are important to you such as pet restrictions, minimum age for residency, access to pool or fitness center, shopping, hospitals, favorite entertainment venues, etc.  Where do you want to live:  are you ready to pull up stakes and move to another state or city? Or, is a different neighborhood enough of a move for you?  If you have the luxury of going anywhere, but don’t know where that could be, an online search is a low-cost starting place.  There are plenty of online articles that cover the best places to retire to, best states for single women, cheapest cities, etc.  One fun, thought provoking site to help with decision making is This site asks a series of questions from the size of city you want to live in to whether you want to catch your fish in a stream or grocery, and offers suggestions based on your choices. What do you want to downsize:  thoughtfully edit your possessions.  Will your  90” sofa fit or over-power a smaller living room?  Should you keep the standing mixer you use only twice a year?  And, what about all those suits, cocktail dresses, high heels, etcetera.  Is it time to simplify your wardrobe too? When you have a good handle on your downsizing decisions, plans, and edits, you are ready to call in the pros:  a real estate agent to handle the marketing, negotiating, and legal aspects of selling your house; and Life Made Simple Again to manage and conduct your cash-generating downsizing...

read more

When You Settle an Estate, the First Paper Sort is a Visit Through Someone Else’s Life

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Estate Executors | 0 comments

Every estate executor faces this problem: what to do with the stacks and drawers full of unfamiliar bills, documents, and correspondence. Here’s what I did. My work as executor for my parents’ estates started years before their deaths. It started with Power of Attorney for their finances. It started with sorting out the mess and bits of paper my mother had stuffed in drawers and boxes throughout the house. I brought it all home and dumped everything on the largest expanse of uncluttered floor I could find and began sorting. Without giving every piece of paper a detailed read-over, I assigned it to a pile: medical, credit card, banking and financial, personal correspondence, etc. Everything assigned, I became a detective following paper trails. Did the medial bills match the insurance company statements, were all the department store and credit card bills paid in full, and where were their annual tax returns? My findings were amazing: along with all the bits of personal life bills, there were inactivated credit cards, books of blank checks from long-closed bank accounts, birth announcements for my brothers and cousins, loose cash, their marriage certificate, a life-time of greeting cards, and many photos. Essential documents and data (wills, social security info, deeds, birth certificates, etc.) went into a new secure file. Security-sensitive but no-longer necessary papers were shredded, others simply recycled. When I was satisfied bills and statements were paid in full, and accounts transferred or closed, I turned my attention to all those personal items. Each was a piece of familial or cultural history—the people in a photo, the style of a greeting card or its inscription. While the collection represented my family’s history, many pieces really belonged to someone else—my brothers and cousins. So, again I sorted, and each smaller grouping was mailed off with a short note. It was their decision to keep what they thought most important or worth sharing with children and grandchildren. Such is the work of an estate executor: making sense and sorting out all that is left behind. It is visit through someone else’s life. When you reach the end of the paper trail, it is off to the next task. Yet, no matter how much you empty drawers and cabinets, a baby photo or sentimental card might have become a bookmark or made its way into a pile of old linens. When we find these special family items, we at Life Made Simple Again put them aside for you. We treat your estate household as if it were our own, and are ready to step in and help find new homes for all the items you no longer wish to keep. Click to get in touch, and to discover how we can...

read more