Sorting through possessions, ID check at open house


Dear David,

I found a great retirement community and am ready to move. Before that can happen, I need to sort through 30 years’ worth of posessions in my current house. Where do I start? – OVERWHELMED

DEAR OVERWHELMED: It’s amazing how much “stuff” we can accumulate over the years. The challenge you’re facing is pretty universal and I generally recommend a five-point plan:

Furnish your new home first. Downsizing is infinitely easier if you know where you’re headed. Start by choosing pieces from your collection that complement the scale and décor of your new space. From there, you can decide what you no longer need.

Give items away to family. Got a nephew who’s getting married or a granddaughter buying a home? Your extra coffee table may be the perfect gift. Share your heirlooms now, and you’ll be able to see how much joy they bring.

Pad that nest egg. If you have highly saleable possessions and are looking to make a little money, consider hiring an auction company to sell them rather than nickel-and-diming your way through a garage sale. Online classifieds are another easy (and free) option.

Donate to charity. A number of local charities will be happy to relieve you of furniture, housewares and clothing. Some will even arrange pickup!

Rent a dumpster, or hire a junk removal service. For things that can’t be gifted, sold or donated, this is a hassle-free alternative. I’ve had great experiences with a number of companies and would be happy to recommend someone.

PRO TIP: A consultation with a stager or decorator can do a world of good. They can help organize your new floor plan and incorporate your favourite pieces. Sometimes a fresh eye is all it takes to simplify the decision-making process.

Dear David,

We were at an open house last weekend and the agent wouldn’t let us through without signing in. It made us feel like criminals, so we left. – OFFENDED

DEAR OFFENDED: A Realtor should ensure that all open house visitors are identified. Realtors are entrusted with safeguarding a seller’s home and use signup sheets as a way for you to identify yourself. If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable having a stranger in your house to buy an item off Kijiji, you’ll understand why sellers can be nervous about opening their homes to anyone who walks by.

PRO TIP: In large centres like the GTA, it’s common to allow only one person through an open house at a time. Security measures can sometimes feel offensive in a “small town” like ours, but they are precautions you would likely welcome if it was your home. #AskDavid #Advice