A 3-Step Decluttering Guide For Empty Nesters Looking To Downsize

A 3-Step Decluttering Guide For Empty Nesters Looking To Downsize

Empty nesting is a significant life event that often leads to a desire for change, including downsizing to a more manageable and appropriate home. However, before embarking on this new chapter, it’s crucial for empty nesters to prioritize decluttering. Letting go of unnecessary items not only frees up space but also makes the downsizing process smoother. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive 3-step guide to help empty nesters declutter their homes and transition to a more simplified lifestyle.

Step 1: Discard Unnecessary Items

The first step in the decluttering process is to discard items that no longer serve a purpose. Empty nesters often find it challenging to let go of belongings that have sentimental value or have been part of their family home for years. However, downsizing requires making space for the essentials and being selective about what to keep. To effectively discard unnecessary items, follow these tips:

  1. Start with one room at a time: Decluttering can be overwhelming if you try to tackle the whole house at once. Begin with the easiest room to declutter and work your way through each room systematically.
  2. Label items: Categorize belongings into three main groups: Discard, Donate, or Sell. Items that no longer serve a purpose or take up unnecessary space should be discarded.
  3. Consider space limitations: When downsizing, it’s important to keep in mind the available space in your new home. Items that are too large or won’t fit into your new living space should be discarded.

By discarding unnecessary items, you not only create a more organized living environment but also make the downsizing process more manageable.

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Step 2: Donate Usable Items

After discarding unnecessary items, the next step is to donate belongings that are still in good condition but no longer needed. Many empty nesters have an abundance of clothes, kitchen supplies, and other usable items that can benefit others. Here are some tips for donating:

  1. Rummage through your belongings: Take the time to go through your closets, cabinets, and storage spaces to identify items that you no longer use but could still be useful to others.
  2. Consider the one-year rule: If you haven’t used an item for more than a year, it’s likely that you won’t need it in the future. Donate these items to someone who can benefit from them.
  3. Find local charities: Research local charities, shelters, or organizations that accept donations. They will appreciate your contributions and ensure that the items go to those in need.

Donating usable items not only helps others but also gives you a sense of fulfillment and purpose during the downsizing process.

Step 3: Sell Valuable Items

Empty nesters often have valuable items that they can’t simply discard or give away. These items may include antique furniture, collectibles, or large appliances that don’t fit in the new home. To make the most of these valuable belongings, consider selling them. Here’s how:

  1. Assess the value: Determine the value of your items by researching their market price or consulting with an expert. This will help you set reasonable prices and attract potential buyers.
  2. Choose the right platform: In today’s digital age, selling items online can be quick and efficient. Explore online marketplaces or social media platforms dedicated to buying and selling used goods.
  3. Use the proceeds wisely: The money you earn from selling valuable items can be used to purchase more appropriate replacements for your new home. Invest in items that fit your downsized lifestyle and complement your new living space.

Selling valuable items not only helps you declutter but also provides an opportunity to financially support your downsizing journey.


Empty nesters embarking on the downsizing journey should prioritize decluttering to make the transition smoother. By following the 3-step guide outlined in this article, you can discard unnecessary items, donate usable belongings, and sell valuable items. Remember, downsizing is an opportunity to simplify your life and make room for new and better things. Embrace the process, and enjoy the benefits of a more manageable and clutter-free home.

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About the Author
Seb Frey helps long-time Bay Area homeowners make their next move easily the next one yet. If you're looking for a minimum of hassle, maximum net cash on sale, and certain results, contact Seb today.