Most people have had to downsize one way or another — whether it’s because of divorce, retirement, or moving into a shoe box in Manhattan. It seems like an impossible task at times, but what I have learned is that anxiety can be vanquished! (That is, with a little help from the friends below.)

  • Get a real estate attorney. You want to make sure that the language in the contract is correct and you are not getting “screwed.”
  • Find a good realtor. I know that people tend to ask their friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. for realtor recommendations. Sometimes it seems like everyone you know is a realtor. I recommend supplementing that word-of-mouth network of friends and acquaintances, and to do some research on your own based on user reviews.
  • Find a good mover. Professional moving companies offer all kinds of packing services. Just make sure they are insured and come with good references.
  • Consider hiring a move manager. A move manager will go into your new place, take measurements, and block out where the furniture fits best. Then they receive your stuff and unpack for you! Unless you like that feeling of moving…
  • The most important thing is to get rid of stuff. I know that sounds cold, but seriously ask yourself if your children are really going to want that National Geographic from 1977. That’s the litmus test I use; when going through my estate, will my children view an item as a memento or as a burden to be carted away?

15 years ago I moved into a 1000-square-foot condo, and took practically nothing with me. I still feel like I have a lot of stuff! Life happens, and stuff happens. If you need help taking an inventory of all your stuff before you mercilessly dispatch it to the dustheap of history, consider consulting a professional organizer. Like me!