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By Myra Hotchkiss

Tips and hacks for downsizing with children

The benefits of downsizing a home are numerous. Paying a smaller mortgage is always a good idea, as is smaller utility bills, less junk lying around, and less yard to mow.

The benefits of a smaller home with children will become apparent when you all sit down to dinner, to watch a movie, or to go for a walk in your new neighborhood together. There will be new territory to discover, new adventures to be had, and you can do these things together.

When the time comes to actually move, though, homeowners are hit with the physical reality of downsizing. Where will all the toys, sporting equipment, rain coats and winter boots, cleaning equipment, yard furnishings and yard maintenance tools go? We have a few ideas for you.

No backsliding!

It can be a daunting task to honestly look at your possessions. What we mean by backsliding is not to rent a storage unit, pack your mom's garage, or ask friends or family to keep a few things for you. If you're going to downsize, do it right.

Shred almost everything

Boxes in the basement and attic of the old house containing past bills, fliers, letters, junk mail, and anything else not absolutely necessary to the future should be securely shredded. This will free up storage space, provide recycle material, in addition to giving you less boxes to repack for the move.

Toys you can't take with you

Ask the children to box or bag up toys and stuffed animals they don't mind giving to charity. Then take the children and the toys to all the hospitals and rehab places in town. Watch the looks on your children's faces when they watch the kids in the hospitals and rehab places playing with their new toys and hugging their new stuffed animals.

Clothing you don't need

Ask at the local police station about the homeless. Many churches and civic organizations collect clothing, coats and shoes for the homeless. Find out where these collection centers are in order to donate your gently used clothing.

Furnishings you'll need in the new house

While you're selling up all your extra stuff, think about selling the furniture. With the proceeds, you can buy furnishings that include storage, and combined furnishings for the living area. Combination sofas incorporating reclining seats and longue seating would be perfect for the living room. Beds with built-in storage will help with the smaller space. Look for housing with lots of built-ins for extra storage.

Selling what's left

Making money before the move will help not only get rid of excess stuff from a larger house, but it will make some extra money. Consider opening an eBay account to sell your things. Craigslist is available as well. When all else fails, donate your things to Goodwill and Salvation Army.

For the new house

If there isn't enough storage, attach shelving to the walls where possible. Hang baskets on chains from the ceiling to hold things in bathrooms or even in bedrooms. Stackable bins can hold office supplies, books or the tablet while you're on the computer.

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