10 lbs. of Flour in a 5 lb. Sack

Downsizing may be in vogue, but the very sound of the word can make one cringe, including me, and I help people with it every day!

Funny thing how we humans accumulate so much.  We hardly notice how out of hand out accumulations have become until we stop, look around, and then panic as we begin the downsizing/selling process.

I have noticed a commonality among my older boomer clients.  They have so much in their homes, because they absorbed their parents’ and their grandparents’ possessions.  They did not really sort through them; they did not discard much or donate much to charity.  They simply absorbed the bulk of it into their own lives and homes.  Was this done out of




Fast forward 50 years … oh my goodness, what do we do with all this stuff now?

When I am called to assist a family with their downsizing challenges, I go in to ascertain values and the market, resources and options.  However, the one thing I am always faced with is this eye-opening issue:

If a client currently lives in 3,000 square feet,

and they are downsizing to 1,000-1,200 sq. ft.,

logic dictates they will need to get rid of two-thirds

of what they currently have

to fit comfortably in their new home.

Therein lies the mystery.  They still seem to think that letting go of:

6 pieces of furniture,

8 crystal vases,

grandmother’s china service,

and 9 framed prints

is all they need to discard.

“We can squash the rest of it into our new place.”


I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but …

You can’t fit 10 lbs. of flour in a 5 lb. sack,

any more than

You can fit 3,000 square feet of stuff

into 1,000 sq. ft. of house!

It just isn’t going to happen, no matter which way you squish it.

You could try anyway, but you will dislike your overcrowded new home, create tripping hazards, and not want to show off your new place.

“Why not let go?!”

Deal with it head-on and do it sooner, rather than later, when someone else has to do it for you.

Enjoy your new home; don’t make the mistake of taking too much.  Don’t put stuff in storage, and don’t pass the buck to your kids or relatives that do not want or need the extra stuff.

There is a season for everything.  Now is your season to let go and start over, fresh and simplified.


©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

5 thoughts on “10 lbs. of Flour in a 5 lb. Sack

  1. Your messages continue to ring 101% true for me. I’m paying $80/month for my mom’s storage things that date back to the civil war…I live 3,000 miles away. This is something I HAVE to deal with sooner than later. Sad thing is, my mom–before she passed away (and many years prior to) kept telling me about EACH AND EVERY PIECE of whatever was in her house. I have to try to divorce myself from that sentimentality of “Aunt Josie’s candlesticks that came over from Poland” and similar items. I’ve found myself starting to tell MY daughters (in their 20s and not settled whatsoever) about these histories…Yikes!

  2. I’m proud to say that I only have one room left that looks like this. This is not to say the other rooms look good, but they are ugly for different, less cluttered reasons.

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