How To Downsize Without A Lengthy Estate Sale

With so many Floridians reaching retirement age and faced with empty nests, it’s no wonder that downsizing is a trend on the rise. People are swapping high-maintenance 3000 sq.ft. estates for smaller homes, condominiums, and even more untraditional dwellings – choosing to liveaboard while yachting or sailing. 

The number of dwelling units (condominiums) in downtown St. Petersburg has increased by 20% since 2010 with no signs of slowing down anytime soon (source:

The truth about choosing lower expenses and simpler living is that possessions must be let go. Many downsizers gift family heirlooms to relatives, store recreational items or tools and sell the rest.  So what’s the process that families in St. Petersburg or Tampa use to let go and downsize?

downsizing estate sale

1. 3-Step Process (one room at a time)

  • Throw away the junk, i.e: random q-tips in a drawer and dental receipts from 1989, etcetera.
  • Label and group all valuables together that you will be keeping, ie: photographs, jewelry, mother’s sewing machine.
  • Label and group together the furniture and possessions that you plan to sell.

2. What you’ll need

  • Boxes
  • Labels and a sharpie (or a label maker)
  • Camera, if you’re selling items, you will need to take quality photographs.
  • Piles: keep, sell, toss, donate. You might want to reserve a donate pile for everything that doesn’t sell.

3. Figuring out what you’ll need to bring with you
Once you know what your new home will look like, take a hard look at your furniture, appliances, linens and other household items to determine what will fit. Check out furniture layout plans on Pinterest to get started.

4. Clothing
There’s a lot of clothing, shoes, and handbags that you might not have ever worn or will ever realistically wear. There are plenty of places to donate gently worn clothes. If you want to sell designer items in excellent condition, there’s an app for that but you will have to spend time taking quality photos.

5. Liquidation or Estate Buyout
Stress Free Estates offers traditional estate sale services in addition to piece-by-piece liquidation. We also can help speed up the downsizing process by liquidating an entire property full of luxury or mid-century modern home furnishings, artwork, and home accessories. This means that we come to you and buy from you directly and also utilize our network of dealers and collectors for rush liquidations (learn more about estate liquidations).

Now that you’ve widdled down your possessions and examined potential furniture layouts, it is either time to move in with what you have or start fresh. Stop by Furnish Me Vintage in downtown St. Pete for vintage and versatile pieces designed for smaller spaces.