Downsizing Your Home?  Start with an Attic Treasure

Posted by: Gail VanKleeck  |  Date: 04/14/2014

Downsizing your Home?  Start With an Attic Treasure Hunt!

My name is Claire LeSage.  I am the owner, chief cook and bottle washer for WITTZ END, a relocation concierge service.  One of the things I like about what I do is helping families downsize when moving from one home to another.   I think of all the years they have lived in their homes and the items they have accumulated and loved.  It is my job to help them make very difficult decisions as to what precious things to keep and which to give away. 

Attics have been the source of great treasure hunts for years

Many older homes are blessed with having large attic space and homeowners have utilized this space to store away lots of “valuable” treasure.  Of course, the value of any treasure discovered when downsizing is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items.

Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete cleaning out the attic of your family home. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the manpower, time, and effort available.  Sometimes it can create sadneess or conficr and  family members need to keep that in mind when taking on this project.

The sorting-through and dowsizing the family home can be a difficult and emotional chore for families. 

Adult children helping parents downsize or settling an estate may spend more time than anticipated as they find things they may not have seen in years or maybe not at all.  Each item should be handled with care as there may be items that have monetary and/or sentimental value.  If you are fortunate enough to find one or two pieces in either category, then you need to decide what to do with them.  Finding something you had forgotten that has sentimental value can be a wonderful discovery that requires a decision as to keeping or passing on to someone else.

Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the attic contents have been sorted and categorized it is time to act.  

Move the trash directly out to the curb or dumpster or, if necessary,  at least to the garage to wait for trash day.  Move the donation items to a designated area in the garage, clearly marking them as donations - not to be mistaken for trash.  Designate an area of the house as the family staging area to display all items marked “Give to Family”.  Put names on the items and encourage family members to pick up their things as soon as possible.

Items marked for sale can be left in the attic or stored in the garage until sale day. Determine what type of sale to have – a yard sale, an estate sale, by appointment, etc.  Set a date, even if it is weeks or months away, as that will motivate you to complete the project on schedule.

If you are unsure of the value of some of the items, it is strongly recommended that you get an appraisal from a professional independent appraiser. 

By having an appraisal you will be able to make educated and informed decisions as to what to charge. You do not want to walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars after you sold it for $5 at a moving sale!

Appreciating and respecting the  sentimental or monetary value of the items stored in the family home attic is a special and sometimes overwhelming process  Take time to honor and remember the past while transitioning forward to the next phase in life. 


Claire LeSage, Owner of Wittz End

508-285-4802  office

978-618-4180  cell

Moving you from Frazzled to Dazzled!

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