Calgary Realtor - Karen Patterson

“Karen worked so hard to sell my home in Auburn Bay... even negotiated the deal while I was away in the States. Appreciate her communication, dedication and hard work!”  -Audra Zawada

Cell: 403-370-6442

Office: 403-259-4141


Moving to the Beat of the Downsize Drum

“People spend too much time looking for more, instead of appreciating what they already have” - Anonymous 

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" - William Morris 

“It’s sad, what we need is less possessions and more experiences" - Anonymous


Last week we moved and, as it was supposed to be just a one day affair, it turned into a 7 or 8 day epic event, not including the trips to the second hand store to drop off unwanted items about 4 weeks prior to the arranged and booked ‘moving day’. It took so long because my boyfriend and business partner, Loris, and I moved from a midsized, 2-storey, detached house to a 2 storey townhouse, which in actual fact is a ‘great’ room with a basement: we pretty much downsized in terms of sq. ft. by half. With that factoid in mind, needless to say, we also downsized in terms of our personal possessions.


Now that we are happily set up in our new digs, we are convinced that we made the decision to move. It was, as well, a very important learning experience for both of us, and we came up with some useful ‘tips’ and unsolicited advice bits that might be helpful for those thinking to move, regardless of whether you are moving to another rental or to a new purchase home. Please take what you can from this discourse and apply it as you may to your own move. Most importantly, before any move, make sure you get a good night’s sleep, eat well and drink plenty of liquids.

  • Garage sales - are a great way to get rid of unwanted or unused items. A bit of planning and organizing can go a long way for a successful garage sale, and even better if the community that you are living in also is having a ‘parade of garage sales’. Those, however, seem to happen at the very beginning of summer, not in the middle (people away on vacation?).

  • Selling stuff on - not only is a great place to advertise your garage sale, but you can advertise individual items that you have for sale. Did I mention Kijiji is free for the basic services? Yes, it is, although it will continue to ask you to ‘bump up your ad’ for a nominal fee. I have bought and sold a lot of stuff on Kijiji and even in our consumer society and shopping malls galore, people still like a good bargain and the thrill of the chase. Make Kijiji your friend when considering a move.

  • Gently used clothing and kids’ stuff - Sproutz, Once Upon a Child and U-Turn Adult consignment clothes are great ways to downsize and make a little cash on the side or donate on to charity. Many of the consignment stores around the city have different intake procedures, such as only one bin per week or such, but overall, I really enjoy making use of their services. You can either turn your cash into store credit or take it in cash. Sproutz and U-Turn are conveniently located in the same location.

  • Women In Need Society - these organization is great, not only do they come and take away your garage full of unwanted stuff, but they sell it to those in need at a very reasonable price. I have shopped there before, and you would be surprised at the finds you can find. Consider WINS being part of your downsize move, you won’t regret it.

  • Discovery House - I had heard that Discovery House was accepting donations, but alas it turned out that they actually get a lot of their stuff from WINS, so it was a bit full circle. Furthermore, they had just received a large corporate donation of new furniture and household goods for their units, so no need to accept donations at this time.

  • YYC Junk - I thought that this would be a great way to get rid of the garbage that wouldn’t sell, and off set my own trip to the dump. However, they are very convenient, but at a price. I was not willing to pay that price, so decided to make my own way to the dump if I couldn’t sell or give away my stuff.

  • U-Haul and the City Landfill - this was a great decision to go ahead and rent a U-Haul truck and take our own stuff to the dump… it was a cost effective way to finally deal with that which would not sell or be taken in by someone else. I had never been to the dump before, a definite eye opening experience that had me contemplating consumerism and my role for the rest of the day. U-Haul was surprisingly cheap and fun to drive a big truck around for some of the day.

  • Fairs Fair Books - is a goodish way to get rid of books and keep them out of the landfill. However, they do not take a lot of titles, and are quite picky about what they do accept. You can either take the cash or get double the value in store credit. Of the 50 or so books I showed them, they took 5. I took the $10 of store credit over the $5 in cash.

  • Value Village - was also utilized in our moving journey and commitment to downsize. I had never donated stuff to VV, but had bought stuff for many years. I didn’t realize that they give you 5% off your next purchase for every box/bag of stuff you bring in, in the form of a “HERO CARD”. So, at the end of that trip, I walked away feeling very heroic and my donors card valued at 20% off my next in store purchase. Neat stuff.

Even though we moved with several card board boxes, we decided this time to invest in durable containers with lids, which we purchased for about $5 each at Home Depot (they come in a variety of colors). These proved to be invaluable, as they are easy to pack, are sturdy and have a fitted lid that makes stacking so much easier. Not to mention, they are water resistant. I would suggest this container method over buying cardboard boxes. Important point, though, is that you must remember to label them all or else you end up with a sea of identical containers and no clue what you actually still own.


Finally, one of the most important pieces of ‘cargo’ that we had to move was our two lovely house cats, Mister and Penny. We decided to take them first, so that while we had the movers at the old house coming and going from the house with doors wide open, we thought it best to get the cats to the new place where they could settle on their own. That worked to a degree; however, Mister, was not impressed and hissed at Loris for most of the following 36 hours… needless to say, he has settled down and found his niche nesting spot, as has Penny. The point is that pets need to be treated differently than the rest of the stuff, as it can also be emotionally and physically demanding on them, too.

Anyway, we hope that where ever you decide to move, that you have a smooth move. Maybe some of our points will help in making it less complicated or overwhelming. Feel free to contact us if you require more information on any of the points we have mentioned.


All the best for where ever your journey takes you!


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