The Staging Life: The Challenge of Downsizing


By Nan Johnston, Southern Staging & Redesign

Recently I was asked to speak at workshop for Wesley Woods of Newnan about looking forward to an independent, active, carefree senior living life style. Going from too much stuff to just right.

Naturally this type of lifestyle involves some big changes from owning and caring for your home of 30 or more years. There is the matter of all of the “STUFF”, the full dining room suit, formal living room furniture, china, crystal, cookware, garage items, etc. What will we do with it all?

Actually, this is a hot topic no matter if you’re downsizing or just trying to clean out closets.

Marie Kondo’s book -The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has hit the market and one of the hottest topics going. She is a recent bestselling author that takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Full disclosure, I haven’t read the book, it would involve reading a book and not looking at Pinterest. But for the presentation I was able to pull out a few nuggets to pass along to the attendees.

Set a goal for yourself: it could be specific like “I’m going to tackle one drawer at a time” or it could be general “I just want to spend the rest of my life laughing”. Either way it will involve: cleaning out, de-cluttering, organizing and purging – all bad words and a daunting task to wrap your head around.

What if we change those words to “SIMPLIFY”? Doesn’t that sound more manageable and enjoyable?

It boils down to wants and needs: what items do I need for this stage in life to reach my full potential and purpose? I guarantee if you are really honest it won’t be those 8-track tapes you’ve been saving in the attic.

It’s time to ELIMINATE THE UNNECESSARY! Ask yourself, why do I own this? Is it benefiting my life at this stage?

Fortunately the internet offers a ton of golden nuggets when it comes to this subject and these are some of my favorite ones.

• When cleaning out a closet, ask yourself, “If I were out shopping right now, would I buy this?” If the answer is no, out it goes.

• Think of your closet space as valuable real estate. Don’t let items linger without paying rent. If you don’t wear it or love it, evict it.”

• Owning less is better than organizing more.

• The less you own, the less that owns you.

You may be asking “what does this have to do with staging to sell our home?” It’s the very first thing that has to happen in order to get your house market ready. Once you decide to begin this process, no matter whose advice you follow, it is such a freeing experience to let it go and let someone else be enjoying these things that have been weighing you down and keep you from spending the rest of your life laughing.

For more information about Simplifying your living space and preparing your house to be market ready, contact me.


Nan Johnston is a professional home staging consultant from Newnan with over 30 years experience in the real estate industry. Check out her website for some interesting before and after photos at Feel free to contact her at [email protected].

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