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The #1 Question in Downsizing, Answered: What Happens to The Items You Don't Take With You?

Cathy Gordon, March 11, 2013


When you downsize, you are minimizing. You take with you the things you need, and those possessions most dear to you. However, there is a lot you usually cannot take with you into a retirement community due to your reduced living quarters. So what happens to everything you leave behind? Let me explain how Gordon's Estate Services handles your leftover goods.


You can designate things you want to have shipped to loved ones, or given to organizations like a museum or university. No matter what the item, we will find a way to get it where it needs to be. Obviously, it can cost you (especially if you have a piano for your niece in Australia!), but we'll find out the best price and get your approval first.

Organizing Your Chattel

By Chattel, we are referring to all the possessions in your home (furniture, decorations, kitchenware, books, etc.). We sort through the house and organize the goods. Your saleable items will be auctioned off in your home. Any unsalable but useful items are donated, including leftover clothing. Unopened food items are given to the food bank. Medications, expired, open, or not, will be delivered to a local pharmacy for proper disposal. Any remaining garbage or unusable items are recycled or otherwise disposed of.  Unfortunately hazardous waste is an area that we will need the help of your family for, we are unable to dispose of this on anyones behalf due to regulations.

What If I Realize I Forgot Something?

We always leave at least a week between the time you move out, and when we start dealing with your goods. As we move people out, we tend to get a sense about how comfortable they are about leaving items behind, and we make allowances for that. If you need more time to decide, we can wait.

If we find an area of the home that was missed when we were helping you move out (like a crawlspace, or a missed box), we collect items in a “personal box” in a central area. Even items we think are important, like jewellery, money, financial papers or photographs that we think you may want, go in the personal box. We then bring the box to you and you decide where each item should end up. 

By using a service like the one we provide at Gordon’s you can focus on getting settled and comfortable in your new space, and you don't have to worry about relocating your possessions. Even if you miss something initially, we ensure you'll still have the chance to make the final decision on the items destination. From our experience, most people find they are happy to leave behind everything they don't need.

Written by Cathy Gordon

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