Earth day: Profitable downsizing

I’ve been reading about common concerns for senior citizens and one that keeps coming up is when to make the move to a residency from family home. The decision can’t be an easy one for all concerned, including family and friends, care givers and seniors themselves. Downsizing can be a huge culprit for delaying or procrastinating because let’s face it, no one wants to get rid of belongings. If hosting an estate or garage sale isn’t your thing, there are tools to help you offload some belongings to potential buyers who in turn don’t like browsing thrift stores.

Host a virtual garage sale
Varage Sale is a free, user-friendly app appropriately named after a virtual garage sale. I used it for months leading up to a cross-province move. It allowed me to sell dozens of things I didn’t want to pack, like old firewood, gardening equipment and baby items.

The convenience behind it is two-fold. It’s local so use your postal code to avoid long distance sales for items worth small amounts and it can be social, making it easy to communicate to your contacts what you’re selling, making a friendly, familiar exchange easier. If no one in your network is buying your goods, the app enables you to manage your activity safely. You can set up your account with your first name only and communicate with potential buyers and sellers through the app itself,  avoiding phone numbers, emails and last names. You decide when to make appointments instead of advertising a garage sale to the whole neighbourhood and the app keeps track of who you’ve been in contact with. This allows you to make appointments when someone else is home with you and read about the other person’s recommendations and ratings as a seller or buyer before you meet. The app can be linked to a Facebook page so you can see what information they have made available to public browsing without requesting to be their “friend”.

I found there were some unwritten rules within the community. It doesn’t say “first come first serve” but honouring that and other common gestures, like showing up on time or selling to the first bidder and not the highest one make for easier transactions and favourable ratings. If you’re a buyer and have changed your mind be sure to inform sellers that you’re off the list when there is multiple interest.


If you can’t sell it and you don’t want to take it with you, consider recycling it. Earth911 has a free app that demystifies the long list of what to recycle and where to bring it. Gone are the days of throwing everything into one of two bins. Batteries, expired smoke detectors, obsolete electronics, furniture, clothing, tires, everything has a home. iRecycle lets you input your postal code and tells you the nearest drop off point per category. You can avoid the cost of junk removal companies and declutter on your way to downsizing.

There are so many ways downsizing, decluttering and looking ahead can be made easier with free apps, these are just two of my favourites. Happy Earth Day 2017.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.



About Jennifer Stern

Blogger, writer, mother, daughter, wife - I'm firmly planted in the sandwich generation. I've spent years writing about technology and how to use it in the business world. Now I'm turning my vocation into passion and writing for a greater audience, those who can most benefit from convenience but who may be tech-shy. Welcome to Digital Seniors!