The art of downsizing: Know what to keep, what to toss

A recent WalletPop post on the trend toward smaller homes prompted lively debate, and its associated poll, asking whether you were considering downsizing for financial reasons, currently shows "yes" nosing ahead of "no."

Fewer rooms, less square footage and, often, less storage mean paring back, a process owners of smaller homes describe as both painful and liberating. Some told WalletPop they turned to Craigslist, eBay and charity to dispose of their excess. Many still keep a few overlarge items in storage.

"My parents were Depression-era people who saved everything; I had to stop that and read everything I can to help me discard," said Maryann Purgason of Hogansville, Georgia, a downsizing pioneer when she moved to a 2,000-square-foot home more than a decade ago. "An abused woman and children were able to set up housekeeping with much that I had been saving."