Downsizing expert Matt Paxton talks 'Legacy List'

In his PBS series "Legacy List with Matt Paxton," downsizing and cleaning expert Matt Paxton encourages people to make a list of the most important items in their house.

But did Paxton follow his own advice during his recent move to North Georgia?

"I did," he says with a laugh. "I actually lived in a house for 15 years. I had to go through my own attic, and it was a lot harder doing it yourself than telling other people how to do it!"

"Legacy List with Matt Paxton" is in its second season on PBS and focuses on families ready to downsize. In each episode, he helps the families decide which items they can part with — and which ones make the cut for what he calls a "legacy list."

"So, I say, ‘Write down a list of the five most important things items in your house.’ Not the most expensive, but the most emotionally important.  And then let’s talk about the stories," Paxton says. "There’s so many TV shows, and so much in life, that people are like, ‘How much is it worth?  How much could I sell it for?’ These are not items I want you to sell. These are the items I want you to pass on to your grandkids, and the items that the grandkids will pass on to their kids, and talk about you."

Although the families featured in the show are generally downsizing due to a move, Paxton says making a legacy list is something everyone can do.

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"Especially now," he says. "You have the time. We’re in the pandemic, you’re sitting at home, you’ve got a sharp memory still. I’ve been helping families downsize for 20 years now, and I’ve seen just countless family after family that when Grandma passes away, the stories go with her."

And Paxton, known to many television viewers for his appearances on the hit show "Hoarders," says that’s his show’s mission: inspiring people to uncover the family stories that helped shape who they are.

"That has been one of the coolest things that’s happened with the release of season two, is that I’m hearing about families that will have, like, a ‘Legacy List’ night, where they’ll watch the show, and then Grandma will have a couple items that she’s prepared, and she’ll share the stories. And I’m like, ‘Man, this has become a verb!  This is awesome!’"

"Legacy List with Matt Paxton" airs locally on GPB and WPBA; for more information on the show, click here.

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