Even the most meticulous plans for downsizing can go wrong, causing stress for both senior parents and their adult children. To help your parents downsize, it is important to have a plan, lots of time and increased emotional awareness.
We offer expert advice from three senior move managers who specialize in downsizing. This will help you plan for every stage of your parent’s downsizing, including how to:
Start the downsizing conversation
A senior-friendly real estate agent is available to help you.
Seniors may experience mixed emotions when they have to downsize their home. You will need to take note of these steps if you plan on helping a relative or friend with their senior move.
Senior Moving Help
Take Time Off to Reduce Your Stress Level
It is a slow process. Seniors shouldn’t expect that they will be able mentally and physically to prepare for a move within a matter of weeks. Professional organizers say, “It will take time. It will take more than you think.” That home has been occupied for over 20 years won’t be easy to empty. Start cleaning the house now to reduce stress and anxiety associated with a major move. Do not wait until the last minute.
Do not be afraid to ask for help
It can be difficult to downsize. Don’t be afraid asking for help. Hire moving helpers like Brunswick Organizing Solutions if you have the money. Ask your family and friends who you trust and aren’t judgmental.
Some Organization Rules Should Be Implemented
It will make it easier to downsize. We advise that you create rules to help you get things done faster and with more assistance. For example, all expired makeup and pantry items can be thrown out. Anything in bad condition, such as rusted, damaged, or ripped, will be thrown out. All duplicates will be reduced to one.
Keep an Eye on What You Should Keep
Your new home will be smaller so you will need to be clear about what you can and cannot bring. Make sure that what you are planning to move can fit into your new home. We recommend that seniors create a floor plan, which will include all furniture they are thinking of moving. Also confirm that it will fit in the new home before moving it.
Part with those “What If” Items
According to Jenny Albertini (founder of Declutter DC), we all keep things in our homes for the purpose of using them for a future project or for the hope of a past passion for a hobby returning to us. It’s important not to dwell on the “what ifs”. Now is the right time to get rid of anything that hasn’t been used, fixed or enjoyed in recent months. It can be stressful to downsize and transition to the next phase of your life. However, you can take this opportunity to get rid of clutter and other non-priority items from your home.
Donate to Causes You Care about
Many seniors who are moving out of their homes will need to donate all belongings that they don’t wish to pass on to family and friends. Donate to causes you’re passionate about. Is there a local emergency such as a fire or flood that would benefit from your donations? If you’re interested, you can visit the organization in person. Visiting a charity helps you see the items going to a good home. Sometimes, people will let go of their stuff if they know it will be loved.
We advise that seniors should not assume their loved ones will want one more item in their home. She says that your items may be discarded by people, particularly younger generations. Heirlooms and personal items have more value than banks collections.
Photographic Memories: Keep on Hold
Seniors may still choose to preserve special moments and memories. There are many options to keep photos and t-shirts safe and secure. Consider photo frames. It will bring us a lot joy. A sentimental quilt can be made that you love, but is also practical.
You can record a video of the space you are about to leave if you so desire! We encourage family members to walk through the house and create a video for their loved ones. Take a tour of the home and tell your family about your favorite stories about the home.
Say Goodbye To Anything That Makes You Feel Embarrassed
The book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” is a good book for senior downsizing preparation. Don’t let the title scare you! This book offers many useful ways to explain why it’s important to emotionally address our issues before we become too old to handle the task on our own. One category of items the author suggests dealing with is ‘dangerous and secret things’. These are items that could embarrass or cause problems for you or your loved ones. If the item is an embarrassment, you can dispose of them on your own or throw them off a bridge.
Brunswick Organizing Solutions has the experience you need to help you downsize. Call us today to make the move run smoothly. We can provide the boxes and help you sort, organize and decide what needs to go.
Is your parent moving in with you or to an assisted living facility, or maybe a smaller apartment or home? It doesn’t matter what their situation is or where they are moving, it’s likely they will be moving to a smaller place. If this is the case, they will need to downsize. While senior downsizing might sound like a negative thing, it can actually have many benefits, including a simpler lifestyle, better organization of paperwork, and the opportunity to pass on the legacy to the next generation.
Even if your parents are ready and willing to downsize, it can be overwhelming for seniors. These are some tips from professional organizers to help you downsize.
Senior Downsizing Tips
Garbage Must Be Removed
As with any type of home organizing, downsizing can be viewed as a series. It is easiest to start with the “low hanging fruit”. This is stuff that doesn’t have any emotional attachments and is not good enough for the thrift shop. Grab a bag and head to the pantry, linen closet or junk drawer in the kitchen. There will be many items that have expired. You should consider the size of the new house you are moving into, and zoning laws permitting, you may need to rent a dumpster.
Decide what you want to do
After you’ve got rid of all the trash, your parents need to decide which items they wish to keep. They should not be concerned about stuffing items in their new home when they are choosing which items to bring. They should pick the items that make their home comfortable and beautiful. Family photos are often the most important. They will help them remember the good times of their life.
Give Away the Good Stuff
The third step is to decide which heirlooms you want to pass on. It will be a joy for your parents to see their treasured items used by the next generation. There are times when the children and parents have different tastes. Your parents should first offer the heirlooms their children, then their grandkids, then their friends and other relatives who might enjoy the antiques. It’s okay if no one wants your stuff.
Sell Valuable Items
You can help your parents sell valuables they don’t want or can’t keep. They may ask you to help organize a garage sale or sell on Facebook Marketplace. They can not only get rid of items they don’t want but also make money.
Donate the Rest
Your parents may prefer to donate their items instead of having a garage sale. Ask them what charity they would like their items taken to.
When possible, keep your parents involved in the process. However, when it becomes overwhelming for them or you, it may ne time to call in a local senior move manager. Our professional organizers are available to assist you and your parents in making the senior moving and downsizing process easy, fun, and stress-free.
It’s now. You have made the difficult, but sometimes liberating decision to downsize. It may seem like it will be easy. You can pack your stuff and pass it on to your children, then move on to a simpler life in your new home. Right?
But not so fast. You might be thinking that Katie will want Aunt Millie’s silver and china, and that Michael and his wife would love to trade their IKEA furniture in for your heavy antiques. But think again. Your kids won’t be interested in your stuff. Aunt Millie’s. Your grandkids? Sorry, no.