Steps to Downsizing or Rightsizing
by CarolAnne Crossan
In this month’s blog post we will look at an issue that is very common to aging seniors. For many, there comes a point where they have to leave their home of 30 or 40 years. This is an emotional event and extremely difficult to come to terms with. How can you move from 2500 sf home to 600 sf? Having to leave the place where you raised your kids and built a life with your spouse means letting go of possessions or putting them in storage. Many seniors aren’t physically capable of managing a move and their children may not be local. There are dependable service providers who can assist if you find yourself in that situation.
CarolAnne Crossan of A Changing Season is a senior move manager. Move managers are professionals who specialize in assisting older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation and or aging in place. They provide a multifaceted approach to the move process from space planning in the beginning to post move support. Move managers minimize the chaos and stress associated with moving and address all aspects of the move process. Here are some ideas from CarolAnne on getting started Downsizing or Rightsizing.
It’s Never Too Early To Start
It’s hard for us to part with our stuff. This needs to be an ongoing process. The trick is not trying to do everything at once. It’s too overwhelming. Most of the time if we think of the big picture we end up doing nothing.
Step 1: Focus
Focus on one area at a time, closet, kitchen, attic, garage, etc. If we start small with one drawer or cabinet it’s much less stressful. Empty everything out and decide what you really need to keep. Ask yourself, “when was the last time I used this or is this going to work in my new space when I move?” Before you know it, you’ll have cleaned out a whole room.
Step 2: Get Generous
Now is the time to gift some of your treasures to the special people in your life. It could be family, friends and/or organizations. If you are not specific in your Will, they may not get what you wanted them to have. It is much better to gift these items while you’re able to enjoy them enjoying your things.
Step 3: Save Your Memories
Mark the back of your photos with the names of the relatives and how they are related. Make family members memory books of their lives. We all have so many pictures. Today it’s easy to put your pictures on a flash drive or disc for future generations.
Step 4: Toss It
Keep a box in the garage for the discards and add those items to charity bags. You don’t need to keep every paper. There are only 3 things to do with paper FILE – ACT ON – TOSS. The only papers you really need to keep are tax and legal papers. Important papers today can be put on a flash drive. Ask yourself how hard it would be to get copies. Most of us rarely access what we file.
The same goes for clothing. We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Go through your closet once in awhile. If you’re not wearing it –donate it. When organizing your closet group like colors by season. It’s easier to decide which white shirt you want to wear when they are all together.
Books: Most of us have loads of books. Books are very heavy to move. Consider donating them to your local library. Our library has book sales several times a year to raise money for new books. If you have older or valuable books consider calling a book dealer.
You could also consider having an estate sale, an online auction, placing your items in consignment as well as donating them or a combination of these. A Changing Season can manage this process for you as well.
Recycle the old paints, automotive oils and cleaners. Check with your township. Most have ways to properly dispose of these items.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your goal is to remain happy and healthy in your new home.
CarolAnne began her career as a professional designer in the interior design industry. After working with a number of companies, she opened the doors of her own interior design business specializing in furniture arranging and custom accessories. CarolAnne began working with seniors and baby boomers after undergoing the difficult process of relocating a family member. She is a Member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. She can be reached at 469-628-7447. Visit her website at www.achangingseason.com .