Downsizing is a process that many dread, but it’s vital to helping seniors maintain their independence or move into a smaller residence. It’s a delicate endeavor, as it involves saying goodbye to possessions that seniors may have owned for decades. While there is plenty of upside to downsizing, it’s never going to be a particularly joyful process – but it can be manageable. Here are some tips on making that happen. The following is a guest post from Michael Longsdon, who is the creator of ElderFreedom.net, which advocates for the rights and support of seniors.
For Seniors: Think Methodically
If you don’t have a plan, downsizing will be a real pain. Forming a strategy and starting on it early (weeks or months before a move) will help immensely. You should start in less-used rooms of your home – the basement, attic, guest rooms, garage, etc. This is where you’re likely to find more items that you are willing to part with. Don’t let yourself wander around the house. Don’t move on to the items in your guest room, for instance, until you’ve successfully downsized what’s in your basement or garage. By checking an area off your list, you can be emboldened by this sense of accomplishment. Here is a good resource for methods and strategies for downsizing.
For Loved Ones: Find Ways to Make Your Senior Loved One Feels Better About Getting Rid of Stuff
If you’re helping a Senior Loved one downsize, chances are you’re going to run into some resistance. Be patient, first and foremost. Downsizing a life’s worth of possessions is emotional. Instead of using force, try to be diplomatic and find ways to make them feel better about giving stuff up.
One way is to host a yard sale. If some money is to be made, seniors may feel better about letting stuff go. Don’t fall into the trap of basing prices on sentimentality. Possessions are only sentimental to the seller – not the buyer. They buyer doesn’t care if that blender was the first item your senior purchased for their new home. Don’t overprice, expecting to haggle. This may drive people away. Check here (and the image below) for more tips on hosting a great yard sale.
Image Credit: Redfin.com
Another way is to take possession of some of their most-sentimental items for them. They may not have enough room to keep them, but they also don’t want to see them thrown away. By assuring them that their sentimental items are “staying in the family,” you can ease their stress.
For Seniors: Sort Things Into Piles
Don’t simply walk around the house making mental notes of what you are going to keep and what you are going to throw away. Physically move things into piles. This small trick will make your decisions seem more final, and will help you to make actual progress. You should have 3 or 4 piles at the most: keep, throw away, donate, and possibly sell. Forgo the “maybe” pile. This will only make you more indecisive.
For Loved Ones: Use Technology to Your Advantage
We’re living in an age of extremely accessible technology – use this to your advantage. Offer to scan physical photos and help your senior Loved one store them on an online photo storage service. This way they can “keep” their pictures without actually having to hold onto them. Speaking of pictures, you should offer to take photos of important items as a compromise between keeping and throwing away. In some scenarios, keepsakes and mementos in photo form can help seniors keep the memories without keeping the physical item.
Whether you’re downsizing your own home or helping a senior loved one take on the task, it’s important to give yourself enough time and to be patient. It’s hard. You can make it easier by starting with a solid plan of attack, making sure that some sentimental items have a good home, using physical sorting piles to your advantage, and by making use of technology.
Xavier De Buck – How to Safely Senior Proof Your Home
Debbie Drummond – Tips For Downsizing Your Home
Bill Gassett – How to Know it’s Time to Downsize Your Home
This post first appeared on Evergreen Properties And Investments - Long Beach California Real Estate, please read the originial post: here