One of my family members is a senior who is currently going through the process of downsizing. It got me to thinking that most of us will have to address this at some time in our lives with a loved one.
Some of our parents are not going to be able to stay in the larger family home and are going to need help in downsizing to a smaller dwelling be it a smaller home, a condo or even a retirement residence. If you find yourself in the position of having to assist a senior in downsizing here are a few things to keep in mind when doing so.
The move and the preparations that are required are going to be an emotional time for both you and your parents. Expect some tears, some smiles and maybe even some arguments. Keep your feelings in check and remember that it’s your parents that are being uprooted and moved leaving behind a lot of memories. Remember how you felt when your parents moved when you were young and the feelings you had? Most important is do not be judgemental. Perhaps a third party will be required to help with the process
Plan the new space
You will know the approximate size of the new rooms so sit down with your parents and decide what pieces of furniture are just not going to fit into the new living quarters. Maybe now is a good time to help out a child or a grandchild that could use a piece of furniture that is not going to fit into the new place. Explain that the piece will still get good use and will provide memories of them to the new owner. Maybe a sale would be in order with the money from the sale being used for something special that they want or need.
Decorative items are really the ones that make the place feel like home. Ensure that you know which are most important and pack them carefully. Once in the new place have them hung or displayed in a place for all to see to reduce the anxiety of the move. These memories will bring a sense of home and calm to them.
Now is the time to purge
I don’t know if it’s an age thing or not but many elderly people I’ve met tend to hang on to things and don’t want to let go. Now is a great time to go through the closets and drawers and toss anything that is worn to the point it is no longer wearable or donate anything that just doesn’t fit anymore.
As you go through the process remember the three piles – toss, donate and sell. Don’t be judgemental, be patient and let them know that there are people that could use the things they don’t need or don’t have the space for anymore. And remember – we are all going to be there at some point so compassion and empathy now will probably come back around later.
ClutterBGone has assisted countless GTA families with this process. We’re non-judgemental in our approach, compassionate and caring. If you need assistance with helping a loved one downsize just call (905-642-5669) or click here to contact us.