Think back to when you faced the challenge of moving out of your parents’ house and into your first college dorm room or apartment. Downsizing all of your possessions into this smaller space seemed overwhelming and impossible, right? Your parents most likely feel the same way now that they are about start the process of downsizing from the family home to a smaller apartment or assisted living facility.
Whether it is to save money, reduce cleaning and property maintenance time, or for safety and aging reasons, the fact remains that downsizing is easier said than done. To make the process less stressful on your parents, here are five practical ways that you can help them:
Pick up any items that you are storing at your parents’ house
Many of us are guilty of using our parents’ house for extra storage, but once they decide to move to a smaller place, this has to change. Your college textbooks and prom dress definitively have to go!
Help your parents determine which items will work in their new place
While this can get very sentimental and overwhelming, try your best to focus on being realistic about which items will a) fit into the new space (measure, measure, measure!) and b) are appropriate for their new lifestyle (a formal dining room table, for instance, is usually not necessary in a condo). Be understanding that your parents may not want to get rid of certain sentimental things, but at the same time be as realistic you can to ensure that they are not bringing unnecessary clutter to their new place.
Help your parents sell and donate items that will not work in their new place
Selling gently used furniture, cookware, clothes, and etc. will not only help prevent clutter in your parents new place, but will also generate some cash to spend on new items that will work better in the new property. If your parents’ street is garage sale friendly, that may be a great option. Otherwise, eBay and Craigslist are always a safe bet and parents that aren’t completely comfortable with technology would appreciate your help in setting up an account and listing items for sale. If you can, take the time to donate items you are unable to sell to a place such as Goodwill or a charity, rather than throwing them out.
Consider hiring a professional organizer
Hiring a professional organizer can be tremendously helpful at any point of the downsizing process. He or she can assist with the sorting process and determining which items should stay and which items should go, packing for the move, and preparing items for a garage sale or donation. A professional organizer can also assist with unpacking in the new place and ensuring that things are organized properly and easy to find right from the start.
Reassure your parents
Leaving behind a home where a family was raised and memories were made is very difficult and emotional for some folks. Reassure your parents that they are making the right decision and that this will be a wonderful new chapter in their life. Help your parents look at the move in a positive light and do not criticize them at any point in the process.
I hope these tips make the downsizing process a little easier on both you and your parents. Best of luck to your mom and dad with the move and settling into their new place! Let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions from your own experience.