Downsizing is an inevitable part of moving to a new residence: taking old clothes and knick-knacks to your favorite non-profit donation center, throwing away the toaster that hasn’t worked in years, and getting rid of all the ‘treasures’ you’ve accumulated that your family no longer needs.
But, downsizing can be particularly difficult for seniors, who may find it overwhelming to think about letting go of the items they’ve gathered over a lifetime. If a senior loved one is faced with a move to smaller living space where they may have less storage space, that clutter in the closet may turn into a stubborn roadblock – or even a justification to resist moving.
This can lead to a stressful period for seniors and their caregivers, who are usually the ones faced with confronting their parents about downsizing. Fortunately, there are approaches you can follow to make the process easier, even if a senior loved one has a more serious hoarding issue.
Here are a few key tips to follow:
- Start slowly and tackle one room or part of a room at a time. Start with an easier room such as a bathroom
- Stay organized by creating piles for things you want to keep, give to family/friends, sell/donate or throw away
- Ask for help from friends and family. Downsizing can be an emotional and physical process on both the senior and caregiver
- Selling your possessions sounds like a good idea, but it requires additional time and effort so carefully weigh the advantages / disadvantages of using garage sales, eBay or Craigslist
- Plan for the space ahead. Having a floorplan of your new home will help you decide which pieces of furniture will fit
- Enlist the help of a professional mover that specializes in senior relocation, such as Gentle Transitions, one of California’s oldest senior relocation firms