Tag Archives: Downsizing

What to do with their stuff?

stuff

Perhaps your loved one is downsizing. Or maybe planning a move to assisted living or a nursing home. He or she may even have passed away… If you find yourself needing to pack up a relative’s belongings, start by sorting them into five categories:

  • items to keep
  • items to sell
  • items to donate to charity
  • items to shred
  • items to throw away/recycle

Items to keep and to throw away/recycle have obvious action steps. If you have a lot to dispose of, ask the local waste hauler to drop a debris box at the curb.

Items to sell. There are a variety of options for professional help with reselling.

  • Estate liquidators do on-site sales. They review, organize, and price the goods and host a sale in the home. They typically take a percentage fee on what they sell, plus hourly charges. You can find a local referral through the American Society of Estate Liquidators.
  • Auctioneers take a fee for selling items off site.
  • Consignment shops offer items for a set period of time, such as 30 days. They take a commission on sales. Find out what happens if your items don’t sell.
  • Consider selling them on eBay or to an eBay reseller.

Items to donate. You can claim a tax deduction for the fair-market value of items in good condition. Get a dated, itemized receipt from the charity.

Items to shred. If you are going through old bank statements, tax records, or any documents with important financial information—social security numbers, bank account numbers—you will want to shred them to prevent identity theft. Certainly you can shred them at home, but this is time consuming. There are companies that can deliver a container they will pick up later and shred the contents. You may also find a local merchant, such as a photocopy store, that has a shredding container you can put your documents in for a per-pound fee.

Want help with all of it?

A senior move manager. They charge an hourly fee and will do everything from packing to coordinating with resellers to taking leftovers to charity. Check with the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

  • A junk removal service. These companies can remove everything. Get a cost estimate first (ask if there’s a fee for the estimate). They resell items, recycle them, or dispose of them at the local landfill. A nice plus: they finish with a thorough cleanup!

Daunted by the prospect?

Moving or distributing a loved one’s belongings has an emotional component in addition to practical realities. We understand. As the Orange County expert in family caregiving, we at Senior Life Management have helped many families through this process. Give us a call at 949-716-1266.

Plan Ahead when Downsizing

downsizing

 

Moving into a smaller living situation is a big decision. More emotionally challenging, however, are the many little decisions your loved one must make about what to keep and what to let go.

  • Possessions, from knickknacks to garden tools, hold many dear memories. Letting go of them is like discarding the people or events they are associated with.
  • When boxing up the possessions of decades, it’s not a big jump to realize that one day—after dying—these possessions will be boxed up and permanently disbursed. Downsizing can feel like a little death, at the least the death of their younger self.

Allow plenty of time

Senior move experts recommend a minimum of three months’ lead time. A less hurried approach will allow your loved one to ease into the project and savor memories before saying goodbye. Consider these steps:

  • Talk with your family member. Approach the topic carefully: “While we have the luxury of time, Mom, let’s begin to plan how things will fit in your new space. Only you know what’s most important to have with you.”
  • Know what space is available. Obtain measurements or, better yet, visit the new residence and measure the floor space (and the closet space!). Create a layout drawn to scale to help your relative visualize what furniture will fit. Likewise, plot space for books, clothing, hobby materials, and other personal items.
  • Be sensitive. That set of books may never have captured your interest, but they may hold beloved memories for Dad. This is your opportunity to learn the history of treasured possessions. Such sharing helps your loved one say goodbye, and it provides a way to “pay last respects” to parts of his or her past. What you hear may also change your mind about what to keep!
  • Take time. Go at your parent’s pace, even if it seems tortoise-slow to you. If you rush, you’re likely to run into resistance or exhaustion.

Is downsizing on your radar?

We at Senior Life Management have helped many families go through the process of moving to a smaller household. Give us a call at 949-716-1266. As the Orange County experts in family caregiving, we can help you support your loved one in making this transition as smoothly and sensitively as possible.