During my last blog, I talked about The Move as being the first and most important step in downsizing. Remember, during The Move, we selected (through the sorting process) the items that are in the new location or soon will be relocated. They have been identified and are no longer part of the household inventory.
Now let’s discuss the second step: The Family. Based on the wishes of the homeowner(s), the remaining items in the home can be reviewed to determine what (if any) treasures will be selected by the family. This can get a bit sticky. For example, if all three kids want mom’s piano, who wins? Many times the parent will select the child who gets the piano; or maybe it is as simple as drawing high card; or maybe the first pick of the first round gets the last pick in the second round (and so on). Just be careful that the item selection is fair and objective. I’ve seen many families torn apart and left with permanent scars after dividing the family treasures.
Once these household items have been selected, it is very important to get them out of the house in order to provide room for the remaining steps (The Sell, The Donation & The Disposal). Furniture that is heading out of state can be shipped or picked-up by the family member. Shipping small pieces of furniture is very expensive so renting a truck or using your own van should be considered. If shipping is your only alternative make sure you get at least two quotes.
The family can be a very constructive resource when downsizing a parent. Working together is fun and eliminates the cost for professionals. However, don’t be fooled! Working as a team is very challenging. Downsizing is a lot of work and the tasks will never be divided evenly. Maybe some kids are out of town and it leaves the burden on the children that are in town. Additionally, downsizing requires efficiency and organization. Without a plan, the downsizing will seem endless and will add significant stress to the family. Be honest with yourself and determine if your family has the resources and knowledge to get the job done. If so, have fun. If not, pass it off to a senior move manager and avoid the stress.
During my next blog, I will discuss The Sell. It is very comprehensive, but it offers an opportunity to be very profitable.