Monday, December 22, 2014

The Family

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.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Whether it's my family or professionally, I've been downsizing for several years.  I've learned a lot along the way and want to share my "process" with you.

We all downsize, the question is when and if we are in control.  Generally, if it is by choice, we can do many of the tasks ourselves. If we experience a spouse's death or medical event, we probably have less influence on the decision making of the downsizing process and require professional assistance (senior move managers).

Whether in control (many tasks on your own) or experiencing a life altering event (professional assistance needed), the same steps must be followed to achieve our goal of moving and liquidating household items.

The five step process that I follow to ensure all activities are accomplished in an orderly way are as follows:

     The Move:
     The Family:
     The Sell:
     The Donation:
     The Disposal:

"The Move" is the transition from your current home to a smaller home or, for seniors, quite often the transition is to a retirement community. It can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Think about how you want your new home to look and feel. Then go through each room and designate (by using a dot system) the items that meet the criteria of your vision.  The "big things" are the easy part.

Next, begin the sorting process. It is difficult to go through life's treasures and decide what to keep, give away, re-gift, donate or sell. The basic questions to ask are:  1. Do I need it?  2. Do I love it?  3. Have I used it in the last 6 months?  4. Do I want my kids to have to deal with it?  Always try to keep in mind the vision you initially created. A senior move manager can help during these stressful times.

Now, your things are ready to pack!  Begin with items such as out- of- season clothes or those items with the least amount of emotional attachment. Packing requires the necessary materials to ensure your items won't be damaged as they are transferred to the new location. A reputable mover is imperative to a smooth transition. A couple of big guys with a truck sounds good because we all believe we don't have that much stuff. But, as with everything else, you get what you pay for.

Unpacking and making the new home "feel like home" is the next step. Safety and functionality are important considerations in the layout and design of the new residence.

Moving is only part one of the five step process.  It is very comprehensive and undoubtedly the most important and difficult of the downsizing process. Senior move managers are professionals that can help "as much or as little as needed".

Now, you have a clear perspective on "The Move".  During my next blog, we'll take a look at the second step of the five step process, which is  "The Family".  Until then, get sorting...