Include older parents in the decision-making process as much as possible without overwhelming them, which can be a delicate balance.
Well before the move, sit down with your parents and decide who gets what. Work with any siblings to clear out childhood clutter.
Establish a sorting system, and designate areas for items to be kept, tossed, donated and passed on. Begin the downsizing process in rooms not in use or rooms used the least. With each room, start sorting the biggest items first. Take notes about beloved pieces of furniture, artwork, jewelry, even books, with stories.
Work in short blocks of time over the course of a few months rather than 10-hour shifts during the week before the move. Understand that your parents may have emotional moments while sifting through bins of old keepsakes. Take time to properly decide and listen, or beautiful treasures and long-forgotten memories will be lost in the process.
If the task is overwhelming, consider hiring help with National Association of Senior Mover Managers or the National Association of Professional Organizers.
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