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The Downsizing Dilemma

Tips to get you and your loved one through the downsizing process

  • Make It a Daily Task: Work in short blocks of time over the course of a few months rather than 10-hour shifts during the week before the move. This will cause less exhaustion and provide your loved one with ample time to sort and deal with any emotions that come along with the downsizing process.

  • Be Understanding of Emotions: Pictures, yearbooks, home movies, old greeting cards and love letters have a way of tugging at our heartstrings. Understand that your parent or loved one may have emotional moments while sifting through bins of old keepsakes and close-to-the-heart assets. It’s just as important to allow them time to sort through these emotions as it is to sort through the material possessions that trigger them.
  • List Keepsakes: If you plan to hire outside help or enlist the help of family and friends during the downsizing process, make sure to alert them about which items — big and small — are to be kept. Doing this in list form is one idea or marking them with a sign or sticker so nothing gets mistakenly thrown out is another.
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Your loved one took years to accumulate all of their precious things. Taking time to properly sort, emotionally detach and pare down is crucial to both the process and to the wellbeing of your loved one. Don’t rush them through it or beautiful treasures and long-forgotten memories will be lost in the process.
  • When in Doubt, Hire Out: If the downsizing process ends up being too much for you or your loved one to handle, there is help. Professional organizers and senior move managers can assist in paring down. Visit the National Association of Senior Move Manager’s website to learn more.

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