Tips for downsizing a senior or anyone

Whether you are a senior, contemplating a downsize move or are helping a family member prepare for a move to a senior community, the following tips may be helpful in getting you through the process.

Start with papers–files, photographs, etc.  Set up a work space, large enough to spread out to avoid tripping on papers or boxes.  Start with 3 boxes marked “Keep”, “Shred” and “Toss”.  Labeling the boxes is important–it’s so easy to get mixed up and throw items in the wrong box.  You can go back later and sift through the “Keep” box and organize it more thoroughly, if desired.  The “shred” box can be taken to your local shipping retailer, where they charge by the pound to have your things shredded. If there is a substantial amount–more than 3 or 4 boxes, it may be more cost effective and convenient to have a local service to come to your home and do the shredding in your driveway for a flat fee.

Next, work on closets and clothing.  It has been said that if it hasn’t been worn in a year, it should go to charity, or other outlet.  Good advice, but it’s okay to pick your own time limit.  Salvation Army, Purple Heart, AmVets, etc. will gladly pick up at a residence.  There are also neighborhood drop-off locations.  Consider doing the sorting in small batches, dropping it off as you go.

It makes sense to sort the kitchen last, in most cases, because kitchenware will need to be used right up until the day of the move.  There are a few exceptions, though.  Clean out the plastic container cupboard (almost everyone has one).  There is often many containers without lids, and vice-versa, which makes the project easy and quick and it feels like you have accomplished something.  The food pantry is another easy place to make some headway–removing expired and stale food.  When the move takes place, unopened food items from the pantry can be taken to a local food bank.

If the project is more than you and your family can manage without ruining your body or your family relationships, consider hiring a senior move manager.  Sometimes, receiving help from a person that is not emotionally attached to the situation can help keep things moving.  If there is no family in the local area, it is an especially good idea to hire some help.  Senior move managers are prepared to patiently work side by side with the client, deciding what stays and goes, being their arms and legs.  Sometimes their purpose is to keep the client “on task”….knowing that money is being spent by the hour can help motivate to do the work.  A senior move manager can help sort and haul and pack and unpack and figure out where un-needed items can find new homes, through consignment, donation, estate sale, etc.  An internet search can help locate a senior move manager.

In many instances, The amount of unwanted items is significant enough to warrant an estate sale.  In those cases, the items that are to be kept and moved to the new residence are plucked out and moved, leaving everything else in place in the home.  The estate sale company then comes in and removes any items that are not salable, arranges the “merchandise” for easy viewing and prices everything.  They normally will handle staffing, advertising, setting up, tearing down, arranging for pick up of items that didn’t sell and leaving the home completely empty and ready for sale or rental, all for a percentage of the sale proceeds and without any up-front cost to the client.  The proceeds of a sale can help off-set the cost of moving, and could help pay for a senior move manager.

There are many good articles on this topic on the internet, on websites that cater to seniors, such as aarp.org,  caring.com,  seniorlifestyle.com,  seniorcitizensguide.com.

By Jenny Loktu, Tender Care Move Management  813.784.0235

Jenny Loktu, Senior Movers
Jenny Loktu, Senior Movers

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