Are you ready for your personal home downsizing? Where do you begin? It can be physically and mentally challenging, often a trip down memory lane for sure. If you are moving from your home, especially if you’ve been there a long time often represents an emotional time in one’s life. Each room in the house and all its contents are associated with memories, which makes packing especially bittersweet. However, for those who are craving a more relaxed lifestyle, or perhaps moving a loved one into a senior care community, then downsizing can be either an important necessity or desired option.
We all know that it's easy to accumulate a lot of things throughout your life. From clothes and household goods to antiques and treasured keepsakes, decades of living often means decades of stuff. When you get to a certain age, it can be smart to start downsizing your belongings. These tips and insights are especially important and true in the environment we are in today, with the global economy turned upside down, massive job losses, and the need for extreme social distancing due to the Corona Virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.
This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services.
Sometimes downsizing is inspired by a move and other times it's simply a proactive effort to keep a home clutter-free and make things easier for the next chapter of life. Although it can feel overwhelming, with a few smart steps, the process can be easy and even enjoyable. Use these eight tips to get started:
1. Start with sorting things out: Creating a system before organizing and downsizing can help the process go smoother. This can be as simple as getting large boxes and labeling them with Keep, Donate, Gift or Throw Away. We like to recommend using color coded post it notes to stick on items to help organize and designed where things go. For full home clean out needs, Personal Property Managers offers an array of home downsizing and cleanout services to make your life just a little easier.
2. Teamwork: Ask for help. Sometimes it’s fun to have your spouse or kids to help you go through your items and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Some items that you find difficult to part with may not be things that your children want: books, figurines, antique furniture and silver serving ware. Keep a few meaningful mementos, but consider parting with the items your kids aren't interested in inheriting. Today…things that were once thought of as collectables or valuable are simply not in style or demand.
3. Safety first: Whether you're moving into a new home, or transitioning into a senior care community or simply preparing to age in place, it's important to consider safety factors as you age. Clutter is a trip hazard for seniors, so keep this in mind as you go through items. It might be time to get rid of throw rugs, exposed cords and cut down on end table clutter to make room for a lamp that provides extra light.
4. Consider new or limited space: If you're moving, especially if you are transitioning into a much smaller living space, we recommend that you evaluate how much space you will have in your new home to help decide what to keep. That massive claw-foot couch might not be suitable for a modest living room. Smaller storage space might mean getting rid of clothing you haven't worn for over a year or consolidating printed photographs by transferring them into digital files and storing online for easy access by family.
5. Keeping things familiar – for memory care: If you are transitioning a senior loved one who may have memory issues, you will want the new space to be as comfortable and familiar as possible. Set up the new apartment as close to the layout at home as possible. For example, put the nightstand on the same side of the bed and decorate the room with familiar items.
6. Organize your paperwork: Take this opportunity to get paperwork in order. Invest in a file cabinet and organize important documents, such as your will and advanced care directives. It's also smart to have electronic records of these types of documents and have a conversation with loved ones who need to be aware of their existence.
7. Sell what you can; if you can: After you have sorted through all the rooms in your home, consider having a garage or estate sale. This is a great way to make extra money from things you otherwise no longer use. At Personal Property Managers, we can help you liquidate the saleable contents of your home through our estate sale services or content removal and liquidation services. Keep in mind that what you may have paid for something will be vastly different than what it will sell for, as with pre-owned items….things are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them.
8. Help others: Take your unwanted items to a family in need or a local nonprofit. These can benefit a number of good causes you can feel good about. List items and get a donation slip so you can consider it as a deduction come tax time. One word of caution be prepared to understand in advance that often times, charities and other donation places will not accept most furniture, as it is often too big and just takes up too much physical space for them to place in their store or warehouse.
No matter the specific reason, it can feel great to downsize and
organize your belongings.
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We offer 6 primary services to help families or executors. They are: