There are many reasons we downsize. Renovations, life change and the most popular among Baby Boomers - lifestyle change (big home vs smaller condo/ townhome). In some cases Generations after us are doing the same thing. Did you know 90% of people wishing to downsize are women and the average age of making this change is between 40 and over?
The actual downsize experience can be daunting and I’m here to help you with several points. I have personally downsized 3 times for all the reasons previously stated. There are so many details to think about. There is a lot of psychology involved when you help some, like your parent(s), downsize. Here are my tips and points.
Yes, there is a process and each process is unique. There is a budget and a time frame, especially if you are thinking of helping your parents move. Give yourself as much time as possible in order to keep the stress level to a minimum.
Think of what you need for your new home. What you can work with. What is of value. What needs to be sold (any how) and what you can donate. That’s your check list.
Consider the reason you may not want to give up some things. There is a background and cause of this. It is financial - I spent a lot of money on this item and do not wish to part with it? Is it emotional - my family member gifted this item to me? Both of these reasons have dollar values for keeping them. Think of the money spent each month for storage and sometimes the health cost in keeping them. The last is particularly true for the senior parent. I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t keep them but just consider the dollar value.
I have used the help of all 3 professional companies mentioned on the previous page. Their help was invaluable especially when it came to me helping a senior move.
The downsizing company I used was one that has a CPOCD designation - a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. What I learned through them was the difference between the simple need of keeping the jewellery, plates or silverware and Hoarding Disorder and Hoarding Behaviour.
What a professional downsizing company does not do is TELL my clients what to keep, sell or donate. What they do is WORK with my clients to make sure they are stress-free in moving to their new home with those items that will work within their new plans. They know, or should know, the psychology behind moving a person’s item.
Just an aside note, the reason I use the picture I do (previous page) is that it reflects, to me, people HELPING people with their house purchase, move and plans.
I have personally downsized 3 times. Going from a 3600 square foot home to a 2400 square foot condo and then eventually to a 1400 square foot condo. The move from 3600 to 2400 square feet created the biggest level of stress. Here’s what I learned:
First, I needed to remove the emotional attachment to a lot of items I had. Second, I did not need to have 3 sets of living/family room furniture (3 couches, 3 sets of 2 arm chairs, 3 coffee tables), 3 sets of patio furniture (yes that includes tables and chairs), paraphernalia for 4 washrooms, numerous pictures/ prints, 2 Christmas trees and other ‘stuff’ all in the name of entertaining.
I hired a downsizing company who helped me get in touch with a consignment company. I also hired a junk removal company (some of the stuff was not saleable). They all worked with me. *Stress level going down now.
3600 square feet had a lot of storage and items we never used from the first move ended up in the in-house storage rooms. I found it easier to sell items through the consignment company then using the normal avenues as it became less emotional when giving the items up.
I also donated a lot of items to my favourite charities. The downsizing took approximately 2 months, just to get the items organized into piles of need, sell, donate or junk. I literally sat down in each room and took stock of every item in it.
All I can tell you, with each move, it got easier and easier to downsize.