Our family – my three brothers, our wives, and kids – have all been helping my parents downsize over the last few months. They moved at the end of October. It hasn’t been an easy process at all, but much smoother as everyone pitched in to help.
They moved from the traditional 2-story family house they’ve lived in for the last 31 years to a Senior Living Center not too far away from our house. To do so, they had to significantly skinny down what they had and make some tough decisions about what they wanted to keep for their new place and what they would let go.
A friend of mine went through a similar process with his mother a few years ago. She had so much stuff that they brought in an estate sale company to get rid of the stuff she didn’t want anymore. He said at the end of the sale, she made no money and many of her things ended up in the trash. He said it was a terrible process for his Mom and their family.
I’m happy to say my parents’ move has gone much better.
Most of their things went to their new place, many went to family members, and some into a climate-controlled storage garage. In the end, there is only a small amount of furniture that is getting sold on Craig’s List and another small amount that is going to Goodwill for donation. My Mom’s very big collection of fabrics, for instance, was donated to a local church group that sews things for people in Africa / third-world countries.
I did take a big trash bag out to their old garage last week and was struck by how little ended up trashed. Fortunately, we took the time we needed to get through their things – with the help of a moving company that specializes in Senior moves – and made sure everything was dispensed with in the best way possible. It’s not an easy process, but we started in July and everyone pitched in.
For me, the experience has been another input into my own internal ‘decluttering’ / downsizing debate. It’s caused me to double-think many of the things that I am holding onto. We’re not downsizing yet – in fact we may be expanding with a snowbird place before long – but I’m increasingly looking at all of our stuff with a more critical & wary eye.
How are you planning your downsizing / decluttering?
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