Timing isn’t everything, but it often determines the success of everything we do. If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say “I’m thinking about downsizing” or “My parents need to downsize but won’t do anything about it”, I would be writing this from my oceanfront lanai in Maui.
The idea of going through closets, drawers and (shudder!) your garage or attic to make decisions about what to keep and what to let go of turns most of us into Scarlet O’Hara – “I’ll think about that tomorrah!” But putting off an overwhelming project has never made it easier. In fact, of the dozens of senior moves my company has managed over the years, nearly one third of them reflected afterwards that they should have made a downsize move sooner.
We recently moved Becky, a soft-spoken lady with fun sense of humor, into a 2 bedroom apartment in a senior resort-style community. Once she decided it was time to downsize and put her home on the market, we had a little over one week to sort, pack and move! When I asked her what caused her to be willing to move forward so quickly once she made the decision, here’s what she shared:
“I worked in healthcare and watched a lot of older folks who stayed in their homes even when they no longer had the skills or energy to take care of them. Instead of enjoying their last years, they struggled with the burden of trying to live in a home that was challenging to walk through and maintain. So I always told myself that when I get to that stage in life, I hope I’m smart enough to go earlier rather than wait.”
Becky’s motivation to downsize was prompted in part by her desire to get her home on the market as soon as possible. Her 10-day timeframe and determination not to put much into storage, however, left her feeling rushed to make decisions. As we learned more about what had special meaning for her, we encouraged her to save her blue and white Asian porcelain and some other things that had special meaning.
Sorting in a tight timeframe can be especially challenging, but Becky’s can-do attitude and natural organizational skills helped us all work together to accomplish a lot. Even so, the process of letting go is a very individual emotional journey. Here is how she describes it: “It was hard at first because your stuff is you. It has lots of memories connected with it that other people don’t feel. You just have to get used to it and go forward, because everyone has let go at some time. I thought I was pretty good at getting rid of things on an annual basis, but when we started going through everything in my house, it was overwhelming. It’s really great that there are services like Downsize My Home who will help you get organized, packed up, take care of details and set up everything in your new home.”
Becky’s daughter, Jennifer, was also extremely instrumental in helping her mom make decisions about what to keep while still respecting her mom’s wishes. Adult children often walk a stressful tightrope in wanting their parents to be in a safe environment and yet not wanting to intrude on their lives. By communicating with both Jennifer about the logistical details and checking in with Becky on her progress, we kept the momentum going. Because she timed her move when she was able to be active and get involved in her senior community, this warm, charming woman made friends with several others, and has adjusted fairly well to her new lifestyle.
If you are considering a move to a smaller home, do it sooner than you think you should. Write down a date by which you will commit to making this move. It could be 6 months, a year or 5 years, but writing it down will create a momentum to move you forward towards a lifestyle that will be better than you may imagine – if you don’t wait!
For more resources to help you time a downsize move, visit our website at www.DownsizeMyHome.Biz