March 9, 2013
This week I read an article written by a man named Greg who moved into a Retirement Residence with his wife a couple of years ago when they were in their early 70s. It is full of interesting and rich wisdom. He first lists many comments from friends and relatives who, at the time, thought they were ‘foolish’ to do it. Two years later he admits his bias, and offers rebuttals to each of their concerns.
Greg and Evie summarize their experience with the following 2-part mantra:
• Make the move to retirement community living while you are still a couple
• Do it while you are still able to deal with this major life change physically, emotionally and mentally.
Read the full article at http://www.leadingage.org/Making_the_Retirement_Community_Decision.aspx
Retirement residences aren’t for everyone. But Greg and Evie’s perspective at least encourages everyone to give the concept some serious thought, and perhaps even a trial run.
February 6, 2013
Too often I hear about people who are being ‘forced’ to downsize and move to a smaller space. Suddenly they are expected to divest themselves of 50% or more of their possessions. This would be difficult and stressful for anyone, but it’s beyond overwhelming for someone who has lived in their home for 3, 4 or 5 decades.
I always encourage people to take the bull by the horns and start the decluttering / downsizing process now. The title ‘Downsizing by Design’ is meant to suggest that you can build a plan to declutter and downsize over time, and therefore ease the stress of doing it all at once. Over the next while we will publish ideas on small, specific projects you can undertake in your home to prepare for that ‘someday’ when you might actually want to move to a smaller space. In the meantime you will enjoy a lighter, airier feel immediately.
I’ll start by relating a recent experience. I was talking to a couple who are moving (downsizing) in the future and I explained that I had done some cleansing of my own the week before. I went into my sock
drawer and dug deep to find a pair that were in the back but were the perfect color for my mood that day. When I took them out I discovered, to my dismay, that the elastic in socks doesn’t last forever. Then I checked another pair in the back, and found that the same thing had happened to them. Into the trash they both went.
The next time I saw the same couple she came towards me with a huge smile on her face. “I cleaned out my sock drawer yesterday. It was great!!!”. Now it is easier for her to find her favorite socks, and when she does move she will have no problem.
A small task, no more than an hour. But it feels good and it can give you the momentum to do more.
August 16, 2012
Over the years we have had many clients who hired us to help when their parents passed away. Some are ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things. Others want to go through everything one last time before sending it to the land fill. The latter group is often not able to do the review right away, either because of the emotions they are experiencing or they simply don’t have the time. So they put the boxes aside to go through ‘later’. And when they get to it, we sometimes get notes like this…
“Spent a rainy day watching the Olympics and going through the first box (40 trays!) of slides that have been in boxes in my basement since Dad died. Discoveries so far, to those of you who have shared my first 62 years… My brothers used to be cute. When I had a good body, I had no fashion sense… so unfair! I have awesome kids. xxx Lake has always been fantastic. God has blessed me with 2 wonderful church families. We are all older. My parents deserve an award (and sympathy) for traveling all over North America with 3 kids and trailer. Stay tuned for revelations from the next 3 boxes.”
Storing treasures for later review can be a good thing… if you are sure to get to them!
August 3, 2010
I was working with a few different clients this past week when I had one of those “AHA” moments.
In one case I was moving a senior to a Retirement Residence from the 2 bedroom apartment she had lived in for the past six years. She moved there sometime after her husband passed away, and no longer wanted or needed the big house. Her apartment was spacious and the furnishings were well laid out. Of course not everything was going to fit into her new, smaller one bedroom suite. So we set about identifying and eliminating things she wouldn’t need any more, and things she had no strong feelings about keeping. That was downsizing. It was an organized process. It wasn’t easy. But we took it slowly and over a few days she kept adding items to the reject pile. And we even did a little more after she moved into her new home as it was somewhat more crowded than she liked.
In another case we are clearing a home to sell it. Staging it. We found a 30 by 12 foot room in the basement that you could barely walk into at the beginning. It was full of things that had been replaced by the homeowner at some point in the past. There were boxes and boxes of glasses and dishes…some wrapped in newspapers dated 1994. There were beautiful comforters and quilts, now useless because the dampness of the basement (and a few mouse holes) had ruined them. That was decluttering. It was an ugly process, and it was sad that so many things had been sitting there for some many years when they could have been used by someone in need.
You don’t have to be moving to downsize. You can downsize (or rightsize) as you go through life. Downsizing is a much easier process, and done regularly you can avoid going through an ugly decluttering procedure!