Posts Tagged "parents"

Downsizing: Losses, Emotions, And All the “Stuff”

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Living Arrangements |

Moving house is among life’s most stressful events. Whether leaving your home of many years, helping manage a downsizing move for an older person, or clearing out your parents’ home – you can expect to ride an emotional rollercoaster.  You’ll be facing some sense of loss – bereavement, or loss of health and independence. At the same time, you’ll have to deal with household items accumulated over a lifetime. Many possessions hold emotional charges, and memories of acquiring, collecting and caring for special things from the past. The harsh reality is they won’t all fit in your new home, but emotions can make it difficult to decide what to take. That’s where working with a senior move specialist can help. “First and foremost, we focus on moving you with the items you love, want and will need,” says Dawn Rennie, President of Transitions. “We have to face that, if you are moving from 2,000 sq.ft. to 500 sq.ft., only 1/4 of the items can comfortably fit.” Once it’s clear what’s best suited for the new home, Rennie and her trained associates suggest you start giving gifts to family and friends. But this may not be as easy as it seems. As we live longer, so do our adult children. They may appreciate the gesture, but can’t take your gifts because they, too, have all they need or are also starting to downsize. Senior move specialists are experienced in finding “good homes” for possessions their clients won’t be moving with. Here is Transitions’ advice on what to expect when you are letting go of your possessions: When selling via auction, expect modest financial gains. Auctioneers charge commissions and moving costs, and do not guarantee a sale price. You don’t want to end up writing a cheque to the auction company! Yard sales and the Internet. Depending on the item, you may get only a few dollars. Evaluate the time you’ll spend vs. the financial gain. Donate to charity. Many people are surprised to find charities can be selective about what they take. A charity that re-sells the items may be pickier than a group who delivers your goods directly to people in need. Disposal of damaged, non-working or obsolete items. Your energy needs to be focused on moving ahead. “We often have to explain to clients why their ‘stuff’ is not worth as much to anyone else as it is to them,” says Rennie. She gives three main reasons: Families today are more affluent, buy more on credit, and don’t see the same benefit in getting “hand-me-downs” as older generations did. They are less interested in “quality” items than what works for their lifestyles. E-commerce and the Internet have driven down prices and made everything more readily available. Rennie cautions family members that, “Even though your loved one may still be alive, distributing household items can feel similar to clearing out an estate. Stay positive and sensitive to minimize the sense of loss.”    Vol. 6, No. 4, © ElderWise Publishing 2010. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.    Sponsor Profile ElderWise thanks Dawn Rennie, President, Transitions Inc. and her associates for contributing to this article. Transitions co-ordinates your entire move or assists in estate finalization…with caring and sensitivity. Planning, packing, clean up, dispersal and disposal, new home setup. Specializing in senior moves since 1997, with offices in Manitoba, Alberta, and B.C. Visit

Read More