Toss It Tuesday – From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art

Abstract Fine Art PaintingGot art? According to the New York Times article From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art, author John Hance writes about the upsurge in art donations, due to baby boomers downsizing:

“According to Brian Szott, head of collections and curator of art for the Minnesota Historical Society, there has been ‘a striking surge in the number of works that have been donated to the society over the last five years, from 22 in fiscal 2012 to 77 in the fiscal year that ended in June.’ Why the big increase? Mr. Szott says that works donated over the last five years have tended to come from older adults in the process of downsizing or decluttering. ‘It’s a huge shift in possession going on, and it’s going to affect the whole art world,’ he said.”

According to David J. Ekerdt, a sociologist and gerontologist at the University of Kansas, the trend is real.

“‘It makes perfect sense,’ said Dr. Ekerdt, who has studied the downsizing movement. ‘Baby boomers are offloading all kinds of things.’

While only 4 to 5 percent of people over 60 move to a smaller dwelling in a given year, about a third of the over-60 population will move over a 10-year interval, Dr. Ekerdt said. And that number is expected to increase over the next decade as the rest of the baby boom cohort moves into prime retirement age — now a quintessential time for decluttering and giving things away.

Donating to an institution is one of the easiest offloading strategies for possessions, he said. ‘You can, No. 1, give it to a family member or friend; 2, sell it; No. 3, donate; or No. 4 or 5, store it or trash it,” he said.'”

Read more here: From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

5 To-Do’s for Every Homeowner in October

Repairman with Tool Belt#1 Insulate exposed pipes with foam or heat tape. A burst pipe, like we have had in the past, is a wet disaster that can be avoided.

#2 Clean your chimney by hiring a professional chimney sweep to ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently. This will also help to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. So yeah, it’s pretty important.

#3 Get your furnace unit serviced. Call now. As temps drop the service companies get busier. Your technician will clean corrosion, replace filters and check the sytems for leaks, clogs or damage.

#4 Switch the direction of your ceiling fans. Most have a switch to allow the ceiling fan blades to rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise — one way pushes air down to create a nice breeze and the other sucks air up, helping to distribute the heat. Think counterclockwise when it’s warm and clockwise when it’s cool.

#5 Buy appliances. Manufacturers bring out their latest models during the fall, and stores offer big sales on appliances they want to move out to make room for newer inventory. This month there is still plenty of selection and retailers may be willing to wheel and deal. (refrigerators ar the exception with most new models coming out in the springtime.)

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: Your 10-Step Checklist to Retire in 2018

Retirement Checklist

In the US News & World Report article Your 10-Step Checklist to Retire in 2018 , author Maryalene LaPonsie writes about the things you need to do if you want to walk away from your job next year:

Calculate your retirement expenses. Joseph Roseman, managing partner of financial planning firm O’Dell, Winkfield, Roseman and Shipp in Charlotte, NC, says old planning models assumed people could live on 70 percent of their pre-retirement income. However, he finds that most new retirees have significantly greater expenses. ‘For the first five years, you pay as much or more,’ Roseman says.

Determine your guaranteed income. Roseman recommends 90 to 100 percent of expenses be covered by guaranteed income sources.

Pay down debt and build savings. Focus on eliminating debt that can drag down your retirement budget. Consider refinancing high-interest loans or variable interest rate mortgages now. Getting bank approval may be difficult for retirees without a regular paycheck.”

Read more advice at Your 10-Step Checklist to Retire in 2018 .

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – 3 Reasons Why Downsizing Isn’t Just for Empty-Nesters

Large Home Downsized to Small HomeIn the USA Today article 3 reasons why downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters, author Deborah Kearn writes:

“Downsizing into a smaller home has been a rite of passage almost exclusively for empty-nesters and retirees. But as home prices and mortgage rates rise and the inventory of homes for sale shrinks, younger generations might find upsides to downsizing earlier in life. If you don’t need a bigger home, downsizing earlier could work in your favor.”

Here’s why:

1. You’ll free up money for other financial goals. If you have a bigger home, much of your income is tied up in monthly mortgage payments. By getting a smaller, more affordable place, you could free up cash to put to work toward other goals such as college savings or retirement, says Tyler Whitman, a real estate agent with TripleMint in New York City.

2. You could move into a better neighborhood. Most homeowners (whether they have kids or not) want to live in a desirable neighborhood where they can put down roots, says Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communications with the National Association of Realtors based in Washington, D.C. Choosing a smaller place in a sought-after area over more space elsewhere is a trade-off with a lot of potential upside: better schools, increased walkability, more charm or lower crime, Lautz says.”

Read the third reason here: 3 reasons why downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: How to Make a Smooth Transition to Retirement

Smiling Baby Boomer Couple

In the USA Today article Ways to make a smooth transition to retirement, author Nanci Hellmich writes that the transition from working life to retirement can be difficult for many:

“About two-thirds of retired Baby Boomers say they had challenges adapting to this change in their lives, one survey showed. Among the toughest parts: Missing the day-to-day social connections with colleagues, getting used to a new and different routine and finding ways to give meaning and purpose in their days.”

Hellmich interviewed several retirement experts for their best advice for making the transition to retirement and making the most of this period of life:

Realize that retirement may be your best opportunity to maximize time spent doing what you really like to do, says psychologist Mary Languirand, 57, co-author of “How to Age in Place,” written with her husband, Robert Bornstein. ‘Some people know exactly what they want to do, and where, and with whom. Others — often those who had to devote a lot of time and effort to responsibilities and duties that didn’t necessarily make them happy — need time and ‘permission’ to break old habits and create new patterns.’

Plan to get out and be with others. Research consistently shows that people who spend time with others are healthier and happier than those who are isolated, Languirand says. ‘Don’t be a hermit. Connecting with others can take many different forms, and it works best if you do it in a way that fits your style.’

Stay as healthy as you can. There are factors you cannot control that can have a huge impact on your life, Languirand says. ‘You get the genetic cards you’re dealt, and some ailments cannot yet be fixed or cured. That said, you do have some control over your lifestyle choices. Be the healthiest person you can be, in spite of any medical issues you have. It’ll enhance your quality of life, no matter what you opt to do.’

Read more advice at Ways to make a smooth transition to retirement.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

Heirloom teacup on black backgroundIn the Next Avenue article Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff, author Richard Eisenberg writes about the reality of dealing with his father’s possessions after his father passed away:

“After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)”

Eisenberg offers eight tips for home unfurnishing:

1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around. ‘Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff,’ says financial adviser Holly Kylen. ‘That will help sell the stuff.’ Or it might help you decide to hold onto it. One of Kylen’s clients inherited a set of beautiful gold-trimmed teacups, saucers and plates. Her mother had told her she’d received them as a gift from the DuPonts because she had nursed for the legendary wealthy family. Turns out, the plates were made for the DuPonts. The client decided to keep them due to the fantastic story.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can. ‘We tell people: The longer you have to sell something, the more money you’re going to make,’ says Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation. Of course, this could mean cluttering up your basement, attic or living room with tables, lamps and the like until you finally locate interested parties.

3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal. If there is, see if an auction house might be interested in trying to sell things for you on consignment. ‘It’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer,’ says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

That’s true. But you might get lucky. I did. My sister and I were pleasantly surprised — no, flabbergasted — when the auctioneer we hired sold our parents’ enormous, turn-of-the-20th-century portrait of an unknown woman by an obscure painter to a Florida art dealer for a tidy sum. (We expected to get a dim sum, if anything.) Apparently, the Newcomb-Macklin frame was part of the attraction. Go figure. Our parents’ tabletop marble bust went bust at the auction, however, and now sits in my den, owing to the kindness of my wife.”

Read more tips: Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio

Smiling Baby Boomer Couple

The more than 70 million baby boomers that will begin to retire in the next decade will transform the notion of retirement. Their very numbers will force a rethinking of what retirement means and how people will live their lives. These numbers force us to identify those critical factors that will define a “healthy” retirement.

In the American Psychological Association article Thinking About Retirement? Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio, counseling psychologist Nancy K. Schlossberg , EdDh writes that “retirement is not one, but many transitions, that coping with these transitions depends on the following: the role of work and family in the life of the individual, the timing of retirement, the degree to which work has been satisfying, the degree to which retirement is planned for, the expectations one has about retirement, the degree to which a meaningful life is established and, of course one’s health and sense of financial security.”

Based on her study with retirees, Dr. Schlossberg identified the following ways in which people approach retirement:

  • Continuers who continued using existing skills and interests;
  • Adventurers who start entirely new endeavors;
  • Searchers who explore new options through trial and error;
  • Easy Gliders who enjoy unscheduled time letting each day unfold;
  • Involved Spectators who care deeply about the world, but engage in less active ways;
  • Retreaters who take time out or disengage from life.”

Read more about the factors that contribute to helping people negotiate the retirement transition at Thinking About Retirement? Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – Should I Downsize My Home?

Large Home Downsized to Small HomeHow do you know when it is time to transition to a smaller living space?

Discover the questions to ask yourself in the HGTV article Should I Downsize My Home?:

Does size matter to me?
Think about how much your identity is wrapped up in your house.
“For most of us, where we live not only fulfills our needs for shelter but also tells the world who we are. “More than any other possession, a house is used by our family, friends and neighbors as a barometer of our status and importance within the community,” says Genevieve Ferraro, who knows what it’s like to move from a large home to a smaller one: her 1,800-square-foot house in Chicago is next to one twice that size and the only one in her neighborhood that hasn’t added additional rooms.
“Moving to a smaller home goes against ingrained conventional thinking that ‘bigger is better,'” she says.
Meaning that your psyche may feel like ‘smaller is worse.’
Will I miss some important things about a more spacious home? 

Ask yourself: Will moving into smaller digs feel like a step forward, because I’m living more environmentally friendly and simplifying my life? Or will it feel like a step backward?
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, 45, blogs about her experiences after moving from a 1,100-square-foot house in Kansas City, Kansas, to a 480-square-foot home in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
She says there are some things she misses about her larger house (it was more centrally located, for example), and she kind of wishes her small house had cathedral-style ceilings to make the rooms look a little more spacious. But she loves that it takes her only two hours to clean her entire house. “And that includes cleaning out the refrigerator,” she says.
Karen Scott, 55, echoes the sentiment, saying that moving into a smaller house can be “amazingly freeing.” She and her husband moved from a large house in southern Florida to a smaller one in Stuart, on the Treasure Coast. With her other, bigger house, says Scott, “Every weekend, I spent from four to eight hours a weekend, just doing yard work in the summer. Plus, the house was twice as large, and even though I had help, it was still a lot of responsibility. My husband doesn’t have to worry about cleaning the pool and mowing the grass, either. It’s great how much more time you have to do what you want to do. I loved puttering in my yard, and I still do, but on my terms now.”

Read the rest: Should I Downsize My Home?.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: Transition or Retirement? Words Matter to Boomers

Baby Boomer Woman Executive

In the Inc. Magazine article Transition or Retirement? Words Matter to Boomers, writer Samuel Bacharach explains that the aging Boomer may be hesitant to discuss their retirement plans because the organization may have a culture of “once you’re out, you’re out”:

“What do you want from the best of the Baby Boomers? You want to make sure that they are able to share their experience and accumulated knowledge, and have an opportunity to mentor others, rather than abruptly disassociate. Clearly, there are those whom you’d be happy to see leave, but smart leaders understand the importance of giving the best and brightest of the Boomers the space to transition.

Creating the capacity to transition with grace, partnering with them, and allowing them to continue their involvement is a win-win for everyone. In doing so, keep the following in mind:

1. Talk about transition into retirement, not simply retirement. The word “transition” gives the potential retiree a sense of value and the impression that this is a stepped process, rather than a quick push out the door.

2. Give them an opportunity to make suggestions as how they see the transition unfolding. A stepped process with gradual disengagement creates a sharing opportunity rather a conflict.”

Read more advice at Transition or Retirement? Words Matter to Boomers.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn her article 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk, author Paula Spencer Scott knows how difficult it can be to help a parent downsize for a move. “Where you see a houseful of stuff to sort and toss, your parent is apt to see treasures, essentials, and a lifetime of memories,” she writes.

Here are some expert-tested ideas to avoid the ‘junk wars’ and make downsizing less stressful — for all of you.

1. Avoid tackling the whole house in one go. Though it’s more efficient for you to plow full steam ahead, your parent is apt to be stressed emotionally, if not also physically. When organizing a parent’s move, it’s better to think in terms of months, not days. Tackle one room or area at a time. About two hours at a stretch is ideal for many older adults, says Margit Novack, president of MovingSolutions in Philadelphia and founding president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

2. Frame decisions as yes-no questions. Open-ended choices put a reluctant mover on the spot, raising stress. Avoid asking, ‘Which pots and pans do you want to keep?’ Winnow them down yourself first, then present a more manageable yes-no option: ‘I’ve got your best frying pan, a large pot, and a small sauce pot. Does that sound good?’ ‘Couching questions for yes-no answers provides the opportunity for the parent to feel successful so you can move on to the next thing,’ Novack says. Items that exist in abundance work especially well to presort: clothing, kitchenware, tools, and anything else you know the person has way more of than he or she will have space for.

3. Use the new space as a guide. Measure exactly how much closet or cabinet space the new place has (assisted living communities will provide this information if you ask), and fill an equivalent amount of space as you sort. Mark off the comparable space so your parent has a visual guide. Beware of excessive multiples. In assisted living, your parent only needs one frying pan, one or two sets of sheets, one coffeemaker, one or two coats, and so on.

4. Banish the “maybe” pile. Relocation experts call it the OHIO rule: Only handle it once. The less decisive you are about what to do with an item, the more attached you (or your parent) risk becoming to it, Hayes says. Moving things in and out of ‘maybe’ piles is also takes time. Tempting as it is to set aside tough sorts for later, unless there’s room to ‘hold’ them at a relative’s house, it’s not generally worth paying storage-rental fees (unless it’s a very large estate and time is tight). That’s because once they’re boxed, your parent isn’t likely to look at the items ever again. (Out of sight, out of mind.) Exception: Save time by boxing piles of paperwork, which doesn’t take much room. Papers are time-consuming to go through and present an unpleasant task for many disorganized people, casting a pall on your packing.”

Find more ideas: 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582