Toss It Tuesday – Helpful Tips for Downsizing

Senior couple moving boxesJim Miller, author of The Savvy Senior, received the following question from a reader:

Question: Can you offer any helpful tips for downsizing? My husband and I are interested in moving to a condo downtown when we retire, but we need to get rid of a lot of our personal possessions before we can move. We’ve lived in the same house for almost 35 years and have accumulated tons of stuff.

In response, Jim shares ideas on how to get rid of possessions…include giving to relatives, hiring a senior move manger, selling or donating…in his his USA Today article, “How to downsize your belongings for a move.

Sell it: Selling your stuff is one way you can downsize and pad your pocketbook at the same time. Some other popular selling options are consignment shops, garage sales and estate sales.

Donate it: If you itemize on your tax returns, donating your belongings is another way to downsize and get a tax deduction. Goodwill (goodwill.org, 800-741-0186) and the Salvation Army (satruck.org, 800-728-7825) are two charitable organizations that will come to your house and pick up a variety of household items, furnishings and clothing.

Trash it: If you have a lot of junk you want to get rid of, contact your municipal trash service to see if they provide bulk curbside pickup services. Or, depending on where you live, you could hire a company like 1-800-Got-Junk (1800gotjunk.com, 800-468-5865) or Junk-King (junk-king.com, 888-888-5865) to come in and haul it off for a moderate fee. Another good disposal option is Bagster (thebagster.com, 877-789-2247) by Waste Management. This is a dumpster bag that you purchase for around $30, fill it to a limit of 3,300 pounds and schedule a pickup, which costs an average of $140 but varies by area.

Read the rest of Jim’s article How to downsize your belongings for a move.

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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: Senior-Friendly Guide to Downsizing

Boomer Senior Couple Moving Boxes

Most seniors know that there will come a day when they’ll have to downsize, either to simplify their lifestyle, to cut costs, to be closer to grandchildren, or to address medical needs.

It’s often a stressful and tolling process – both emotionally and physically. But it doesn’t have to get overwhelming. Here are some tips from GoodCall to make your downsize easier.

1. Start early. Give yourself plenty of time for this process, because it will inevitably take longer than you expect. Take your time, and don’t try to sort through your entire house in one day or weekend. A couple of weeks to a month is a more realistic timeline. Take it one room at a time, and take breaks throughout.

“Go through each item one by one,” says Alison Kero, CEO of ACK Organizing in Brooklyn. “It’s important to give everything you own your attention for at least a second or two. It will also help you develop a great decision making system because you’re learning how to focus and then choose, if even for a second or two.”

If you aren’t rushed, you’ll find downsizing to be much less stressful.

2. Start small. You probably already have a couple of things in mind to toss out in the kitchen or garage, but avoid diving into such a big room at the very beginning. You have years and years of things to sort through. Start in an area with little emotional attachment. The laundry room or linen closet are good options. Understand your needs. If you’re moving into a two-bedroom house, four sets of sheets should be plenty. The rest can go.

“Garages/attics/basements are notorious for being the hardest rooms to tackle,” says Debra Blue, co-founder and CEO of Blue Moon Estate Sales. “These rooms tend to accumulate all the old hobbies, boxes, old holiday decorations, and clutter. They’re also known to be rather uncomfortable spaces. In the summer it’s too hot, winter it’s too cold, and in the springtime it can be too humid.”

3. Eliminate rooms you won’t have in your new home. If you’re moving to an apartment or townhome, you might not have a garage or office space. Nearly everything in those spaces will need to be sold, donated, tossed, or relocated to other rooms. These areas might also be good items for consignment or Craigslist sales; nice office furniture and outdoor tools are more valuable than old sofas or mattresses.

“Organize backwards,” suggests Jamie Novak, author of ‘Keep This Toss That.’ “A common suggestion is to pick out the stuff you don’t want and pack the rest. Try the opposite – pack the keepers. What’s left can be looked at and most can be shared or donated.”

4. Get rid of duplicates. You’ll find this is especially true in your kitchen. You have two or three spatulas and ladles; a couple of oversized stock pots; four different sized cookie sheets; a blender, a food processor, a coffee grinder, and a nut chopper. Now’s the time to reduce the clutter. If you’re feeling wary of handing off that second roasting pan because you use it every Christmas (but at no other time during the year), consider giving it to a child or grandchild who can bring it over for the holiday and take it home when they leave.

5. Only make Yes or No piles – no Maybes. When you’re going through years of belongings, some things are going to tug at your heartstrings, and you’ll be tempted to make a third pile of things to keep if you have space. Don’t fall for it. You’ll end up with a Maybe pile that’s bigger than either of the other two, and you haven’t really made any progress in sorting, just moved it across the room. Take a hard look at every item you pick up. If you use it regularly or expect to in your new home, keep it. If it’s been sitting in a closet or on a shelf for a year or more, it’s time to let it go.

“If you already weren’t using it, or didn’t like it, why on earth would you want to pack it up and schlep it to your next house?” says Hazel Thornton, of New Mexico-based Organized for Life. “I know it sounds silly, but people do it all the time. Moving isn’t cheap, either; do you really want to pay extra to move stuff you don’t even want? Don’t delude yourself by telling yourself you’ll deal with it at your next destination. No, you won’t.”

6. Reduce collections creatively. It can be hard to let go of a lifetime collection of porcelain dolls or snow globes from all your vacations, but they will eat up a lot of space or else end up stored in a box where you’ll never see them. Instead, pick a couple to keep and take high-resolution photos of the rest, then have them made into a photo book that can sit on your coffee table or mantle. You and guests will be able to enjoy them without the clutter. There are also tech tools or websites such as Fotobridge.com that will convert those boxes of photo negatives to digital.

Blue, of Blue Moon Estate Sales, says when you’re trying to reduce a collection, ask yourself, “Which one is your favorite?”

“This is a great way to thin out big collections and focus on the one that really brings joy. When it comes to the rest of your collections or newer ephemera, take pictures with your smartphone! You’ll enjoy it more when it comes up in your digital photos than it being stashed in a drawer or box. The memories will continue to live on through photos and conversations with loved ones.”

7. Don’t be afraid to sell things yourself. With Craigslist, Ebay, numerous smartphone apps, yard sales, and an abundance of consignment shops, selling your belongings has never been easier. You probably won’t make a ton of money on most items, so consider how much time you want to invest. Yard sales are usually faster, but items won’t sell for as much. Craigslist has its drawbacks, but you’ll have a much wider audience and can probably get more for your stuff. Consignment is a good option for high-end furniture, handbags and other accessories; prices are reasonable, and they’ll sometimes pick up heavy furniture for you. If you aren’t handy with a computer, your grandchildren can probably help. But if that all sounds like more than you care to deal with, hiring a firm to run an estate sale might be your best bet.

8. Consider legacy gifts early. Is there an antique clock in your foyer that you plan to one day leave to your son? Maybe a china collection your granddaughter adores? If there are certain heirlooms or pieces you plan to leave to your family in your will, consider instead giving those gifts now. This has two benefits: you’ll get the items out of our way, and you’ll be able to enjoy the feeling of giving those items to your loved ones now. While you’re at it, find out if there are any items your children want that you don’t know about – you might find an easy way to make them happy and lighten your load.

9. Allow some time to reminisce. While you’re cleaning and sorting, there will be some days when you want to stop emptying the kids’ bedrooms and just look through the kindergarten drawings, soccer trophies, and once-prized stuffed animals. It’s OK to pause and let the nostalgia take over for a bit. Cry if you need to, or move on to another room and come back. This is why you started early – just don’t let it prevent you from eventually getting the job done.

“I always ask my clients how the item at hand makes them feel,” says Morgan Ovens, of Haven Home in Los Angeles. “If it brings up any negative feelings, let it go. If it brings happiness of course it stays! The idea here is to only be surrounded by things you absolutely love. Isn’t that a great goal?”

10. Use this as a chance to bond. Invite the kids and grandkids over for the weekend. Talk to the young ones about where you bought your favorite trinkets. Tell them about your family’s heirlooms. Let them help pack, ask questions, and spend time with you. Get help posting items for sale online. It can be one more moment your family shares together in the house you’ve loved – before you start making those memories together in your next home. Remember that it’s your family that’s important for the memories you cherish, not the stuff around you.

Read the rest here.

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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 – Downsizing with Estate Sales – Part Two

estate sale shopping cart signIn Part One of this series, we learned that most estate sales occur when the homeowner is downsizing.

Now you will learn more of the important things to know when considering using an estate company to conduct your downsizing sale.

What do estate sales companies charge? Estate companies generally charge 30% to 35% commission on the sale’s gross proceeds. Additional fees may also be charged for transferring some items off-site for sale. Even with the commission charged, an estate sale will almost always net more than a garage sale you hold on your own (and you don’t have to do as much work!)

What are estate auctions? Estate auctions, which can be held on-site or off-site, work a little differently, although generally cost the same. On-site auctions are similar to estate sales, except items are not priced in advance. Instead, items are placed strategically and auctioned in an order pre-determined by the auctioneer. When liquidating a large estate, it is more practical and efficient to have an estate sale or an on-site estate auction.

Off-site sales can be advantageous when the sale is not extensive and items can be easily transported to the auction house. The auctioneer will come to your home to evaluate your belongings, and then arrange for your items to be to be boxed and transported to their site. You will most likely need to gather together the items for auction. Your auction will be scheduled and the date advertised, just like an estate sale.

What do estate auction companies charge? Estate auctions typically charge between 25% and 35% of the gross proceeds, comparable to estate sale fees. You can also expect a transportation fee for removing items from your home, depending on the location and the amount of items being transported.

What is right for me – sale or auction? Time is the biggest deciding factor – if you are planning on staying in your home right up to closing, there will probably not be enough time for an estate sale, which can take from a week to a month to prepare for and hold. If you can move out of your home (including packing and taking the belongings you want, and leaving the rest) a few weeks before the new owners take possession, an estate sale is viable. Your time frame will help you determine whether an estate sale or auction makes sense for you.

Will I really get market value for my “stuff”? There is a big difference between “market value” and “resale value.” Often we expect the price we paid for the item to determine its re-sale value. while in fact, most items depreciate in value, with the exception of some antiques and collectibles.

Your 20-year-old refrigerator may not bring $20, if it sells at all. Your old sleeper sofa might yield an end-of-year tax deduction if donated to charity. The old pot you’ve been using in your garden for years, could sell for $50. This illustrates why using professional and reputable estate sale companies or auctioneers to value and sell your belongings, rather than doing it on your own, will generally maximize the proceeds resulting from the sale.

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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 – Downsizing with Estate Sales – Part One

estate sale shopping cart signDid you know that most estate sales occur when the homeowner is downsizing?

In this two-part series, you will learn the important things to know when considering using an estate company to conduct your downsizing sale.

What do these companies do for me? Estate sale companies evaluate and set up your items to sell, price them accordingly, monitor the sales and the flow of traffic, and provide security and extra personnel to deter theft during the sale. They will arrange for appropriate permits and advertise your sale in advance, to ensure a high flow of traffic.

What goes and what stays? Estate sale companies will ask you to leave everything you want sold in the estate sale exactly where it is, allowing you to focus on packing and removing just the items you want and need – no sorting, organizing or arranging items you no longer want. For instance, simply leave that 45-piece china set in the cabinet and the estate sale company will clean it and ensure it’s attractively displayed. Lastly, estate sale companies also recommend that you do not discard any items – allow them to be the judge of what should be thrown away, taking the guesswork out of the equation for you.

How are my belongings priced? Estate sale companies are experienced in pricing items based on current market value. Although to you, your great grandmother’s old and tarnished teapot may appear worthless, an expert might recognize its real market value. These companies’ personnel are often trained in antiques and appraisals – their expertise in pricing your belongings at appropriate market value will help you maximize the results of your sale or auction.

Why not just have a garage sale? You can request the estate sale company set a “reserve” on any item. If it does not sell for the minimum amount you set, you can keep it instead of selling it for less.

Next Toss It Tuesday – Downsizing with Estate Sales – Part Two

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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 – Tips for Getting Rid of All That Stuff You Don’t Need

Simplifying your aging parents’ life can be complicated and stressful…especially when downsizing their belongings before a move to a more manageable living space.

TIP: When in Doubt…Sort It Out!

Use these categories to sort your parents’ belongings:

1) Necessities – What are the most commonly used items in your parents’ everyday living? Furniture, personal toiletry items, kitchen and eating utensils, clothing, and more. You want to make sure these items are moved to your parents’ new location.

2) Family Heirlooms – Jewelry, furniture, china and more.

3) Sentimental Items or Keepsakes – Gifts, photos, souvenirs

4) Disposables – so sentimental value and not useful at new location

5) Charitable Contributions – unwanted musical instruments, craft supplies, books

6) Trash – all items that can be thrown out

7) Valuables – items that can be sold

PROCESS: Use three different colors of Post-It notes to classify the items in Categories 1 (Necessities), 2 (Family Heirlooms) & 3 (Sentimental Items) that will go with your parents to their new location. This will make it easier for you to figure out what needs to go where as you sort through your parents’ possessions.

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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

Boomers Inheriting Mom’s Home – Rent vs Sell?

Baby Boomers call when Mom and Dad has to move out of the long-held family home. The adult children are challenged with the decision of whether to sell or rent out the house. There are many things to consider and I suggest beginning with asking yourself the following questions… sell home photo

  • What condition is the home and property in?
  • Does it need repairs or improvements before leasing? Before selling?
  • Do you want to be a landlord? Willing to pay taxes, insurance, repairs, gardener, utilities, etc. out of mo rent payment? What cash on cash return do you need?
  • Do you want to hire property management co to handle maintenance./ tenant complaints, vetting new tenants? (Typically charge approx. 10% of mo.lease payment)
  • Do you need a monthly income stream?
  • Are you ready to pay 2 mortgages when there is a vacancy?
  • Do you need a lump sum that can pay for mom’s care and be investing in something that will bring a greater return to the trust?

I give market data and home value, discuss trends around the Greater Walnut Creek and Lamorinda areas, as well as and absorption rates. This year could be the perfect storm as far as selling at the peak. You can sell as-is and not do anything to the property or we can discuss what it would take to get top dollar. Your realtor is not licensed to offer tax nor legal advice, and I recommend seeking the guidance from a trusted attorney and/or CPA to understand all the legal and tax ramifications, as each situation is unique. Let me know how I can help?

Your Seniors Real Estate Specialist & Downsizing Diva!

Photo by jessicafm

DOWNSIZING MADE SIMPLE – FIVE STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL MOVE WORKSHOP

DOWNSIZING MADE SIMPLE – FIVE STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL MOVE

DOWNSIZING MADE SIMPLE - FIVE STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL MOVE WORKSHOP

DOWNSIZING MADE SIMPLE – FIVE STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL MOVE WORKSHOP

At THE KENSINGTON
1580 Geary Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
Thursday, November 12th | 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Enjoy a complimentary lunch while Seniors Real Estate Specialist Dayna Wilson shares tips on downsizing to a more manageable home and answers the top 10 most often asked questions concerning planning for and making a later in life move.


Please RSVP (925) 943-1121
www.VintageKensington.com

Boomers and Seniors on the Move-2016 Directory for Older Adults

Boomers and Seniors on the Move

Boomers and Seniors on the Move-2016 Directory for Older Adults.

Proud to once again be supporting the Born to Age Directory for Older Adults for 2016. They will be celebrating their 10th year. I am proud to be the ONLY Seniors Real Estate Specialist represented in this magazine. Let me know if you have been wondering, “Who’s going to take care of me (or Mom & Dad) when I no longer can?” It’s a good question. Not many of us want to think about it, nor have made any plans. Many clients I work with don’t address this until a crisis occurs. Everyone hopes and prays for good health, prosperity and longevity.

Most of us will outlive our ability to drive. Past 80, approx. 50% of us will have some form of dementia, or some form of a chronic disease. So, it might be a good idea to understand the options and possibilities. Talk to your children, parents, family members, friends, trusted advisers about how you INTEND to live as you get older.

So much has changed in senior care in the past decade alone and most people have no idea just how much. New products are being introduced, new advances in technology, new senior living communities are opening-the rapidity of change is imminent. Let me know how I can help get you the resources and assistance you need now or for your future.

Dayna-Diablo Area’s Downsizing Diva!

Dayna Wilson Teaches “Moving Mom and Dad”

Moving Mom and Dad: 5 Common Mistakes Adult Children of Aging Parents Make and How to Avoid Them

Join Dayna Wilson- Seniors Real Estate Specialist and friends for an informative class designed specifically for those assisting elder family members with late-life moves. As experts specializing in assisting mature home buyers and sellers, we will introduce to you the five most common mistakes made by adult children of aging parents and how to avoid them.

You will gain valuable insights and strategies helping you and your family to…

Dayna Wilson Teaches Moving Mom & Dad

Dayna Wilson Teaches Moving Mom & Dad-5 Common Mistakes

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Create a plan of action for future care needs
  • Locate suitable senior living options
  • Simplify the relocation process
  • Find and hire the right support when you need it

Reserve your seat today! Contact Mt. Diablo Adult Education by calling 925-937-1530 or online: www.mtdiabloadulted.org

Moving Mom and Dad-3 Reasons Why Moving First is Best

1) For older home owners in particular, it can be very stressful living in their home while agents are popping by with buyers, calling to make appointments and having to leave the house each time. Especially tiring if you are not ambulatory or ill.
2) The East Bay real estate market is competitive. Mom and Dad may not be able to secure their next home before their current home sells. They will need a Plan B so there will be a roof over their heads. I’ve had clients who moved in with family or friends, rented an apartment or moved temporarily to a hotel suite.
3) It’s easier to sort through all the stuff and determine what to take and what to leave; can take time and not feel rushed. Take only what you need and let others handle the heavy lifting. You might hire an organizer or move manager to help with the sorting and distribution.

May be easier to buy your next home before leaving your current one...

May be easier to buy your next home before leaving your current one…


BONUS TIP: Make a Plan and share it with your loved ones! In my experience moving first is Best!
Have a specific situation you need to discuss-schedule a personal consultation to create a plan for your parents.