Toss It Tuesday – More Tips to Help You Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need

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.

Encourage your parent to focus on most-used items (and let the rest go). Be patient and follow your parent’s lead — what seems old and useless to you may be a source of great comfort and joy and therefore worth moving. “Don’t go by the newest and best; go by what they use,” Margit Novack, president of MovingSolutions in Philadelphia and founding president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, says. ‘You may think Mom should pack her pretty cut-glass tumblers for assisted living, but the reality is that those ugly stained plastic ones are what she uses every day.’

When facing especially hard choices, ask for the story behind a dubious object — where it came from, when it was last used, whether a young family might put it to good use. This takes time, but the payoff is that once your parent starts talking, he or she may have a clearer perspective and feel more able to let go, Novack says.

Pack representative bits of favored items (not the whole kit and kaboodle). Photos, memorabilia, and collections typically take up far more space than the average assisted-living quarters can accommodate. Many services digitize images and papers for you for reasonable prices — sell the idea to your parent that every family member will get a copy, too.

Pick key prints to display on the walls; large tabletop displays take up too much precious space.

If it’s meant to be a gift or legacy, encourage giving it now. Urge your parent not to wait for the next holiday, birthday, or other milestone to bestow; remind him that there’s no space for storage. Ask, ‘Why not enjoy the feeling of giving right now?’ (And if you’re the recipient — just take it, and encourage your relatives to do the same. You can lose it later, if you don’t want it, but the immediate need is to empty your parent’s house.)”

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

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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

Moving Mom Monday: When Mom Moves In: Creating Boundaries and Expectations

Elderly Lady

In the article When Mom Moves In: Creating Boundaries and Expectations, author Elizabeth Pope suggests that combining households affects every member of today’s family: from toddlers to great-grandparents. Pre-planning, clear boundaries and open communication can help preserve harmony even under difficult circumstances. Here is some advice that can help:

Expectations and Communication. Moving a parent in with you changes the family dynamic and requires planning ahead and honest communication about ground rules and boundaries, says David Horgan, co-author of ‘When Your Parent Moves In’. ‘You can’t treat an elder like a house guest, always putting on ‘company manners’,’ Horgan says. ‘At the same time, you’ve got to preserve the core family’s unity while not making your parent feel useless or invisible. It’s a delicate balancing act, but have those hard conversations as soon as problems arise.’ Example: ‘Mom, sorry but we’re not having sit-down dinners every night.’

Horgan, whose late mother-in-law lived with his family for six years, says many adult children expect Grandma will be a live-in babysitter — only later realizing she needs care as her health declines. “If your parent has any medical or mental conditions, talk to doctors, visit local care facilities and find out everything you can about the prognosis of the disease,” he says. Before making the big move, consider moving in with your parent for a week or two to make sure you can manage his or her care on your own.

Getting the Help You Need. Home health care aides can help relieve over-taxed caregivers, but some aging parents resist outside help, warns Jody Gastfriend, vice president of Care Management at Care.com and LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker). ‘Your mother may resist having a home health aide so you can go shopping’ she says. ‘Parents have the right to make bad decisions, but we don’t have to enable them. Be careful about sacrificing your own needs, because that often leads to resentment and burnout.” Family caregivers should also beware making a frail elder the focus of attention, ignoring a spouse or children.'”

Read more at When Mom Moves In: Creating Boundaries and Expectations.

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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 – Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind

Donation Box Full of Household GoodsIn the Realtor.com article Moving? Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind, author Jamie Wiebe offers tips you might not have considered when downsizing your possessions before you move:

How to downsize your electronics. We all have a few skeletons in the closet. For most of us, those skeletons are broken electronics. Whether they’re old laptops, cracked cellphones, or numerous micro-USB chargers, those suckers need to head to the slaughterhouse. (Don’t just toss these guys in the dumpster, though; there are electronics recycling programs you can use instead.)

There’s one exception, says Michelle Hale, the co-owner of New York City’s home organization service Henry & Higby: Unique chargers or cables whose pair you can’t identify. Maybe they’re for your kid’s 3DS game console or that old digital camera.

‘Put it in a box for the duration of the packing process,’ Hale says. ‘Better [to be] safe than sorry should you find a match for it in another part of the house.’

Create an ‘open first box.’ Hale’s last rule of downsizing keeps things smooth when it comes time to unpack: Create an ‘open first box,’ complete with toilet paper, lightbulbs, toiletries, basic cleaning supplies, and bed sheets. This genius idea keeps you from having to dig through every box to fill your basic needs on your first night in your new place—just open, kick back, and relax. Just make sure to label it clearly and instruct your movers to leave it somewhere obvious. ‘It will help you get through that first night with a little less stress,’ Hale says.”

Read more at: Moving? Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind.

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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

SURVEY: Bigger House vs. Bigger Yard

Elegant Backyard in northern CA

Here in beautiful Contra Costa County we enjoy glorious weather most of the year. Outdoor living is becoming just as important as the indoors, according to a recent Taylor Morrison survey. Survey results found home buyers crave green space and more than half say they’d be willing to sacrifice living s/f  for a bigger yard.

The most important exterior features is distance from existing neighbors. Buyers of all ages believe breathing room is key, even beating curb appeal elements such as driveway, paint color and roofing finishes. Features such as outdoor ‘living rooms,’ retractable floor to ceiling glass walls, matching tiled flooring are helping to create today’s more outdoor-oriented homes. Interest in the great outdoors is stronger among women. The survey also shows having more yard is a consistent desire among parents and non-parents alike, as well as across generations.

So, when remodeling, you will want to keep this in mind. The next owner will appreciate it and possibly pay more for your property!

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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

Moving Mom Monday: Is Independent Living Right for Your Parents?

Baby Boomer Couple

In the article Should Your Parents Consider Moving to Independent Living?, children of older parents learn the reasons why independent living is a good choice for active, healthy older adults who can get around on their own and don’t need help with activities of daily living:

“Most people living in independent living still drive, may be employed, have active lifestyles, and participate in the greater city community.

Seniors might consider independent living because they:

– Feel that maintaining their house is getting more and more difficult.

– Have shrinking social circles and are getting lonely.

– Have lost a spouse and feel that joining a community of people their own age would help them stay engaged in life and prevent loneliness.

– Want to move to be closer to their kids, but don’t want to live with them, don’t want the upkeep of a house, and do want to make new friends in their new city.”

Read more at Should Your Parents Consider Moving to Independent Living?.

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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 – Use the Four Box Method

Donation Box Full of Household GoodsIn the Lifehacker article How to Kick Your Clutter Habit and Live in a Clean House Once and For All, you will discover how to use the Four Box Method to toss out what you no longer need:

“The four box method is just a modified version of keep/donate/toss. Instead of three boxes, you’ll make four: Keep, Sell/Donate, Store, and Trash.

– Keep are items you need or use regularly, and have space for.

– Sell/Donate will go to Goodwill or your favorite charity, or hopefully make you a little money on eBay or Craigslist.

– Trash is junk: papers to be shredded, broken things that you know you’ll never repair, you know the deal.

– Store is the most ambiguous: these are the boxes of things that you can’t part with that don’t play a role in your daily life. They’re to be stored, but only so much that you have available storage space.”

Read more at: How to Kick Your Clutter Habit and Live in a Clean House Once and For All.

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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

Moving Mom Monday: Moving Aging Parents Into Your Home

In the Consumer Reports article Moving aging parents into your home, adult children will find advice on how to handle renovations, taxes, and dealing with your sibs:

“As our parents get older, many of us consider letting them move in with us. But the financial ramifications–including remodeling costs, reduced income, and the tax consequences–are often greater than people anticipate, says Bradley Frigon, an estate-planning attorney in Englewood, Colo. Here are some factors to consider before you extend an invitation:

Home-remodeling needs

If your house or apartment is too small to accommodate a parent, one option is to add space. But the cost can be substantial: A master-suite addition costs $111,245 on average, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report. Even if a major renovation isn’t required, you might need to make changes. For example, doorways should be 36 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Widening them can cost $500 to $5,000, depending on construction needs, says Bill Owens, a builder in Columbus, Ohio, who is a certified aging-in-place specialist, a designation given by the National Association of Home Builders. Or you can install swing-clear hinges, which allow doors to open entirely out of the door frame. Each hinge costs about $20 to $100.

An occupational therapist can assess the way your parent does everyday tasks to recommend renovations that will increase his or her safety. Projects might include additional lighting and adding grab bars. Ask your physician for a referral to an occupational therapist in your area. The average hourly wage is about $38, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Smart adaptions will help an elderly parent live safely in your home, and allow you to remain there as you get older.

Possible reductions in income

If your parent is still healthy, she can help around the house and contribute financially. But if she needs daily assistance and you decide to provide the care yourself, that usually requires taking time from work. For female caregivers 50 and older, the average amount of lost income, Social Security, and pension payments totals about $324,000, according to a 2011 MetLife study. For male caregivers 50 and older, the loss is $284,000.

A home health aide can provide such services as cooking, cleaning, reminding your parent to take medications, and taking him to appointments. They make a median of $20 per hour, according to the 2014 Genworth Cost of Care survey. Your local Area Agency on Aging office can help you find an aide, in-home skilled nursing care, and more.”

Read the rest at Moving aging parents into your home.

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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 – 6 Steps In Dealing With Inherited Clutter

Senior couple packing a miving boxWhen reading the article 6 Steps In Dealing With Inherited Clutter, you will learn that “Decluttering can cause a lot of stress. This stress is magnified when it’s inherited clutter. Pressure can mount when you are faced with the decluttering task of things that are not yours or are left to your care. Why? Because simply, this isn’t your mess! Yet you have to clean it up!”

Here are some tips to make things easier:

1. Itemize Things

Itemizing things can reduce the feeling of overwhelm and keep you moving forward. It allows you to make fast decisions and maintain momentum throughout the task.

For example: Cleaning out the children’s stuff after they have left home

Grab a bunch of boxes and label them with things like:

– School Papers
– College Papers
– Toys
– Games
– Photos
– Clothes
– Music
– Throw
– Donate

As you systematically work through the items, you can toss them into the appropriate box. The benefit is you touch each item once, and once only.

You can easily sort out the Throw and Donate boxes. The other boxes are dropped off to your child, with a big smile and pat on the back for you!

2. Let The Owner Choose

If you are helping someone move home or downsize from a large home to a small home, they’ll probably need to feel in control of the move (even though they’ve asked you to take charge).

To help you and them, set limits or boundaries that can ease the owner into a better mind frame.

For example: Moving a parent into a care facility

Explain things to your parent like:

– Space restrictions
– Need Vs Want Vs Have
– What benefits the new facility offers
– Letting go is all part of taking the next step

3. Take Photos

Often, space restrictions will dictate what stays and what goes. Some items may hold sentimental value, monetary worth, or family history.

Making decisions about what to do with these items can be made easier by taking photos of them.

A beautiful photo display book can be printed up, detailing a history of the items that have been tossed. It’s a lovely keepsake book holding vast memories that will be more valuable and space efficient than the actual items themselves.

For example: Moving from a large home to a small home

Take photos of:

– Rooms, places, spaces that hold significance
– Furniture, toys, belongings that won’t fit in the new place
– The person in their favourite spots. By the garden. In the kitchen. Out the front.”

Read more at: 6 Steps In Dealing With Inherited Clutter.

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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

Moving Mom Monday: Moving to Assisted Living – Your Packing Checklist

Senior Couple with Moving Box

In the article Moving to Assisted Living: Your Packing Checklist, author Paula Spencer Scott provides advice on what to pack when moving to assisted living:

“What to bring? What to leave behind? If you’re moving your parents into assisted living, keep in mind that they’ll still use most of the same sorts of things they’re using now. But it’s important to remember that space is usually limited, so think smaller-scale with fewer items, senior relocation experts say. Focus on what will be used every day, as storage space is limited.”

Here are some ideas:

Furniture

– Bed (rent a comfortable hospital bed, or bring a bed with a familiar mattress)
– Nightstand (ideally with drawers and shelves)
– Seating (small sofa, chairs with arms, rocker; avoid chairs on casters)
– Small table(s) with storage, such as shelves or drawers
– Small kitchen table or drop-leaf table (a standard dining table is usually too big)
– Dresser (second dresser for storage may fit in closet for extra storage; drawers are often easier than hanging everything)

Housewares

– Microwave
– Mini fridge
– Dishes and glasses to use every day (but probably not settings for 10 or 12)
– Pots and pans (large and small pots and frying pans may be sufficient)
– Coffeemaker
– Hot pot
– Mixer
– Nice serving dish (if your loved one likes to cook, there will be entertaining and social opportunities)
– Bedding (two sets sheets, blankets, pillows, comforter — easier than a separate decorative bedspread)
– Bath towels
– Hangers
– Trash can(s)”

Read the rest of the list at Moving to Assisted Living: Your Packing Checklist.

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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 – Downsizing Tips for Empty-Nesters

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn The Washington Post article Downsizing tips for empty-nesters, authors Hans Wydler and Steve Wydler offer downsizing advice for folks “stuck with a too-big house that no longer meets their needs or fits their lifestyle. Over the years after helping scores of empty-nesters downsize, we’ve found that folks sometimes lose their way during this phase. Here are tips to help keep everyone on track:”

No one loves your stuff as much as you do. The first three things we tell empty-nesters to do to get their home ready for market is to de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. It’s amazing how many things one can accumulate over a lifetime. As we age, we also tend to hold onto things as they connect us with our past. We know first-hand. We lost our dad almost 20 years ago, and to this day, our mom still refuses to throw out any of his belongings. Unfortunately, things that we think are important to our children may not be, and things that we think are disposable may have tremendous intrinsic value to our loved ones.

De-clutter on the front end. If you get something new, throw something old out. One in, one out. If you have too much stuff, change the ratio. For example, if you buy a new shirt, get rid of two or three old ones.

Move when you can, not when you have to. Don’t stay too long. It’s easy to do. You’ve raised your family in a home, and have a lifetime of memories there. It’s a growing trend for empty-nesters to modify their homes — by installing elevators and creating wide spaces to accommodate wheelchairs, for instance – to meet their needs as elderly people. Unfortunately, not every house can be adequately modified. And modifications can’t erase all the unneeded space in the family home. We’ve seen it happen way too often – elderly homeowners start to lose the ability to maintain the house, whether for financial, physical or other age-related reasons. That’s when bad things start to happen.”

Find more ideas: Downsizing tips 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