Toss It Tuesday – 10 Tips for Downsizing Baby Boomers

Senior couple moving boxesAs Baby Boomers and Seniors face life transitions, the thought of downsizing a lifetime of belongings can feel overwhelming.

Here are a few tips that can help, as described in the Chicago Tribune article 10 tips for downsizing Baby Boomers:

Have a plan. Think about what kind of lifestyle you want. Do you prefer an urban setting? Or do you need a yard? Do you want to be part of a community that offers lots of activities and amenities such as golf courses and swimming pools? Or are you a more independent type who seeks out opportunities on your own? ‘Investigate a lot of different options,’ suggests Renee Funk, president at the Relocation Company, a Chicago-based firm that helps move empty nesters. If you’ve raised your family in the suburbs and don’t want to leave, Funk recommends looking at the newer condominium buildings now commonly found in many suburban downtowns, near shops and restaurants. ‘These buildings can provide a similar lifestyle to the city while staying in the suburbs,’ says Funk.

Consider a short distance move. Not everyone wants to move to a warm-weather destination, such as Florida. Many downsizing Boomers would rather stay here. Take Ruth and Don Mattison. They sold their 4,400-sqaure-foot house in south suburban Mokena and bought a house at the active adult community Shorewood Glen in Shorewood. Their son, a firefighter, and daughter-in-law and their three children live nearby. The Mattisons like to help out with the kids when their son is on duty. So they stayed near their family, but got rid of the big house and all the chores. At the new house, the landscape work and snow shoveling is taken care of for them.

Age restricted? Before they moved, the Mattisons decided their new home would probably be their last move. So they thought carefully about whether or not they wanted to live in a neighborhood with young families. The Mattisons decided that they’d rather live at Shorewood Glen where residents must be age 55 or older. Ruth Mattison says, ;We wanted to move into a neighborhood with people our own age who shared our interests. We all have lots in common.'”

Read seven additional tips in 10 tips for downsizing Baby 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

Moving Mom Monday: Moving Elderly Parents Into Your Home

In her article Moving Elderly Parents Into Your Home, author Mard Naman writes about the ten factors to consider before moving elderly parents in:

1. What kind of care will the person need?

What is the person’s physical and mental condition and what chronic illness does he or she have? These are the first questions you need to answer.

If he’s still relatively healthy and independent, this may be the ideal time to move him in. He can become accustomed to his new surroundings and will initially require little care from you or other family members. Your kids will get to know him while he’s still healthy.

2. How much assistance and supervision can you provide?

Caring for an aging relative is a great way to give back some of the love, care, and nurturing he gave to you.

– Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Realize, too, that the level of assistance needed will most likely increase over time.

– Know your limits. If the person needs help with bathing, dressing, or going to the bathroom, are you comfortable helping? If he’s incontinent and the idea of changing a diaper makes you uncomfortable, you may need to find an in-home aide. On the other hand, maybe he’s just becoming more forgetful, and you’re really good at organizing his medications and helping him make sure to take them. Or perhaps you’re good at paperwork and can cut through red tape and help with his Medicare or health insurance forms.

– Consider your schedule. If you have a full-time job and young kids at home, consider the impact of taking in someone who needs a lot of assistance. If, for example, he needs help getting to the bathroom several times every night, you could soon be suffering from a major case of sleep deprivation. You may be reacting to a health crisis he has recently had, or thinking about the move as a preventive measure because he’s slowly losing the ability to take care of himself. In either case, think about whether you have the time and energy to take this on.

3. How well do you get along?

Look at the history of your relationship with your family member. If you enjoy each other’s company and can successfully resolve your differences, that’s a real plus. That doesn’t mean you can never argue or you have to be best friends.

4. Is your home older-adult-friendly, and if not, can you make it so?

Ideally, place an older adult on the first floor so he doesn’t have to climb any stairs. If that’s impossible, and he can’t handle stairs, you can consider putting in an automatic stair lift. For sources, search online for electric stair lifts.”

Read the rest of Moving Elderly Parents Into Your 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

READ NOW: Backyard Deal-Breakers Sellers Should Know

California Backyard with PoolEvery time a prospective buyer walks on to your property, they are looking for the things they want in their next home. These deal breakers can be anywhere in the home, but don’t forget about: the backyard.

The backyard is very important to family life.

After all, this is the place where children will enjoy their childhood and play in a safe and secure environment. Most home buyers are looking for usable outdoor space. Take some time to update your backyard without spending a lot of money.

Pool in the Backyard: To many buyers, a pool can be seen as an expensive maintenance fee that they will have to pay for on top of the mortgage. Once they see a pool, they’re going to start doing some calculations in their head, thinking, “Now how much is this going to cost me?” A pool can raise a flood of concerns over child safety, so ensure you have a child-safety fence surrounding the pool.

Size of the Lot: The appraisal of your home is typically made in two elements: the lot size and the actual value of the physical home. Getting rid of clutter, piles of bricks on the side yard and opening up the yard to make your lot feel larger will help you when it comes time to sell.

Pets: We love our furry friends! But, please… hide dishes, play toys and especially the kitty-litter box! Remember, some buyers won’t like the idea of having pets inside the house. This can be a deal breaker if the buyer is allergic to cats and/or dogs. Please have your pets in a safe place when buyers come to preview your home and yard.

Landscaping: With the price of water rising rapidly and recent droughts in California, grass isn’t as appealing as it once was. When frugal buyers see grass, they see a sky-high water bill that will eventually lead to a dead yard and a new project to be undertaken. Think about landscaping trends like using native plants, and other low maintenance options.

So What Are Home Buyers Looking For: A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that new home buyers are looking for exterior lighting, lots of trees, a deck or patio, and a fenced-in yard. Another popular outdoor amenity is the outdoor fireplace/fire pit, outdoor kitchens, and the outdoor living room. Think comfy outdoor furniture, rugs, colorful pillows. Make an inviting space for folks to imagine relaxing, entertaining and dining al fresco under the stars.

Investing in the backyard can net you some of the highest returns. Knowing what home buyers are looking for will help you sell your property faster. That said, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior of your home. Many people assume that the front and backyard aren’t crucial to the buying process so they overlook these pitfalls. Make sure that your backyard does not have any hidden deal breakers that could steer away new and possibly multiple bids!

Toss It Tuesday – Think Small: Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Elderly Couple Sitting on a CouchAs Baby Boomers and Seniors face life transitions, downsizing their belongings can feel overwhelming.

In her article 5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think “Resizing” Not “Downsizing”, Janice DiPerna, Hebrew SeniorLife Project Move Manager at Orchard Cove in Canton MA, offers some tips for folks who need to “resize” to a smaller space. Here are a few:

Start early. Give yourself plenty of time to go through your possessions so you can gently let go of those items that you will no longer need or have room for.

Start with the living areas, including the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. (Attics and basements can wait.)

Decide what belongings you want and which ones you need. Those possessions in the ‘need’ category will obviously take priority over those you want.”

Read the other tips discovered in 5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think “Resizing” Not “Downsizing”.

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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 – 8 Lessons Learned from the Decluttering Bible

Messy Pile of ClothesYou’ve probably heard about Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, who wrote the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Kondo has a radical, two-pronged approach to tidying. First, put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it. Second, once only your most joy-giving belongings remain, put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back. Only then, Kondo says, will you have reached the nirvana of housekeeping, and never have to clean again.

So, as Baby Boomers and Seniors face life transitions, what can they learn from Marie Kondo? In her article, 8 Lessons Our Editor Learned from the Decluttering Bible, writer Cate La Farge Summers discovered eight lessons from Kondo’s book. Here are a few:

Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms

I’d always tackled clutter by room – take on the office first, the bedroom next. Instead, Kondo’s first rule is to tidy by category – deal with every single one of your books at once, for example, otherwise they’ll continue to creep from room to room, and you’ll never rein in the clutter. She advises beginning with clothing, since it’s the least emotionally loaded of one’s things (books come next, old photographs are much later), so as soon as I found a free afternoon, that’s exactly what I did.

Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend

As I started emptying the closets, I opened boxes filled with letters and old photographs. Serious mistake. Kondo knows what she’s talking about when she insists you put blinders on and focus only on the category of stuff at hand. Read one old letter, and suddenly you’re down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.

To be honest, I was probably procrastinating. In theory, I was sold on the idea of living exclusively with clothing that gives me joy, but I still had hang-ups: What will I be left with? Will I have anything to wear to work? Will I have to sacrifice beloved things, all for the sake of decluttering?

Then my 18-month-old son, Henry, wandered in, and there’s nothing he loves more than recluttering. The afternoon was basically lost. If you do this, don’t waste time like I did (and maybe book a babysitter for this project).

Lesson #4: Purging Feels SO Good

From then on, I followed Kondo’s advice to a T. I gathered every piece of my clothing and put it in one giant pile. While I normally tidy my clothes only when I’m on a long phone call – distracted from the task at hand – today I wasn’t even supposed to listen to music. Channeling Kondo, who says a prayer upon entering a client’s home, I lit a candle, said a little prayer, and started digging through the mountain of clothes.

Once I got to work, it was so much easier and more fun than I’d thought. This question of joy gives you permission to let go of off-color shirts bought on sale, dresses past their prime, skirts that always clung uncomfortably. I realized I had many things that seemed great in theory but weren’t actually my style – they’d be better on someone else’s body or in someone else’s life.

Six hours later, I’d filled 12 bags with non-joy-giving clothes. Instead of panic, I felt relief – 12 times lighter. It also felt like good karma: The best stuff went to a consignment shop, and the decent stuff went to a charity thrift store, off to see a new, hopefully better life.”

Read the other lessons discovered in 8 Lessons Our Editor Learned from the Decluttering Bible.

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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

Moving Mom Monday: Moving an Elderly Parent to Live Nearby – Common and Complicated

In her Chicago Tribune article Moving an elderly parent to live nearby — common and complicated, author Barbara Brotman writes about the process, the complexity, and the inevitability of moving an elderly loved one to be near you:

“A friend is in the middle of the tense logistics of moving his elderly and ill father up from Florida to be near him. We talked about it – the process, the complexity, the inevitability – because I did the same with my mother.

And after the conversation, I found myself revisiting the experience.

It is one widely shared. My mother’s senior citizens’ residence is filled with people who moved there to be closer to their children. Several are parents of my friends.

But it isn’t an easy move. And the word “move” doesn’t seem quite right. It didn’t feel like a move to me; it felt like an evacuation.

My mother lived alone in New York; I am her only family. We had talked about what to do if she became unable to live alone. We had visited several assisted living facilities there and never taken it further.

But move to Chicago? She was a lifelong and fervent New Yorker. She wasn’t interested.

Until she fell, broke her shoulder and had to stay in a rehab facility for three months.

Where no matter how many weekends I flew in to visit, she was virtually alone.

And that was that. She could love New York all she wanted, but we both knew she had to move to Chicago.

And she had to move immediately.”

Read the rest of the article to find out what happened.

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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 – How You Can Ship Donations Free

Donation Box Full of Household GoodsIn her article How you can ship donations free, author Jessica Michael offers advice on an easy way to donate your household items:

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could ship donations free? If you are like me, you may have enough Amazon boxes to build a fortress. While this is hours of fun for my children, there’s also an opportunity for good in those boxes. Amazon has partnered with Give Back Box to accept your donations for Goodwill, and they will ship your package at no cost to you – that’s right, they’ll do it for free. Other partners include Overstock, Loft, REI, Levi’s Dockers, Asics and New Egg.

Donating gently used clothing and household items you no longer need is a great way to start a new tradition with your family, and to help others. In addition to getting boxes out of your house and helping others, donating used goods encourages your family to reduce waste and protect the environment – more than 10 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills every year. Compiling all of your donation and making time to get the items to the thrift store does not work for everyone; Give Back Box offers a convenient alternative.”

Interested in how you can ship donations free? Click here to get Jessica’s step-by-step instructions.

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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

Moving Mom Monday: Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It

Baby Boomer Couple

In his New York Times article Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It, author Tom Verde writes about the fact that the children of Baby Boomers don’t want their parents’ stuff:

“As baby boomers grow older, the volume of unwanted keepsakes and family heirlooms is poised to grow — along with the number of delicate conversations about what to do with them. According to a 2014 United States census report, more than 20 percent of America’s population will be 65 or older by 2030. As these waves of older adults start moving to smaller dwellings, assisted living facilities or retirement homes, they and their kin will have to part with household possessions that the heirs simply don’t want.

The competitive accumulation of material goods, a cornerstone of the American dream, dates to the post-World War II economy, when returning veterans fled the cities to establish homes and status in the suburbs. Couples married when they were young, and wedding gifts were meant to be used — and treasured — for life.

‘Americans spent to keep up with the Joneses, using their possessions to make the statement that they were not failing in their careers,’ wrote Juliet B. Schor, the Boston College sociologist, in her 1998 book, ”The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need.”

But for a variety of social, cultural, and economic reasons, this is no longer the case. Today’s young adults tend to acquire household goods that they consider temporary or disposable, from online retailers or stores like Ikea and Target, instead of inheriting them from parents or grandparents.”

Read the rest of the article

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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 – How to Declutter Before Moving – Have You Tossed Out the Right Stuff?

Senior Couple with Moving BoxIn her article How to Declutter Before Moving: Have You Tossed Out the Right Stuff?, author Lisa Gordon advises that if you’re about to move to a new home, there is one thing you absolutely must do: Declutter before moving. Here are some of Lisa’s tips:

Step No. 1: Start throwing things out early. Try to start purging at least a month before you move, says Ross Sapir, CEO of Roadway Moving in New York City, which moves up to 6,000 customers each year. The reason: This gives you time to, say, sell items online or drive them to a consignment shop. Plus, advance decluttering “spreads out the (task) to make it feel like it’s less work than it actually is,” Spair says.

Try to tackle one room, or one closet (or one drawer) a day – it’s less overwhelming – and never handle an item twice. Designate “toss,” “donate,” and “sell” boxes, and when you decide an item’s fate, toss it into the correct box. Done, done, and done.

Step No. 2: Gather the right packing materials. Gather organizational tools like packing tape, black markers, and labels in a tote; that way, you don’t have to rummage through drawers whenever the decluttering bug bites. After all, you’re going to need to get this stuff for moving day anyway, so there’s no harm in kicking things off early. Another huge help? Clear plastic bins are your friends – and great homes for small items like batteries or office supplies. You can see what’s inside, and they’re easily stackable to save space.

Read more tips: How to Declutter Before Moving – Have You Tossed Out the Right Stuff?.

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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

Moving Mom Monday: How to Hire a Moving Company – Part Two

Two Seniors Holding Moving Boxes

In Part One of this series, we discovered three tips for hiring a moving company. Here are two more tips:

4. Review the estimate. This is your opportunity to get clarification and ask questions. Be sure to get any changes in writing. Verify how much the company will be moving, the distance it will be moved, the times your items will be picked up and delivered to your new home and the availability of additional services such as packing and supplies. This will reduce the chances of dealing with unexpected charges.

5. Get a written copy of the mover’s inventory list. Additionally, give the movers specific directions for getting to your home and exchange phone numbers in case you need to reach each other.

SOURCE

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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