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

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

Toss It Tuesday – 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Boomers and Seniors

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn the article 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Senior Citizens, the Gentle Giant Moving Company offers helpful downsizing and moving tips for boomers and seniors:

1. Start with a floor plan of your new space. A floor plan may be the single most important thing you can have. It will tell you how much furniture you can fit and help you decide where everything will go before you step foot into your new home.

2. Reduce the amount of belongings you have to move. Downsizing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. Take some time to sort through your belongings and give special items to friends and family. You can also have a yard sale or donate some items to charity. For certain items you’re not ready to part with but cannot bring to your new place, consider using a storage facility.

3. Begin in areas of the house no longer in use. This strategy will be least disruptive to normal life and will help develop some momentum to carry you through other areas of the home.

4. Have a sorting system. Use colored stickers to identify which items you want to donate, which you want to give to family and which ones you need to keep. Make a list of potential recipients and match up the items, instead of coming up with different recipients as you sort through items one by one.

5. Start with large items and work toward smaller ones. Sorting through large furniture first will create a sense of progress for senior citizens. This will make it easier to sort smaller items later on, as it will be clear what storage will be available in the new home.

Find more ideas: 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Senior Citizens.

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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 – Time for You to Get Rid of All That Extra Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

Toss It Tuesday – How to Downsize Your Wardrobe

Pile of Cluttered ClothesIn her article How To Declutter Your Wardrobe: Tips for Simplifying Closets & Clothes, author Laura Norcross is a twenty-something who offers great advice for folks of any age who want to downsize the their clothing closets.

How to Declutter Your Wardrobe – Questions To Ask Yourself:

“What do I wear on a day to day basis?” Jeans? Leggings? Suits? Dresses? Pajamas? If you work in a garden every day, you probably won’t need many dressy clothes. If you work in a corporate office five days a week, you may need more business casual attire than other people, but less clothes for lounging around.

“What is the weather like year-round?” Is there a cold winter? Do you have one great, thick winter coat and one coat that you can wear for spring and fall? Or do you have five winter coats? Do you really need five winter coats? Boots? Or do you live in the desert year-round?

“Do I work out?” You might need a couple workout clothes on hand. Do you play sports? Can you get away with having the same two or three outfits for workouts?

“Do I really need four pairs of gloves?” You probably don’t.  And you probably don’t need four black t-shirts either. This concept can apply to every type of item you own (gym shoes, scarves, coats, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.).

“How often do I have to do laundry?” This is huge. Laundry habits affect how often clothes need to be worn. How often can you wear clothes before they’re considered ‘dirty’?

Read more: Actions for Simplifying your Clothes.

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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