Do you have 12 or more cups and saucers, but only use mugs?
Do you have records and tapes that no one has listened to in years?
Do you have old wedding announcements and greeting cards squirreled away from acquaintances you can scarcely remember?
Does your medicine chest hold bottles of ancient vitamins and antique prescriptions?
Do you own costume jewelry, pins, badges and brooches that you no longer wear (and for good reason)?
Do you have a storage area housing decorations that you haven’t decorated with for years?
If you have answered “yes” to a couple of these questions, perhaps you also find yourself living in the empty nest and are now thinking about rightsizing.
The most difficult aspect of the rightsizing process is deciding what to do with the treasured belongings that you can’t take along with you to your next home.
There are 2 sides to this rightsizing process.
#1 Coming to terms with the fact that it is quite possible that your kids/family members don’t want your stuff. How are you going to react to this? You can’t make your kids want things. Is it worth making strained family relationships?
#2 Actually getting the stuff out of the house and figuring out where it is going to go.
#1 is probably the hardest part!
How many of you want your kids to want your stuff and they don’t?
It can be devastating to learn that your children don’t want the things that you had hoped they would. It is difficult to accept, but often the things we want to pass along are “our” memories, not our children’s.
Before you get to the physical disposal of items, have a little heart to heart talk with yourself.
As much as you may want the younger generation to care about the things that represent the past, you can’t MAKE them care. If you try (beyond a little gentle persuasion) it will lead to tension in your relationship.
The memory is not in the item…..but rather in your heart and life experiences.
As the ‘senior’ in this process, you have to do the hard work of having a “MIND SET” of acceptance. Not easy…..
Here are a few practical tips to spur your creative thinking on what you could do to navigate this emotional journey.
Why don’t you consider taking some photos of special mementos? Write a few details and memories on the back of the photo, or on a corresponding journal page and then create a memory album. You may find that your family has a soft spot for the stories…..that they don’t have for the actual stuff.
Simplify now and save your children from having to do it some day.
Give things away now to family members and friends so you can enjoy the results. Have a tea party and invite your grandchildren or nieces and nephews. At the end of the party give away tea cups and special dishes that you used at the event. They will now have a very special memory attached to them and they will be a treasured keepsake.
Use your good dishes all the time at family gatherings. If family members aren’t used to using them and seeing them they won’t attach memories to them and won’t ever care about having them for themselves some day.
Think about ways to keep a sampling of sentimental items such as furniture, photos, books, dishes and other collections. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but you do need to think of creative ways to keep just a sampling to take to your new home.
Are you the keeper of the generations? Do you have boxes of things that belonged to your parents, grandparents or your in-laws? This is difficult, but the same principles apply. Think about how you can keep just a sampling. A client of ours kept just one dinner plate from her mother’s china, her mother-in-law’s china and her 2 grandmothers’ sets. She mounted each one in her dining area and it was a beautiful tribute (that she saw everyday) to these significant women in her life. She didn’t keep the entire sets boxed and collecting dust. She initially had tough decisions to make, but she made them and had no regrets.
The Senior’s Move Pretty Box Plan
Buy pretty boxes for each child, grandchild, niece, nephew or friend that you would like to give a sampling of mementos to. Home decor shops are a great option. There are lots of choices such as florals for the ladies and leather for the men.
Label them with each person’s name and lay them out in a spare bedroom or storage area. As you come across things that you feel may be special to each person add them to the box.
This might include such things as books, photos, jewelry, dishes, newspaper clippings or anything significant that you come across in your sorting process. A very significant addition to this Pretty Box would be a journal where you have chronicled special memories or family stories. If you present a box this size to a family member, it is manageable and the type of thing they will cherish and gladly find a spot for on their shelf. While they may not appreciate (or be willing to take) box after dusty box of memorabilia or your dining room suite, the Pretty Box Plan is workable for most families.
While we are on the topic of dining room suites and antique furniture, remember that having a grandchild who would take it and paint it (much to your horror) is a better option than it going to the landfill site. At least it has a new life and continues to live on 🙂
Chalk paint allows previously unwanted family furniture to have a new lease on life. Check it out!
Can you think of someone who may benefit from this information series during the month of June? Please consider sharing it with them!
For more information on the rightsizing process, check out these other blogs:
- Understanding Rightsizing – an emotional life decision. Read more
- Should I move or should I stay – take this personal survey Read more
- Proven plan of action for navigating the rightsizing process. Read more
- Your step by step guide to mastering the rightsizing process. Read more
How can our services help in your Rightsizing Process?
We often tell people that our Senior’s Move services are not “all or nothing”. We always offer a complimentary initial consultation and maybe learning a bit more about how we can help would be a good way to start.
We can offer:
- encouragement from a neutral 3rd party
- help in creating a workable timeline for your process
- loads of resources that you can explore yourself or have us assist with (everything from junk removal, to on-line/live auction contacts, free furniture pick-up etc etc)
- physical help to sort things out
- floor planning assistance (helping to figure out what will fit in the new home)
- assistance with the evaluation process
- taking away donations to the Thrift Shop after work sessions together
- providing packing supplies
- booking our reliable movers
- watching over the move day process
- full unpack and set-up of new home
- taking away all used packing supplies for recycling
- and much more!
Contact us today to book your complimentary initial consultation. We want to be your success partners!
Our website offers some further thoughts on Senior’s Moves by Heart of the Matter.
Join us for an informative Rightsizing event at the Chartwell Westmount Retirement Residence on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“One of the reasons people get old—lose their aliveness—is that they get weighed down by all of their stuff.” ~Richard Leider