Category Archives: Right-sizing Yourself

For the person who is able and willing to do the job themselves.

Book review: Sell, Keep, or Toss?

I have been amazed when I’ve given a talk on downsizing, when some people come up to me afterward and tell me that they have downsized already but still have all of the stuff from their former home in storage. This is because they would rather pay the storage fees than suspect that they got any less than top dollar for the items they have stored.

That is why I like to recommend this book by Harry L. Rinker, “Sell, Keep, or Toss? How to Downsize a Home, Settle an Estate, and Appraise Personal Property”.  In the book he takes you through the whole process of getting rid of your stuff. He starts out by telling how online auctions have changed the value of items that were once thought scarce and instead are showing up in the thousands on auction sites. He informs you that the price for items you see in antique and collectible guidebooks reflect the price you would expect to pay in a retail store, not what the dealer or collector is going to offer you. After getting you to accept realistic prices for your stuff, he spends the rest of the book showing you all the ways of disposing of your items. He breaks down the downsizing process into step by step plans.

You would feel more confident following his instructions than you would getting advice from the cousin of a friend of a friend who knows someone.

Mental preparation

Edna understood that underlying her reluctance to deal with the chaos in her home was a lot of emotional baggage. It had always been easier to make no decisions about the stuff than to really focus on the items.

  • She had things that were of no real use or value to her but she felt she must keep them anyway because of the people who had given them to her. What if they visited and didn’t find the items they had given her?!
  • She really wished that her family and friends would stop giving her ceramic cats just because at one time they had been novel and interesting to her. She knew in her heart it was up to her to speak up and not to expect anyone to read her mind. Why she couldn’t even read it herself! The question was – could she give herself the freedom and permission to just say “no” to some of the stuff and give away, throw out, or sell items that no longer gave her a sense of fulfillment?
  • There were some things she had kept out of the sense of guilt she might feel if she got rid of them because she had received them from her mother even though her sister had wanted them just as much.
  • There were even items she avoided because of the anger she felt when she even thought about them.
  • And then there were the items that still brought up grief from Arthur’s death…things of his that could go to someone else when she felt ready to release them.

 Questions:

How ready are you to deal emotionally with the items you will encounter as you go through your home?

Could you release any items back into your original family such as to a sister, brother, or their children? Could this be an opportunity to heal a relationship?

“Before you can do anything, you have to do something else first.”

The Baby Boomer generation has different ideas about aging than their parents had. Boomers, in general, do not embrace the idea of going lockstep through the continuing care curriculum of independent living, on to assisted-living, and finally, to skilled nursing and/or dementia care. Also, most Baby Boomers haven’t laid up enough of a nest egg to carry them through retirement. Thus we all want to remain in our own homes as we grow old. The word is out and a whole range of products and services have emerged to serve that desire, from universal design, along with retrofitting the current home, to technology to monitor us. But what about the cultch that surrounds us? We’ve been shopping and inheriting stuff for decades. Before the carpenters can come in do their work, the space needs to be cleared to give them access.

I have seen the havoc and heartbreak which occurs when an elderly person gives up their home either voluntarily or involuntarily and I have concluded that the only way to lessen the pain and stress on everyone involved is to engage Seniors, when they are still cognitively in charge, in the decision-making process about what to keep and what to let go. With “The Accidental Hoarder” I intend to take the reader through the steps involved in ‘curating the stuff’ until what remains contributes to the life you want to lead now.

Will You Age in Place as an Accidental Hoarder or a Curator?

Could This Be You?

Edna fully woke up to her situation when she received a phone call from her grandson, Billy, a seventh-grader, asking if he and a couple of his friends could shoot some footage of her home for a documentary on hoarding as part of a school project. Edna knew she wasn’t a hoarder, but the topic is so much in fashion these days and, apparently to Billy, her home fit the criteria.

She knew that over the past four years since her husband, Arthur, died she had felt less and less inclined to deal with things. Her energy fluctuated and some days she felt too old and stiff to expend any energy on things that really did need her attention. She was aware that the number of items in her home had been increasing without any attempt on her part to determine whether they deserved the space they took up. Some of the items were things that she had purchased, even sometimes things she knew she already had but had no idea where they were. There were a lot of items that had been in her own or her husband’s family that were added when those parents died and their homes were closed out. There were even things belonging to her grown children that they had left behind when they moved on with their own lives. And then there were the gifts from every birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day that had been bestowed on her from family and friends. When had it become such an overwhelming burden?! Continue reading Will You Age in Place as an Accidental Hoarder or a Curator?

Murphy’s Law of Aging in Place

“Before you can do anything, you have to do something else first.”

The Baby Boomer generation has different ideas about aging than their parents had. Boomers, in general, do not embrace the idea of going lockstep through the continuing care curriculum of independent living, on to assisted-living, and finally, to skilled nursing and/or dementia care. Also, most Baby Boomers haven’t laid up enough of a nest egg to carry them through retirement. Thus we all want to remain in our own homes as we grow old. The word is out and a whole range of products and services have emerged to serve that desire, from universal design, along with retrofitting the current home, to technology to monitor us. But what about the cultch that surrounds us? We’ve been shopping and inheriting stuff for decades. Before the carpenters can come in do their work, the space needs to be cleared to give them access.