We stood in silence as the furniture was loaded into the back of a hatchback belonging to a young family. As they admired their new end tables, Mr. C and I watched out the window. Tears welled up in my eyes as I imagined the thoughts going through his mind. 51 years in the house he and his wife built. 45 years of marriage before he lost his wife tragically. Quilts, dishes, and furniture that won’t fit into his new home. He said quietly, “I wish I could have taken those tables with me but I don’t have the space.” My response was “I bet it is hard seeing it all go but that young family can now use them in their home. It looks like they are going to enjoy them.” A smile came over his face as he thought about it. We looked at each other and I could tell it was hard but it was getting easier.
Finding new homes for our things we've decided to part with is not easy, especially when downsizing a large home. The first step is knowing your options. Here are some places where you can donate your unwanted belongings (links are for Polk County/Central Florida area):
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Decades of treasures, from china to knick-knacks and collectibles to furniture, adorn the walls and floors of the home you've lived in for the last 10, 20, 40, or 50+ years. When you're downsizing into a smaller home or apartment, there is simply not enough space to store it all. And, as hard it is to let these things go, you've realized these are only things. You've enjoyed them and now it is time to allow someone else to enjoy them, so that you can enjoy your new home with the pieces that mean the most to you. Now, you wonder, how do I get rid of all this stuff?! There is no easy answer to that question, as each person's situation is completely different, but here are a few standard options:
It's no secret - moving is stressful! First of all, there is organizing it all! Then there is packing, discarding, cleaning, and paperwork. If you don't keep it all together - everything you need for your move to be organized - then there is also constant searching, questioning, and unpreparedness. If you found this post, I imagine being unprepared is the last thing you intend on being, so here is what you should have in your move notebook...
"I would like to bring my 10' x 5' dining room table to my new apartment home if it will fit."
I have heard this at least a few times since becoming a Senior Move Manager® early this year. Meet my husband and Business Operations Manager, Danny Ramer. In the picture above, you see him measuring 10 feet out from the dining room wall to show where the dining room table described above would be if it were flush with the wall. As you can see, it would come out to the middle of the hallway - not ideal in a smaller living space.
Imagine not having measured the new space, paying to have the table moved, only getting it there to find out it is not going to work out. Now what?!
Here are some other things to keep in mind when downsizing and planning your space:
Downsizing can be a daunting task. You've lived in your home for upwards of 20, 30, 40, or 50+ years. You've collected so much over the years. You know you are moving into a smaller space; one that doesn't have quite the upkeep or maintenance, but you are asking yourself how you can downsize your belongings and is it possible to just do it after you've moved it all and finally have the time.
Since becoming a Certified Senior Move Manager® and completing 56 senior move management projects since January 2016, I've experienced an array of different scenarios. Some of my clients have downsized and moved multiple times in their retirement; others have never downsized before and can't fathom the idea of going through each and every item, making decisions on what to keep and what to let go of. In either case, I recommend making those decisions before your move vs. after for the following reasons:
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