Help­ing se­niors to find new ways to down­size

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FIFTY PLUS - By Mar­lene Stacks Se­nior Tran­si­tion Ser­vices

It’s an age old ques­tion and one we hear from al­most ev­ery client who is con­sid­er­ing a move into a smaller res­i­dence — “what should I do with all my stuff”?

This dilemma is of­ten very per­plex­ing es­pe­cially when a larger house or condo is over­flow­ing with decades’ worth of in­her­ited trea­sures, sou­venirs from coun­tries vis­ited and ac­quired col­lec­tions rang­ing from art­work to shoes. This co­nun­drum is of­ten the rea­son why many peo­ple de­fer a de­ci­sion to move; they sim­ply don’t have the en­ergy or de­sire to tackle their stuff.

For the in­di­vid­u­als who have enor­mous vol­umes of pos­ses­sions in their at­tics, base­ments and garages, or­ga­niz­ing an es­tate sale, do­nat­ing con­tents to a char­ity and sim­ply pitch­ing the junk is prob­a­bly the an­swer. How­ever, for those who are seek­ing a less rad­i­cal way of down­siz­ing, the fol­low­ing creative op­tions may of­fer a more wel­com­ing ap­proach that will hope­fully pro­vide a more pos­i­tive feel­ing.

Use the best and do­nate the rest

With very few ex­cep­tions, al­most ev­ery older per­son in tran­si­tion has “good china” that needs to find a new home. Place set­tings for 12, with match­ing cof­fee and tea pots, sugar and creamer sets and an ar­ray of serv­ing plat­ters and bowls were com­monly used by older gen­er­a­tions for ev­ery for­mal fam­ily dinner and hol­i­day. It was cus­tom­ary when young women mar­ried that they would re­ceive for­mal china as en­gage­ment, shower and wed­ding gifts. To­day, a more in­for­mal life­style pre­vails, forc­ing the Lenox, Nori­take and Rosen­thal to re­main locked away in the break­front or server for years on end.

So why not use the for­mal china in­stead of the ev­ery­day dishes? Sub­sti­tute the Lenox for the Corelle and make ev­ery day a spe­cial oc­ca­sion by treat­ing yourself to the beauty of a ta­ble set with fine china. Keep four or six place set­tings and sell or give the rest away. En­hance the ta­ble set­ting by also in­clud­ing fine crys­tal. And don’t worry if you break a plate or chip a glass. In some cul­tures, that’s a sign of good luck. To make room for the fine china, do­nate the ev­ery­day dishes and glasses to a char­ity.

Host a give­away party

Shar­ing spe­cial pos­ses­sions with oth­ers who will ap­pre­ci­ate them can be very re­ward­ing. To that end, col­lect the vin­tage cloth­ing, hand­bags, jew­elry, books, art­work, dishes and col­lectibles you no longer want to keep, dis­play them on a ta­ble and in­vite your fam­ily and friends to a “take what you want” party. Serve food and bev­er­ages and turn it into a cel­e­bra­tion. You will en­joy the ex­cite­ment of those se­lect­ing your trea­sured pos­ses­sions and have the as­sur­ance that your things have found a new and good home.

Gift it

If hav­ing a give­away party isn’t your style, you might con­sider mak­ing more per­son­al­ized gifts out of your pos­ses­sions. For ex­am­ple, in­clude two Water­ford wine glasses with a bot­tle of wine as a birth­day gift; give a fa­vorite cook­book along with a registry gift at a bri­dal shower; the groom-to-be might ap­pre­ci­ate re­ceiv­ing hand or gar­den tools and a se­lec­tion of nails, screws, etc. With the hol­i­days around the cor­ner, pass along trea­sured keep­sakes to con­tinue a fam­ily’s legacy and tra­di­tions that are val­ued.

Food for thought while you are down­siz­ing:

“Trea­sure your re­la­tion­ships, not your pos­ses­sions!” — An­thony J. D’An­gelo

Mar­lene Stocks is the owner of Se­nior Tran­si­tion Ser­vices, a se­nior move man­age­ment com­pany based in Hunt­ing­don Val­ley. As a cer­ti­fied se­nior move man­ager, Stocks pro­vides her clients and their fam­i­lies “peace of mind” by man­ag­ing ev­ery de­tail of the se­nior’s move to re­tire­ment com­mu­ni­ties. Se­nior Tran­si­tion Ser­vices proudly serves the five­county area and South Jersey. Se­nior-Tran­si­tionSer­vices.com; 215-9475490.

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