Helping seniors to find new ways to downsize
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.
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.