By Susan Devaney, CEO, Moving Mavins
Downsizing isn’t just about the stuff. It’s about the emotions and fears of becoming invisible as the trappings of a life are moved out into the larger world, or worse, into a dumpster or big black trash bag. So keep these tips in mind.
1. Think Aretha: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Regardless of how frustrating your parents’ lifestyle is to you, respect should be at the forefront of communication. It’s how you say what you say; you’re a team with a cooperative spirit.
2. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” isn’t just a cliché. Our stuff is personal, but it’s also generational. Each generation has its triggers: priorities that trigger fear. Many of our parents either lived through the Great Depression or grew up with vivid impressions of how it framed their parents’ lives. “Save, save, you may need it someday” was a mantra. Baby boomers are disposers. No wonder there’s conflict over how to sort the stuff.
3. From babies to centenarians, none of us functions well when hungry. So, if the attitude seems to be heading south, add a healthful snack or meal. A change in activity, and being fortified, will re-energize you.
4. Keep work sessions brief. Everyone should return to the sort with a sense of accomplishment.
5. Focus on what’s being used now, current interests, and what fits the next phase. There’s so much change with a move, now isn’t the time to review everything in the house. If it hasn’t been sorted in the last 40 years, it doesn’t have to be sorted right now.
6. Your home turns into a house as you peel back the personal elements. It helps to emotionally let go as you consider the house to be a shell of space to be marketed.
7. Sparkling clean and fresh is key. Let buyers add their style and equity to the house. Invest in professional window cleaning immediately prior to placing the home on the market. Toothbrush clean grout and around faucets. Pour on the elbow grease.
8. Purge the corners of clutter. Create curb appeal from the basement to the attic. Photograph the rooms. Then look at the pictures. This lets you see the space as an observer. Purging now means money in your pocket.
9. Stage the house. Keep colors serene. Your goal is to appeal to the largest pool of tastes, for buyers to immediately envision their belongings in your house.
10. Have fun in the process. Treasure the time together. Share stories, memories.