Tag Archives: baby boomers

5 Tips for Helping Your Parents Downsize


Are your parents ready to move? Maybe one is thinking about moving but the other isn’t ready? Are you worried about their safety and think they should be thinking about moving but they don’t seem interested at all?

Assess the situation and be realistic. Deciding to downsize is process with many layers and chapters. Where are your parents in that process?

  1. Not ready. Can’t see themselves leaving home
  2. Considering the possibility, but not convinced
  3. Ready but don’t know where or how
  4. Ready and have a plan

Assuming your folks ARE ready to move and are just getting started, here are some tips for helping you successfully help them:

  • Your pace may not be their pace. Be respectful and mindful of where your parents are at in the process of being ready to move. You’ll only be able to go as fast as they are capable and willing to. Understanding their resistances rather than fighting them will enable you to better tailor your message to their ears.
  • Help assess their immediate needs. Are they or you considering moving because of a need around safety, health, hygiene, housekeeping, meals, or social life? Help identify solutions to challenges in these areas while they are still at home if possible.
  • Don’t let your attachments hold them bac Can’t believe they are wanting to get rid of the special quilt Aunt Mary made? Then you take it!
  • Don’t take sides. When one person in the couple wants to move but the other doesn’ Generally, unless health and safety are at risk, there are many pros and cons to moving – all subject to a particular person’s perspective. Remember that the negotiation process between couples is complicated and not so much about right and wrongs as it is about finding a set of solutions that both can live with.
  • Offer to find resources. Downsizing and moving can require a lot of research and using different vendors – offer to research and coordinate potential resources that may be needed during the process. This can allow your parent to focus on the work of sorting and decision making.
    • Estate sale folk, auction houses, online auctions: who is in the area? How do they work and what percentage do they take? What happens to the things not sold?
    • Thrift stores – which ones will come pickup from the house? Which ones require staging things outside? Who will take what?
    • Hazardous waste – how to get rid of leftover cleaners and chemicals in your area? (stopwaste.org) Are free pickups offered for seniors in your area?
    • Free city bulky waste pickups – most cities offer at least 1 per year but all have different rules about how to schedule them, what can be picked up, and how items have to be organized at the curb.
    • Movers & packers – find out rates, ranges, and availability. Check reviews and call references
    • Professional moving/organizing help – Sometimes an extra hand is needed to make the move happen. NASMM.org and NAPO.net both offer search pages to find professionally trained help in your area.

Additional resources you may find useful:

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Filed under Bay Area Services, children, Decluttering, downsizing, Empty Nest, Perspective

10 Tips For Decluttering Boomers

Overwhelmed with multi-generational clutter?

Overwhelmed with multi-generational clutter?

We were happy to see an article on organizing by Amy Hoak.  It was featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch recently. The challenges boomers face to wade through the accumulation of their own possessions, their children’s and often their parents’ seems to be universal.

Of the 10 tips for decluttering Boomers the author describes, these tips stand out:

Break it up into baby steps

For any of us without a lot of time, it’s easier to think of doing your project in discreet chunks. For example, tackling a whole closet might put us over the edge, but what about gathering all the unused shoes in a box as a baby step?

There’s always next time

Getting organized is a layered process, it’s not a “one-time” project. Going through these layers of accumulation is like peeling back an onion…especially with the complexity of emotions and memories that are wrapped up in them. Count on having to back through things a few times to attain your vision of “organized.”

Amy points to finding a “sentimental solution” to disposing of things you don’t want. Just as it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize – having a goal for your project–it helps to have a charity in mind that you feel really good about giving to. That’s another bonus of decluttering; you get to be a philanthropist and support important causes with your overflow.

The overall message is:  you’re not alone in your clutter overwhelm, there’s a process to handle it, and it takes time…but it’s so worth it!

What’s keeping you from starting on your decluttering project?


Filed under Empty Nest, General Organizing, Strategies