Many of my clients are seniors transitioning into another phase of Living. Some are considering retirement and others have already retired. As part of the transition, many have decided to stay in their homes, which they have been in for 25+ years. As most of us know, over time we accumulate a lifetime of “stuff”. So now it is time for us to decide what we really want to keep and it may no longer be an issue of what “stuff” the children want. Many are discovering that our children are not emotionally attached to the things that we hold dear.
When I work with seniors, I try to help them to understand that I DON’T want them to simply get rid of everything. With tender care, I help facilitate them through the organizing process. I must be patience, but at times, firm to guide them through making very difficult decisions. I understand the emotional attachment we have to our things that are now a lifetime of memories. Please don’t misunderstand we all realize that we cannot keep everything. The closets, basements, attics, garages, sheds, etc. etc. etc. are overflowing. However, usually once the client calls me, they are ready to purge…. But, by how much is the question, so I must be prepared and proceed gently!
After my clients have decided what they are willing to give away, I find organizations that the client wants to contribute to and/or support, i.e. homeless shelters, churches, etc. I have also worked with a local auction house, who are experts in appraising valuables. Yard sales, consignment shops and on-line selling are all viable options. But understand that it may take a lot more time to clear the clutter. Unfortunately, most of us believe that our stuff is worth a lot or maybe not!?!?
Some of my clients are transitioning into senior independent living communities. Therefore, the new home may be considerably smaller than the house where they raised their children. All aspects of the process mentioned above still apply, however, now it is even more critical to downsize. Major de-cluttering is required. It is usually easier to facilitate the purging process in phases, starting with larger to smaller items; from more cluttered to less cluttered areas of the home.
It is wise to understand, how much or how little storage my clients will have when they move to their new home. I strongly suggest to my clients to avoid paid storage facilities unless absolutely necessary. Make sure it is temporary arrangement and assign a specific timeline/deadline to clear it out.
Many of our seniors are recent empty-nesters and the “birds” are reluctant or they simply refuse to come and get their “stuff”. We must help them to physically move their “stuff” or arrange for the pick-up and or delivery to their new homes!
I always spend a little extra time sitting and chatting with my new clients. My primary role is to get to know the person first. Now we’re ready to help our seniors to de-clutter, organize, throw away the old and get ready for the new … to transition into their next phase of Life!