There comes a time when we may need to help our parents downsize and move from their homes. Being organized can ease the process.
Ideally start six to 12 months in advance to limit stress and ensure a smooth transition to a new home. Find a reputable real estate agent to represent your parents, and begin the process of preparing for the move.
Consider the amount of space at the new location, and work to reduce clutter and unnecessary possessions by donating, selling or recycling. Set aside items that will be used for home staging and pack anything (like holiday decorations) that will not be needed prior to the move. Labeling boxes is important. On the top and side of each box write your parents’ last name and the contents.
Downsizing is an excellent time to review, reduce and consolidate paperwork. Nerdwallet (nerdwallet.com) has a handy list detailing which documents to keep and for how long. Shred papers, which include personal information, that you do not plan to keep. Place remaining paperwork in a waterproof container, and label it. Be sure medical documents are readily accessible.
The amount of knickknacks and small collectables can increase over the years. Before getting rid of them, research their value to see if the items would be worth selling. Otherwise, donating them is a good option. For highly sentimental items, consider taking a picture of them, so you and other family members will always have the memory on hand.
Two months prior to the move, consult with a professional stager to help put the finishing touches on the home. He/she might recommend painting and making minor updates or repairs. (A real estate agent can also make recommendations.)
Life transitions are equal parts exciting and challenging. With proper planning, you can celebrate this next step with your parents by reminiscing and looking forward.
Kira Vanderlan operates a decluttering, organizing, staging and design company. zestfuldesign.com