Thinking about what to get mom for Mother’s Day this year? What about the gift of downsizing? She will get to spend some quality time with you going through old memories and you can help her clear out some clutter and maybe even get some money for the things she no longer uses regularly. Or maybe you already have a gift for mom and just want to know how to downsize and simplify your parents’ life. Regardless of why you are downsizing or decluttering, here are a few tips to help seniors downsize effectively.
Remember, the final most important step is actually getting rid of the stuff. MaxSold can help you with the final step of selling your belongings. We make the process of letting go easier, so you can focus on what’s important.
Think About Your Parents' Needs
Your parents are retiring and moving to a new space to spend their retirement life. They seek your help with clearing the space they have. Firstly, sit down with a piece of paper and list changes in:
- Square feet
- Outdoor spaces: yard, garage, and storage space.
- Indoor spaces: number of rooms, significant differences in room sizes (like a smaller kitchen or no laundry room)
- Building materials (like carpets vs hardwood floors)
- Weather and seasons
- Number of people in the household
- Local activities or interests
Once you’ve written things down and had a conversations with your mom and dad, keep in mind how those changes impact what they own—furniture, sports equipment, home care, yard care. Secondly, jot down a list of items you can be immediately free from.
Measure rooms, sketching them out on graph paper if possible. This way you can plan where to fit the big items. Especially, you can even see the items that need to be acquired or replaced.
Now that you’ve identified their needs, you can think about clearing space. Next, set reasonable goals for them, including a timeline. These goals can include:
- A timeline of what rooms to label and/or pack
- Support networks, scheduling who will come help and support on what days
- Picking and booking a moving company
- Choosing a downsizing plan (like MaxSold)
- What your parents want for their new or improved home
Essentially, it’s easiest to start with the least sentimental rooms. If mom and dad have a lot of yard equipment or belongings, that may be a good place. Plan the route through the house. Consequently, the process of labeling gets easier as you go.
Get Help & Support Your Parents
Sorting can be emotionally and physically daunting for your parents. As a result, have your family members, brothers and sisters to support them. Maybe your brother would be delighted to sort the garage (he may even walk away with a few things). Build in fun. Going to dinner or an activity afterward can be truly incentivizing for everyone.
Start With The Big Thing
Instead of diving into the overwhelming task of sorting all the little things, start with big things. As you walk through the house, take stock of what is nostalgic, what is no longer used, and what will not fit if your parents are moving.
Then, mark the big items appropriately as you do your first walkthrough accordingly.
Label "Yes, No, Maybe"
Once the initial sorting of larger items is done, dive deeper. Move on to closets, trunks, shelves, and cabinets. Some of these items will be big enough to label. Others, you’ll want to sort into boxes or bags labeled Yes and No, accordingly. For now, leave the Maybes aside.
Additionally, ask yourself and your parents these questions:
- Is this item redundant?
Your mom probably doesn’t need two blenders.
- When was the last time I used this?
Buying kitchen gadgets, sale items, as well as other novelties seems great at the time. If you haven’t used it in a while, let it go.
In case they are having a hard time picking what to let go of, give them a choice. For example, they have 10 pairs of jeans. If they had to pack three for a trip, which would they keep?
Double Check And Sort The "Maybe"
Next, put a room label on everything you’ve labeled yes. Think of exactly where it will fit. Measure it out. If it’s not practical, then it’s expendable.
Have you planned more than one item for the same area? For example, how many chairs can really fit into the new living room? Double check what fits in the new home.
Ultimately, every maybe should become a yes or no. This may be a good time to become a trusted counsel to your parents. However, your parents won’t benefit as much if you says yes all the time.
Besides, another way to motivate yourself to downsize belongings that are collecting dust or taking up room: check what similar items have auctioned for on MaxSold’s QuickWorth Finder.
Okay, now you know how to downsize. The last step is figuring out exactly what to do with downsized items.
Get Money By Downsizing
The hardest part is over. You’ve decided the must-haves and must-gos.
Consider what will go to the trash and donation. If you are considering using MaxSold, note that we can clear out 98.9% of everything that is not clothing, food, or firearms. Yes, that includes things like antique furniture or that insane amount of paper towels in your closet.
However, if you are considering a garage sale, think ahead; leave plenty of time to take unsold items to donation, not the dump. You likely will not sell everything—or get the best prices.
Instead, consider making downsizing your life simpler. Let MaxSold help. Our online auction can be personally managed or facilitated by our professional teams. You save time and get the best market value from a large pool of locals. Your auction will be open for two weeks. Transactions are all handled by MaxSold, keeping your information and time private. Like magic, on a preselected day, all the pickups will happen. Especially, it only takes couple of hours.
Downsizing can be a burden for everyone in the family, so why not lift some of that burden off your mother’s shoulders? Take the time this Mother’s day to help mom declutter and simplify. Let her enjoy the next phase of her life relaxing and doing the things she wants to do clutter-free.
Read more tips on effective selling when senior downsizing!