Downsizing Tips for Purging and Planning a Move

Feb 01, 2024

So much of our attention is spent on things. Caring, cleaning, storing, arranging, packing, unpacking, displaying, dusting THINGS ! But in all this attention, we rarely pause to see how our outer spaces impact and reflect our inner lives. Downsizing is not so much about losing things, but gaining physical and mental space. While an organized space has such power to evoke inner calm, there are myths that often stand in the way of wiping the slate clean, purging clutter and really downsizing:

Common Myths that Keep our Spaces Cluttered

  • I need to find the right person to give this to For those generous gift givers who love passing things along, you may find piles of ungifted possessions. Some people may even forget they’ve set aside something and buy other gifts later. While choosing a few heirlooms to pass on can be really meaningful, not every little thing needs to be given to the perfect person you know. Donating items to a second-hand shop allows us to give things to people in need, but all at once in a single effective trip.
  • I might need it someday | While the practice of “waste not want not” is a valuable practice, taken to an extreme, it can make our lives worse not better. Again, donating items to second-hand shops is a generous way to let someone who the needs the items actually use them and it supports a great cause.
  • I need a memento for every happy memory | It is important to remember that the object is not the memory itself. We tend to hold onto things that point beyond themselves to sunny vacations and holidays with family, but memories don’t take up space; they are ours to bring to mind over and over. As a lesson in happiness, I encourage you to remember one happy moment from your life every single day.
  • If I have the space I should fill it | Especially when your space is small, you want to make every inch count, but leave empty space. Having space for the eye to land evokes peace, reminds us of future possibilities and helps us to honor and focus on the few things that really matter and tell our story.
  • Someone may be offended that I got rid of their gift | Our homes are for us, not for others. Choose to surround yourself with things because they make your life better and more beautiful, not because you are worried what someone else will think. When we walk into an organized calm space, do we really notice what is missing? Will anyone really be offended at your fresh clean home? I doubt it.

If you are looking at a potential move, downsizing is a great first step; however if the task of downsizing and moving is daunting, you certainly don’t have to do it on your own. Two professionals you should look for are a Geriatric Care Manager or a Senior Move Manager.

Geriatric Care Manager
Members of the National Association of Private Geriatric Care Managers are RN’s or MSW’s who coordinate the healthcare of a loved one. They create customized plans of care that holistically address the many facets and needs that make up a person’s life. As experts in eldercare they can provide:

  • Professional eldercare coaching with families
  • Care coordination
  • Maximize safety and quality of life for their loved one.
  • Act as advocates and liaisons between doctors and healthcare professionals.
  • Help to navigate the financial, legal, and medical aspects of the healthcare system
  • Customized options in housing and home care
  • Assistance in addressing family dynamics
  • Education and guidance through difficult decisions

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Geriatric Care Manager

  • What are your professional credentials?
  • Are you licensed in your profession?
  • Are you a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers?
  • How long have you been providing care management services?
  • Are you available for emergencies?
  • Does your company also provide home care services?
  • How do you communicate information to me?
  • What are your fees? (These should be provided to the consumer/responsible party in writing prior to services starting.)
  • Can you provide me with references?

Senior Move Manager
Members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers specialize in helping older adults and their families with the daunting process of downsizing and moving to a new residence. They are committed to safety and moving individual expertly, compassionately and affordably. Services they can provide include:

  • Organizing, sorting and downsizing
  • Customized floor plans
  • Arranging for the profitable disposal of unwanted items through auction, estate sale, buy-out, consignment, donation, or a combination of the above
  • Interviewing, scheduling and overseeing movers
  • Arranging shipments and storage
  • Supervise and oversight of professional packing
  • Unpacking and setting up the new home
  • Related services, such as cleaning, waste removal, shopping, senior escort, assisting with selection of a realtor and helping prepare the home to be sold.
  • To locate a Senior Move Manager Visits:

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Move Manager
When selecting someone to help a senior with downsizing, moving, or setting up a new apartment, it is important to select a Move Manager based on their credentials, experience, and references. Do not be hesitant to ask to see evidence of credentials, bonding, or insurance.

  • How long have you been providing Senior Move Management services?
  • What are your professional credentials?
  • Are you fully bonded and insured for liability and workers compensation?
  • How do you charge? (Fees should be provided in writing to the consumer or responsible party prior to providing services).
  • Will you provide me with a written contract?
  • Can you provide me with references?