Downsizing Seniors: How Can I Have A Stress Free Event Downsizing Seniors?

 In Podcast: Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out

Helping a senior to downsize and not sure what to do? What questions can you ask to help an elderly person make decisions more easily? Wondering if an estate sale the right choice? Learn tips for supporting seniors and downsizing seniors.

Certified life coach, author & award-winning professional life organizer Julie Coraccio shares steps and tips to support you in creating the life you choose, deserve and desire through decluttering your life, mindfulness and how to organize your life.

About Clutter Your Clutter Inside & Out

Clutter is stuck stagnant energy and prevents you from creating the life you choose, desire and deserve. We discuss clutter in all its forms: energetic, spiritual, emotional, mental & physical, relationships, health, finances and more. We share tips and take action steps for clutter free living and how to organize your life. We’re thinking outside the box on areas where people might not realize where clutter is blocking them. When we remove clutter from our lives we can discover our passions, lead the extraordinary lives we are all meant to live and share our gifts with the world.



Julie Coraccio 0:00
Today on clear your clutter inside and out. We’re talking about seniors and downsizing. Helping a senior to downsize and not sure what to do. What questions can you ask to help an older person make decisions more easily? Wondering if an estate sale is the right choice. Learn tips for supporting seniors as we begin our month focusing on downsizing do you control your clutter? Or does your clutter control you? unclear your clutter inside and out will teach you awareness as well as action steps to create change in your life. Come on. Let’s get started. The entire month is inspired because I’m downsizing. I am organized as I hope you all know and I’m pretty too cluttered guys. You wouldn’t walk into my home and open a closet door and have a bunch of stuff out. We don’t have a ton of stuff. I know this because of my work and seeing people and seeing homes. And this has been a stressful process. I’ve been thinking about this i downsize. When I when I graduated college, everything fit in a car, lived in Vermont. When I moved to Massachusetts, the same thing basically everything fit in a car. When I moved from Massachusetts, out to Los Angeles, everything fit in a little tiny two door, Honda hatchback. And I had a little I remember had a snail on you got it here. So it’s a little thing that we put on top of the car but my entire life it basically in a two door car. And then when I moved from Los Angeles here to Raleigh I couldn’t fit everything in a car but I didn’t have enough like I couldn’t just run a truck like when I hired move They put me with other movers who didn’t have a whole lot so I downsized and and really was able to release a lot. So now Tony and I are going through the process and doing it as a couple. And I laugh we had a garage sale the other day. And I’m going to do another post on garage sales actually inspiring just kind of a mentality after a conversation I had with someone but we ended up donating probably two carloads full of stuff in between that, and the garage sale, and we’re working on letting go of a lot more, because that’s the purpose. We’re going from a two story to a ranch. And it’s going to be easier on us as we age. And then of course easier on the cats especially Joey who is 15 he’s having trouble going up down the stairs. So we’re moving a couple months. And there’s just so much to this, and I’m going to talk about this in an episode later. But for instance, I realized that this house that I’m in, this is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere 12 years because When I was eight, we moved, and then I left for college 10 years later. So it has been a very interesting process. So we’re going to take the entire month to talk about this. I wanted to do today specifically for seniors. Because how I shifted the focus of my business is when you prepare for death, you can live life and downsizing, I believe is a part of that. And I think Marie Kondo has inspired a lot of people I think, with all the spiritual talk, I think we’re in general as a society, not everyone, obviously, but kind of moving really to the in that direction of less is more. Here’s some special tips if you’re helping an elderly person, remember you need a little more extra care for that I when my grandmother moved from, gosh, the house they’d been my grandfather grown up in that house. They had when they’re married, had kids had the grandkids and then we had to after my grandfather died, we needed to downsize or two Little ranch. That was a lot. This will talk about the emotional stuff later, we’re just physical. Now my other grandmother had Alzheimer’s and so it was a little more challenging. And she had to downsize more rapidly and since they had to get after my grandfather died, she couldn’t stay by herself. At that point we really knew that Alzheimers was going on but going from a two story home that she’d been in for 50 years into living with my parents and my aunt and switching off for a while and then it was really my parents before we had to get her in home. But that’s a huge switch

to go from living in two story home to living in someone’s house. So here are some thoughts and tips if you are working with a senior just some things to think about. I have a course that again for April and May one on downsizing and one a moving special 999 if you want it, shoot me an email, get it. So these are just a few of the considerations. I’m not going to do the entire presentation here but just things for you. To think about food for thoughts if you’re working with a senior if you were really short on time, perhaps say someone dies and you’ve got to move like my grandmother did. Paperwork can be very time consuming. She may need to go through that later. And again, usually if it’s a filing cabinet that’s something get moved easily. So if you are kind of in a hurry, table that for later frame decisions as Yes, no questions. If you keep something open ended, it can be stressful, they might feel like they’re put on the spot. I know if you asked me an open ended question, goodness, I don’t know how long I’ll go on for. So you might not want to say what clothes Would you like to keep? If you’re looking at wardrobe, for example, on dresses, pare down the options and present something that’s easy for them to say yes, no. No to so for example, how about We keep your best church dress every day and special occasion. Do you agree? Then they can say yes or no, you have made it a lot more manageable for them. So again, not the open ended questions, just a yes, no. Because I’ll talk about in a later episode, I was surprised at the emotions that came up for me as we’re getting ready to move. So we want to make this process as stress free as possible. Do as much pre sorting as you can as possible and I just for instance, mentioned dresses A while ago, so I would have a pretty short scattered gory of every day, what you’d wear to church, special occasion there and then you could say, Okay, do you agree of these categories? And you can say How about we do let’s pick to do you agree to pick to dress? Okay, boom. Again, not Yes. No, no Everything pre sorted and it makes the process one easier. But it also can go by more quickly because if any of you listening, have done decluttering and organizing, it’s not what we see on TV, it takes a long time. So think of what you can presort clothing, kitchen items, tools, anything else that you know you have way more than space. So if you’re moving into a senior facility, it might be a one or two bedroom as opposed to a huge house. Let go of multiples. Again, this is going to make it easier if you have five sets of sheets. Keep to three. Don’t allow for maybes and this is good advice for anyone. Because when you allow for maybe you’re really taking away that decision. And that may be kind of keeps it in the gray area and you risk becoming more attached to the items moving takes time. I’m telling you, we don’t have a lot of clutter, we’ve put on a garage sale, I’m organized. And this is a time you want those skills. It has taken us a lot of time or what feels like a lot of time to me. And it’s stressful. You know, you’ve got it, you’re showing your house, you’ve got to keep it clean all the time. That’s enough to drive anyone and say, so don’t know decisions for later. I’m going to encourage you to have them make the decisions now. The only thing that I think is okay to set aside for later is if you are going to give it away to someone like a relative hold for Susie to pick up and if you do allow that you give them a time frame. Okay, Susie, it’s got to be picked up within the week. And if not, I’m going to donate it. When we box things they become out of sight out of mind and we really encourage you especially for seniors or yourself. Don’t think oh we can store we have a storage. We declutter the house. We run it’ll think a 10 by 10 unit. Like for instance, we had to get rid of the cat trees. It’s like, okay, we have cats. That’s not gonna change, although it’s good news is we put out candles and people have been like, okay, we can’t smell a cat. So that’s a good news, but we had to get out all our cat scratchers. And Come on, you know, I’m crazy for cat. So we’ve allowed one cat tree to stay in public window.

We have other little short scratchy that we move into the garage every time someone comes to look at the house, it’s a very exhausting process. So I’m gonna encourage you not to get in the habit of getting a rental unit. If something like you’re going to sell the house and you needed to clutter it, that’s fine. But once you’re settled in, you know, we’re not going to keep the storage unit and we got a deal and it’s still costing us 74 a month. I think we had to run it for a couple months. Again, like that’s a massage right there. So don’t get into the mentality of maybe and that can put in storage and make decision later note and encourage you It’ll take longer, but to have the senior be decisive. Put the time and energy in the focus on most used items. What is it if they love to cook, then you want to make sure that you have those items that’s going to allow them to cook in the kitchen. That’s where their joy and their passion is. Focus on that or if they are an artist make sure that they have all their ICT supplies and what are they going to be doing the most of just had a conversation with someone this morning her mom is a gardener and so they got her a in a senior facility but where she could garden, so one of the things that she held on to or her gardening tools. Be patient, okay, this is really important and follow the lead of the senior. You know, they might have to take a trip down memory lane. And if you’re asking them to make a hard choice, ask some questions where came from what is the story behind it you know when you tell that story and express that sometimes it makes it easier to release something and allow them that allow yourself that if you ever need to do that when downsizing, talking about it may help them have a clear perspective and allow them to be more ready to release it just oh you know what now that I’ve told you that story about where that came from. That’s something I don’t need to hold on to. I have Joe, Joe’s necklace that he gave me and that means a lot more than this book from when we went traveling. You also are going to have to usually pare down because of space. If you have photos, or memorabilia or collections. You hopefully will have an idea of Your floor plan and where you’re moving. Although I have to say this is a caveat. We know where we’re moving. We have a floor plan. And we’re doing two South two rounds of downsizing. What I said to my husband was, since it’s a local move, we’re moving 32 miles south from where we currently are. I haven’t quite and I’m very visual. So I need to see. I haven’t quite figured out where we’re going to place furniture. So what I said is, let’s just get everything and then we can sell furniture. Once we settled to me that’s worth it. seeing everything and having a place in mind. Now again, with most seniors, you’re going to be moving to a couple rooms. I know I helped my maple. She went from a ranch house, to a bedroom and a sitting room and an assisted living facility. Some people mistakenly believe that you’re either born organized or you are not true. getting organized and clearing clutter. As well as learning to be more mindful and aware, is a skill that you can learn and will support you your entire life. Julie Coraccio is online classes. And online workshops are friendly and conversational. Each class also contains action items for you to implement. Once you’ve completed the class, visit reawaken your brilliance calm to learn more. You’re going to want to think about the space because say, if you have photographs in two rooms, you’re you can definitely fill out the walls, but you’re probably not going to have that much space. So that’s where you’re going to want to do some tearing down ask what are your favorite pieces and think, Oh, you know, we could put this right above the fireplace if you have one or right above your bed, wherever that makes the most sense to you. But collections and in the light, you’re going to need to prioritize one thing that you can Do and we did this for my great aunt Maple was we digitize photos. And so we got her one of those frames. And you can set it on timer, but it flips every so often. And so she had this wonderful digitized frame where we were able to put a bunch of photos and that we were able to let other stuff. So think about

how you can do that. And maybe with their artwork, same thing, take the picture, if they have a lot of artwork that they love, and you want to sell it, donate it, whatever you want to do take pictures and then something like a digital frame can help with that. I’m also going to encourage you and I hope I can say this in a way that it’s heard correctly. One of the things is that I believe you should never pitch something without someone asking we had a situation someone that I’m related to, and I’m like I did not pay attention that I’ve been in business for a decade, and they didn’t ask for my help, and this is someone, and they went in and threw out a bunch of things, and it was very traumatic for the person. And I don’t believe that now having said this, this is kind of the end part of life. I believe this and I’m also going to encourage you, were there areas that you can go ahead and make decisions that this stuff is not worth moving or donating. Because remember, if you donate to someone and they can’t use it, like we didn’t realize this, we just took a load to Habitat for Humanity some good flooring and you had some blinds and they said he said, Oh, we’ll take it but I’m hoping they can find a house to use it on but one guy thought they took them on they didn’t anyway, but things that it’s not worth it for you to donate old spices, recycle those magazines, expired meds, make sure you dispose of those properly. Donate unuse toiletries, you probably have a bunch of plastic food containers junk So, do stuff like that where they really don’t need to be involved in that decision. And if you can declutter it, and it’s less time that you have to spend going through stuff, no, I would make it easier, I’d say to the neighbors, hey, I pull out all the cleaning items, the majority of them personal care product, like all of that, that they’re not going to need and just have the neighbors Come and get it. That’s an easy solution. And it helps everyone you don’t have to throw it out. Now you’re going to another place you’re gonna want to put the effort in, do you want to sell, donate? giveaway? Is it so worn that it’s just trash? That can be time consuming? So consider an estate sale. And we’ll talk about that momentarily, because the only other thing I wanted to add is freecycle is an option where you know, we put some flooring on freecycle it’s free, come and pick it up. That’s one less thing you need to think about. Goals are great safe, you have musical instruments, right? So maybe you were Had a relative a senior that was really talented. Maybe they’re taking one guitar, but they can let the other stuff go school programs could definitely use that. So what to consider, if you’re thinking about an estate sale, they can be really good. If you have a ton of stuff, you’re letting go, you know, you’re ready like, Oh, you know, I know I want art with this. I don’t have to spend a lot of time making decisions. The worst case scenario with this is you don’t qualify. You know, depending on the company or what people are doing. There’s probably a minimum of items. The advantages to the estate sale, you get cash, and your home gets cleared out. So let me tell you something, it’s if you’ve got to change carpets or whatever, it’s fantastic. So you’re going to get cash, and it’s going to be a clutter free home. What you mainly have to do is to say, Okay, this is what needs to be sold. So you might, obviously what is the senior taking? Maybe there are things that need to go to family and friends, but that’s kind of the extent of this. So how much does it cost right? There should be no upfront cost involved. And guys, please do your due diligence and I’ve learned just because someone is approved by the BBB doesn’t mean jack because I had to find file a complaining at someone and once it was settled, they removed and I thought, well, they need to know it was an actually an acupuncturist, who, anyway, I had to file a BBB complaint and I got my money back, but that just doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But people especially try to scam seniors. I’ve worked with clients, I can’t tell you how many things I’ve had to help cancel because they were taken advantage of. So if they’re saying there’s no upfront costs, go elsewhere. They get their payment because they’re going to take a percentage right? So, estate sale Here are some examples of situations where it might be a good idea for you to have an estate sale. You’re downsizing, downsizing your house to say a condo, an RV, a small apartment. You might be handling

an estate from a deceased loved one, especially if you’re out of state and estate sales probably going to make good sense for you because you can come make some decisions. They can take care of that. And again, you get the house cleaned out, you get some cash. Good deal. transitioning into senior living, like my grandmother, if you’re going from a two story house, into someone’s house, you’re probably gonna have a lot of stuff that you can sell. If you have more than two weeks, you don’t have to have a quick get it done. Get it done, get it done and you have the time. State sound might be a good option if you’re not eligible for tax deduction, so the stuff you know I don’t know why we I mean I’m never going to stop donating, we have this great little charity that spays and neuters homeless animals, and we love it. It’s one that I’d love to support. And I’m like, yeah, we can throw out the slip, but it, you know, we do our taxes, and it’s kind of pointless. So if you’re not gonna be able to get a tax discount, then you might want to consider it. So here’s an example of like, well, how does an estate sale work, say that have an estate sale and you make 10,000. The company is going to take 35% of that. So you get 6500. And they’re going to charge you clean out costs. So they take 35% maybe have someone come in and clean or something, maybe 500. So you’re left with 60 506 grand in profit. That’s kind of easy. You have someone take care and do the legwork to me that personally worth 35%. Again, you have to figure that out. Now there’s another option that might be useful for seniors if you don’t qualify or can have an estate Same Day cash buyout. That is usually good choice for you have a decent amount of stuff. And what they’re doing is all right you have bulk items, and they figure they pay you X amount and that they can make money reselling. This is a good option if you don’t have enough for an estate sale. Or maybe you live in an HOA community. I think that where we’re moving we have a $240 a year is worth it for me to not have people to not have trash in the yard worth every dime as far as I’m concerned. So but maybe the HOA doesn’t allow for an estate sale so you just have to know that that then something like a same day cash buyouts can be really great. So what you have to do is gather all the stuff, what you’re willing to sell, and you need to make the decision Am I getting a fair amount Now again, you need to take into consideration that they are taking out and moving items from your home and they need to make Something you know I once had a client call me and the HA was a local haul junk guy and he said I can’t it’s all junk. He said I lose money if I haul it off he said if I can sell stuff I’m willing to do it for free. So you have to just take that into consideration. So again, no upfront cost you you have to be prepared you know, it’s like doing a garage sale you’re never going to get anywhere near what you think it’s worth. So again, if they have to remove store blah blah blah. That’s what you okay like am I getting a fair price? A same day buy out might be a good deal. If you have a collection you no longer want to keep maybe you collect and Hummels. You have a tight deadline like oh my gosh, we have to two weeks last we’ve got a week we’ve got to get this stuff cleared out. Again, as I mentioned a moment ago, an association won’t allow you to have an estate sale. You have a handful of valuables that you’re ready to roll and again you know there are different levels. is the same cash buyout but for someone that might be an option. Maybe have a few pieces of furniture. Again not eligible for tax donation it might be worth it. And if your house is really just disgusting and they exist trust although I have to say we found our I can’t wait to share with you guys. Once I’m settled in the name and the number of my house that’s crazy. Our house I should say, if your house is really in bad condition, probably not worth it to have an estate sale. So let’s use the same map. Because I’m not a great math person say the value of all the stuff I have sitting here is worth 10,000 the buyout offers five grand so you just made five grand and you get it cleared out of your house. You also have another option donate it all. or giving it away to everyone that you love or someone college hunks moving junk that’ll come up. So what they can I know there’s a guy around here he is he makes If it’s recycled, it became recycled or if you can donate or can sell it. That’s another option. You don’t get any money on it but you’re not trashing Mother Earth and again, it’s out of your house you really is it money that you need peace of mind. Those are the things that you really need to consider and again,

having a grandmother had Alzheimer’s, you know you depending on the situation, those are things that you need to think through. Take action from today’s podcast. Create a list of tips for seniors that you believe would be helpful. Write down any other considerations you or your senior may have. Be patient. evaluate whether or not an estate sale or a buyout is an option. consider donating, hauling off or giving away items to loved ones On next month’s episode, we’re talking about moving tips. Go out, clear your clutter to create the life you choose deserve and desire. When you clear your clutter, you can share your gifts with the world. Sign up for our free newsletter at reawaken your brilliance calm. If you’ve enjoyed clear your clutter inside now, please rate review and share us

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