Fall River Jewish Home

Downsizing: Help Your Senior Decide What to Keep & What to Get Rid of

Downsizing is a natural, normal part of life – or at least, it should be. It’s good for us to clear out the clutter in our homes once in awhile, especially when you’re preparing to move.

Even if you’re just helping a parent move from their current home – perhaps the home you grew up in – to another smaller home, approaching the downsizing can be difficult. Maybe you or your parent is reluctant to let go of a few things, even things they don’t need anymore. It can be tough, but sometimes it needs to be done – take it from the expert of tidying up.

So, you want to help them sort through their things – we’ve got some tips to help you decide what’s worth keeping and what you should get rid of.

Start with clothing

Clothes. They’re a good place to start. The thing is, clothes are easy to sort through. Tell them to keep what like to wear and get rid of what you don’t. Ask them what clothes don’t fit anymore. Throw out the clothes haven’t been worn in a year. They can donate the clothes they don’t need to charity.

Once you’ve sifted and sorted your parents’ clothing, take that system and apply it to pretty much everything the house. Do it by category. Do they have more dish towels than anyone would ever need? Get rid of what they don’t need. Are they holding onto something for sentimental reasons that just aren’t practical? Ask them if they could deal with parting with it. Have they collected too many books over the years? Ask them to create a donation pile and give them to a local library or sell them. Maybe they have something that they don’t need, but you or a sibling could use. Maybe they have a collection of old toys and trinkets that you or a sibling used to play with as a child –  those could be given to you and your siblings as a keepsake or as a gift for your own children.

Ask these four questions.

When it comes down to it, you’ll want to ask your parent a series of questions when sorting through all of their things: Does it have a function? Do you get use out of it? Can you bear parting with it? Will it fit in your new home?

These four questions should be able to help you downsize your parents’ home. If they are reluctant and refusing to get rid of things, try to make the answers straight forward.

A few more things…

There are a few more guidelines you might want to keep an eye on while downsizing:

1. New Space. Use their future home as a guide. This way, you know what they can afford to keep and what they can’t.

2. Broken items. Chances are, they aren’t worth fixing. Just toss them – they won’t be missed.

3. Maybe piles. Don’t do them. It’ll just force you to look at it again (and again, and again). You’ll want an answer the first time you consider it – it’ll save you loads of time.

It may be a daunting task to get your parent to downsize, but you’ll be glad you did it. Everyone could use a little less clutter in their lives, anyway. Who knows, maybe this will inspire you to sort through your own things!

Fall River Jewish Home is a rehabilitation center that’s dedicated to providing the best care to your parent in their time of need. Have more questions about downsizing and helping your parent adjust to their new home? Call us at 508-679-6172 to speak with us!

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