Finding the Joy in Downsizing
Downsizing can lead to great conversations. Get your parents to tell you about what was important to them — and why.
What was my mom doing with all of these unmatched tea cups? What’s my dad doing with all of these baseball cards? Who are all the people in this photograph?
The time to ask your parents those kinds of questions is now.
Helping your parents go through their things gives them an opportunity to share meaningful memories with you. And offers you the chance to understand a little more about your parents as people.
Here are some ideas of how adult children and parents can approach downsizing in a way that is both joyful and productive.
- Be interested and curious. Ask positive, open-ended questions: “Tell me about this.” Not “Why do you want to keep that?” Imagine you’re meeting your parents for the first time. What do their things tell you about them?
- Let your parents lead the process. Don’t rush from one thing to another. Your parents may have emotional attachments to things that seem unreasonable to you. Seek to understand why instead of making suggestions about what they should do with their stuff.
- Be honest with yourself and your parents. Decide on how much time and energy you have, and stick to a pre-arranged schedule. Quit before you feel exhausted, and plan to come back and do more.
- When it’s time to get into action, ask a professional for help. At some point, the focus of the downsizing project will shift from discussion to action. When you and your parents are ready, a professional move manager can manage the sorting and packing process easily and efficiently.
I became a Senior Move Manager because I really did enjoy helping my parents downsize their two large homes and move into one small one. If you or your parents could use support in downsizing with ease and grace, I’d be delighted to offer it.