Downsizing is inevitable
Eventually, you’ll need to go through all the things your older adult has accumulated over their lifetime.
Cleaning out a house full of stuff sounds exhausting and intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be. It could be a wonderful opportunity to relive significant memories and learn more about your parent or spouse’s life.
5 ways to downsize keepsakes and mementos
Sorting through meaningful keepsakes and mementos is a tough job. But even though it’s time-consuming, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is a meaningful part of the downsizing process.
We’ve got 5 tips to make this project less stressful and more enjoyable.
1. Pace yourself
Going through a lifetime of important memories isn’t something you can get done in a weekend or even a week. Be realistic and take the time to make thoughtful decisions.
Pick one box or collection of items and go through piece by piece without rushing. After you finish with that box, then start on another.
2. Help seniors feel in control of what’s happening
If your older adult is able to take part, this is a great way for them to feel more in control of the moving and decluttering process.
Going through their own things, sharing stories, and deciding what happens to each item lets your senior be in charge. They’ll feel good about making these decisions themselves rather than leaving it to someone else.
3. Remember special moments
Looking at keepsakes and mementos often brings up memories of significant life events. Take time to reminisce over special moments, hear touching stories, and share meaningful conversations.
4. Give away family heirlooms
If your older adult has a chance to gift important family keepsakes and furniture, they’ll get to see how happy those mementos make family and friends. Plus, there won’t be any confusion over who should get what.
For less special items, you could take a picture of it, write a brief description of its story or history, and share that with family members. Then, donate or sell the item knowing that you’ve preserved the memory.
5. Use these key questions to figure out whether to keep, give away, or sell
- Is this item regularly used? Have it been used in the past year?
- Does it truly enhance the quality of your older adult’s life?
- Would this item physically fit in their smaller living space and future lifestyle?
- Does it have a significant dollar value?
It’s tough deciding what to do with your older adult’s prized possessions. But taking your time and working with your parent or spouse makes the experience more rewarding. De-cluttering well before a move also relieves the stress all that extra stuff causes.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Clutter Free OC