5 Rules for downsizing

Downsizing for seniors is a stressful and laborious task. Sorting through a household full of possessions and a lifetime of memories is quite a daunting task. It is even more challenging if you need to downsize unexpectedly because of health concerns or other emergencies. Many seniors find it difficult to part with items they do not need. Here are five rules for retirement downsizing with senior move managers.

1- Develop a Plan

A professional move manager will help your downsizing with helpful checklists.A good rule of thumb is to prepare for a move in advance and not wait until the 11th hour to start making plans to move. You should make plans before you list your home or at the first sign of failing health. It is advisable to consult a senior move manager to help you make an efficient plan.

Start with the three main rooms: the living room, kitchen, and family room. These are the most cluttered rooms because they are used daily and have a high emotional value. Separate all the items in four piles- things you are going to keep, items you are going to donate, items you are going to give to your family members, and items you will throw away. After you are finished with these rooms, work outwards to garages, attics, and shades.

It is also good to create a system of downsizing. Some of the standard systems are de-cluttering, donating, and documenting. A senior move manager can help you employ a method of downsizing that is best suited for you.

2- Consider the New Space

It does not matter if you are moving to an assisted living facility, a small apartment, or a family member. You need to develop a plan of where items will go according to the available space. First, determine the amenities that you are going to need. What security measures or physical needs will you require. You should plan your new space based on these accommodations.

It is also essential to consider size. If you are moving from a large house to a small apartment, you will have to do a significant downsizing. In this case, you should consider the most critical aspects of your lifestyle. For example, if you like writing, do not get rid of the desk. Make room for things that matter in your life. It would help if you considered hiring a storage unit for essential items that may not fit in your new space.

3- Eliminate Duplicates

This is very common in the kitchen where you may have several stockpots, different cookie sheets, a handful of spatulas, and so on and so forth. Since you are reducing clutter, you can do with one kind of everything. If you do not feel like donating kitchen pieces you feel are emotionally valuable to you, consider giving them to your child or grandchild.

4- Donate

The best way to make the most out of precious items is to donate them. Donating gives you a feeling of relief, knowing that you are giving back to society. Things like civil war memorabilia are best suited for a school or museum. You may even receive special recognition for legacy gifts in the form of plaque and tax deductions. Items that will Donatoins are a great way to help downsizing with a professional move managernot fetch much at a yard sale should also be donated where they will be more helpful, like at a children’s camp.

5- Make Some Extra Cash Through Sales

Nowadays, it is easy to sell things yourself through online sites such as eBay and Craigslist. There are also Smartphone apps that enable you to make quick sales. Yard sales are a fast way to sell items, but the prices are usually low. On the other hand, Craigslist has a broad audience, and you have a good chance of getting more for your items. Consider consignment for handbags, furniture, and unnecessary accessories. They have reasonable prices and you will be able to get rid of substantial items like furniture. If you are not handy with computers, you can request for the help of your children or grandchildren who may be more computer-savvy and will efficiently market your items through popular online platforms.

In Conclusion

Moving as a senior can be depressing if you are unprepared or cannot let go of your possessions. Many senior people struggle with sorting out what they do not need because they are fond of all their memorabilia and precious items. In such situations, it takes the expertise of a senior move manager to help with downsizing. Some of the rules of retirement downsizing may not be easy to agree with, but they are necessary and help to declutter your home before you transition into a new home. Make sure you consult a senior move manager in advance to help you adjust to the prospect of downsizing and moving to your new home.

 

1 Habit for a Thriving Home Office

Dr. Lark earned a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Southern California. Her dissertation focused on the relationships between Japanese women and American soldiers who met and married during the U.S. Occupation of Japan. After graduation, Dr. Lark served as an adjunct professor at a community college. In early 2000, Regina worked with UCLA Women’s Studies program and then joined UCLA Extension for adult learning. In 2008, two months after an unexpected lay-off from her position as a Program Director, Dr. Regina Lark founded her professional organizing company, A Clear Path: Professional Organizing and Productivity.

About the 1 Habit For a Thriving Home Office:

1 Habit for a Thriving Home Office
is for anyone who wants to avoid traffic, a long commute, reduce their carbon footprint, save time, minimize interruptions in their workday, have more control over their schedule, focus on priorities and make significant contributions to their business, company, clients or the world.

 

 

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina’s 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris

Dr. Regina Lark

regina@aclearpath.net

 

Organizing Services Can Make Remote Work and School a Breeze

decluttered home office desk organized by a professional

All over the country, families are about to enter a grand experiment. The question: Can we handle working remotely while our children take virtual classes? Unless your family happens to be naturally suited to this setup, it’s probably going to be a bit of a challenge. One of the simplest ways to make it easier: A solid organizational scheme. 

Home organization is about more than simply putting things away. When everything has a place (and everyone knows what that place is) you save time and eliminate chaos. Moreover, you can use your organizational scheme to create psychological barriers between workspaces and living spaces. This will be one of the most valuable tools in your pocket when it comes to keeping everyone sane during the upcoming school year. 

Invest in professional organizing services to ensure your family is well prepared to juggle work and school from home. Here’s a look at a few of the ways that this service can help keep your family productive and happy while you adjust to this new normal: 

Enhancing Professionalism 

If you weren’t working remotely before the pandemic, odds are your home wasn’t set up with this in mind. In the early days, no one thought twice of barking dogs or messy desks in the background of Zoom meetings. Now that we’ve all had some time to adjust, however, you need to be thinking about how to stay professional during remote work. Think about what your webcam shows in your background: An organized office is going to give a much better impression than a messy, cluttered space.

Your kids should have this in mind as well. After all, virtual learning is going to be tough enough for them and their classmates without a ton of distractions. When your home is well organized, you can limit distractions on video calls and keep yourself, your kids, and work (or class) on track. 

A Clear Path’s Ninja Organizers can make sure your space gives the right impression, as well as ensure you have all the tools you need to thrive virtually, including: 

  • A high-quality webcam to join virtual meetings or classes
  • Ergonomic desks and chairs to stay comfortable throughout your workday 
  • Drawers, baskets, cubbies, and other organizational tools to keep you and your kids on track 
  • Fast, reliable internet that can support work, school, and downtime

school work from an organized decluttered space

Facilitating Focus 

Your headspace can make or break remote success. This is as true for you at work as it is for your kids at school. We need defined boundaries between work and life to be able to focus properly. When that’s all happening in one space, we have to create those boundaries for ourselves. Keep this principle in mind when working with your professional organizer, and ask for their insight about how to create these psychological barriers. Here are some ideas to consider: 

  • Specific workrooms: If you have spare rooms in your house, consider turning them into an office for you, or a study space for your child. Depending on your workflow and your child’s school schedule, you could conceivably share a space
  • Visual barriers: When you can’t set up a workspace in a specific room, visual barriers such as room dividers can help create mental barriers. Home inventories are a great way to figure out what should go where and define each area’s function with items you already have. 
  • Avoid blurring lines: Wherever possible, avoid setting up your workspace in an obvious relaxation area such as a living room, den, or bedroom. Not only will this make it harder to focus during work and school, but it can also get in the way of unwinding and getting a good night’s sleep. 

Overcoming Roadblocks

As if this year weren’t complicated enough, many families are bound to face obstacles that make it even harder. For example, you might need to move at some point during this year. On your own, juggling remote work while packing, unpacking, and organizing your new home can be a nightmare. With relocation specialists on your side, however, this process can be a breeze. Not only will you have an easier time with the move itself, but your move manager can also set your home up for virtual success from the get-go. 

a move manager can help re-arrange items to create a clean organized space

Here are a few more roadblocks that are much easier with an organizer on your team: 

  • Starting your own business or expanding a freelance career 
  • Managing a blended schedule, where children transition between in-school and virtual classes
  • Keeping a multi-generational household happy, healthy, and productive. 

Finally, go easy on yourself as you begin this upcoming school year. Your family has a major transition to navigate, and there are sure to be challenges along the way. Professional organization services can set you up for success, and a flexible mindset can keep you sane while you learn how to function in a brand new environment. 

Thanks for reading!

3rd Edition of Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets by Regina F Lark, Ph. D.

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina’s 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris

Dr. Regina Lark

regina@aclearpath.net

 

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3 

Baby Boomers Are Downsizing: What This Means For The Real Estate Industry

Baby boomers are currently the wealthiest generation across the nation. Aged between 54 to 73, they have years of hard work and the savings to prove it under their belt. Most baby boomers are beginning to be grandparents, as the baby fever spark is re-ignited among their millennial children. This places most boomers at a stage in their lives where they are seeking both comfort and peace. Often, this means downsizing.

Downsizing your home after retirement isn’t only a way to save money it also prevents the strangeness of living in an empty house. It isn’t uncommon for parents to depress a little once they have become empty nesters; the constant reminder of absence is present every time they walk past certain rooms. If your children have left your home and you’re wondering whether you should move to a modern little flat or a smaller townhouse, you are not alone. Baby boomers downsizing is a global trend. Here’s what this means for the real estate industry.

Boomers Are Putting Their Homes Up For Sale

There are plenty of reasons to put your home for sale, but money is often the most significant motivation. Boomers are aging, and this usually means more bills. Boomers across the country have average savings of $152,000; however, 45% of baby boomers have none at all. This can be alarming, as medical expenses and children’s tuition begin to pile up for most adults around retirement age. For baby boomers, pensions and other retirement income often pale in comparison to the wages they have just relinquished.

Once boomers reach the average US retirement age of 62, they’ve likely paid off their mortgage. However, their home itself might have become their biggest bill.

With plumbing and roofing having limited lifespans, it isn’t uncommon for boomers to face challenging remodeling expenses early in their retirement. This can be highly disparaging, considering they have probably spent years paying off their homes. What better way to reward yourself for years of disciplined spending, budgeting, and scheduled bank payments, than cashing out on your most expensive bill? Boomers downsizing allows them to reap the fruits of years of financial responsibility while shifting the burden of remodeling projects to new buyers. A Clear Path A+ Accredited from the National Association for Senior Move Managers

Boomers Are Going Back To Renting

Renting is, to many, the lesser appealing alternative to a home purchase. However, for baby boomers, rent is often the logical option, because it doesn’t require the long-term contract mortgages entail. Rent also does not take a huge chunk from their savings all at once; if anything, it seems sensible, particularly when renting out their own homes provides them with a stable monthly income.

With the urbanization of towns across the country, condos and townhouses are being erected everywhere. This availability of choice makes downsizing for boomers appealing, especially when their rental provides added services, such as 24/7 security and/or elevators.

A Solution For The Housing Supply Shortage

While smaller dwellings are being built everywhere, there is a shortage of detached homes around the country. It has become increasingly difficult for many millennials to find a home fit to witness the growth of a family, because boomers are encouraged to stay in their homes as long as possible and only sell once it has peaked in value.

This approach isn’t exactly beneficial to the real estate industry; not only does it minimize commission earnings, but it also makes the American Suburb Model less appealing. Suburbs were once the symbol of the American dream; the white picket fence would witness a child’s first step, or their first time on a bike. However, suburb populations are getting older, which can be a deterrent to younger prospective home buyers.

A Finishing Word

Boomers are the most financially powerful demographic in the country. Therefore, many markets, including the housing industry, are dependent on their spending. Encouraging boomers’ downsizing is welcoming an increase in the housing supply, which may benefit American welfare as a whole. By moving into smaller homes, baby boomers are passing the mantle to the younger generations who are as avid as they were to find the space to create new family memories.

If you’re a baby boomer looking to downsize by selling your home, you can be certain that this is one of the most financially exciting times for you to do so.

Should This Stay, or Should This Go?

Should it Stay, or Should it Go?

Professional Fiduciaries are first responders. They are often first to advocate for the welfare and well-being of a new client, and, more often than not, first to step foot in the door of a home overrun with benign neglect, or, basically intact but filled with a huge number of things. 

Responsible for the health, welfare, and fiscal oversight of their clients, Fiduciaries are called upon to make some hard decisions. Sometimes this means finding room for caregivers or divesting a home filled with a trove of old and new treasures. 

Your client lives here

Home is where the heart is. It is also the place of deferred dreams and incomplete projects. It is the place where folks stash their bowling trophies, grandma’s plated silver, and signed first editions. Over years the home becomes the repository for everything life has to offer – clothes, kitchenware, and place-settings. The “average” household often contains the possessions of adult children who had long ago moved from the family home but never quite got around to removing yearbooks and toys,always organized Barbie dolls high school ephemera, and everything else assigned to the category of “memories.” Don’t forget the so-called “collectibles” – from Hummels and Barbie dolls to entire runs of Playboy and National Geographic magazines. 

Why do we own so much stuff? It’s a difficult question to answer. Older adults who lived through America’s “Great Depression” tell us that growing up with nothing means holding on to everything. While that may or may not be true, I wonder how we understand younger generations’ seemingly insatiable consumption, or how we account for the growth of self storage

Fiduciaries will of course come across clients’ self-storage units. Dark and depressing, public storage facilities are frigid cold in the winter, overwhelmingly hot in the summer. With a multitude of enticements to bring in the customer, it takes a lot of time and planning to get out. If you’ve seen A&E’s Storage Wars you know that there’s no guarantee of hidden treasures behind the padlocked door.

Hold tight

We tend to cling to our things for two very broad reasons. First, we don’t want to let go of stuff we may need “someday” (note cards, car wax, vases), or that we may wear again “someday” (golf shirts, skinny jeans). Of course any and all items may have future use but if we’re not already in the habit of writing notes or losing weight, then these “someday” items do not have current value; they just clutter our lives today. At the same time, we hold on to things that have been in our lives forever such as Grandma’s good china, music boxes, report cards – contain therein our “memories,” along with the stories we attach to each and very item. 

With a tight hold on that which we may need someday (the future), and an emotional hold on that which has already happened (the past), our “stuff” tends to hang around. The longer it hangs around, the value of the “stuff” either increases or decreases.  

It’s tricky business determining the value of art and clothing, furniture, first editions, and the array of what is unearthed in clearing the path for what’s next in the life of the client or the life of a trust.  And so I asked a pro. 

collectables can be organized in reduced space or sold as part of decluttering What is it really worth? 

Joe Baratta, the vice president of Business Development & Valuations with Abell Auction Co., is a USPAP-qualified generalist appraiser with over 15 years’ experience helping fiduciaries separate “the wheat from the chaff.” I caught up with Joe at his home in Los Angeles to talk about the value of “stuff” he comes across when he’s called in to appraise the contents of the Fiduciary clients’ home. 

Everyone has “stuff,” some of which is brought home to serve an immediate need (a bed or a dresser) or purchased because of the item’s perceived “someday” value. “Beanie Babies” are a perfect example of this,” Joe surmised. The stuffed toys had a high market value at a particular time but many people held on to their “collection” believing that the value would soar the longer it remained in their possession which hasn’t been the case (although there are exceptions). True collectors follow the appropriate markets for their collections through trade shows and major auction houses. Still, anything that is mass produced will usually not hold its original value nor see an increase in value. 

Joe offers compelling insights about what he sees daily. Fiduciaries may find this information helpful when faced with downsizing a client’s home: 

  • Traditional dark wood furniture (tables, cabinets, couches) – not all dark wood furniture  held its value due to mass production over many decades. Chairs with cushions could be reupholstered especially if the bones of the chair are in good shape (think Eames or similar), and these items are often in high demand. 
  • Technically, an “antique” describes any item produced 100 years ago, or, before the year 1920. Still, not all antiques are desirable in the current market.  
  • The Industrial Revolution of the 1870s led to the mass production of wash basins (before indoor plumbing), armoires (most homes didn’t have closets), and sewing baskets (when people repaired or sewed their own clothes). 
  • Samovars: Every Eastern European family brought one or more to the US as these were important to family ceremonies, and carry a lot of sentiment. While some samovars have value, there is a large supply of them without much demand for today’s market.
  • Supply and demand: By mid-20th century, the marketplace was saturated with formal dining tables, china sets, table linens, silver sets, chafing dishes, ice buckets, and other forms of items designed for their entertainment value. 
  • Front entry, living room and dining room are the areas of the house where families display their most “prized” possessions – from art to furniture to home decor. 
  • Tricks of the trade: when Joe walks into a home, the first thing he notices are the walls – “Money is on the walls… most people want to show off their art. They are proud of what they accomplished.” 
  • Flora Dania Royal Copenhagen is among the most valuable dish sets today. 
  • The politics of “value:” When China closed their borders in the early 20th century, so too did the outflow of Chinese goods. Today, many wealthy Chinese are paying high margins to repatriate items seen as valuable to their upper-class heritage (Chinese silks, scrolls art, porcelain, furniture). Similar to Russia after the fall of the Berlin wall (think religious icons, Faberge, Russian silver – considered very valuable mid-1990s through early 2000). 
  • $10,000 and generational attitudes: Our grandparents may have used the money to buy something to enhance the home (think beautiful oil painting in an expensive frame). Baby Boomers’ purchases may extend to fine dining and travel. The millennial mindset covets watches and handbags. 

A Clear Path can coordinate the valuation and selling of collections as part of their organizing serviceBottom line

People have hard time letting go of items, regardless of perceived or real value. The family members in possession of the “family jewels” are stewards to protect the family legacy. Joe reminds us, “We’re custodians of items and feel obligated to hold on to at least some of it because of our family connection.” 


De-clutter and Toss, Purge and Plan

Getting Ready for Your Next Move

“I wanted to poke my eyes out…”

…said my new client, Kaye. Before doing anything too drastic, Kaye hired my team of Ninja organizers to finally get her long-awaited move underway. Prior to our arrival, Kaye thought she would de-clutter, toss, and purge all the stuff she didn’t use any longer…but discovered that the process wasn’t easy and was taking a lot longer than she really had time for. 

So she invited friends to help but they did more talking and partying than getting down to any real work. 

While trying to figure out next steps, Kaye started calling around to moving companies. At the end of that day she scheduled 3 appointments with three different companies. At the end of that week, not a single mover showed up for the appointment

Speaking with and helping to organize a move can be overwhelming, but a professional organizer is a solution

The final straw occurred when trying to find the least expensive place to purchase moving supplies.  Kaye realized she had no idea how many boxes she would need and she didn’t have a truck to bring it all home in. 

 

“I wanted to poke my eyes out…” 

 

As anyone who has ever moved knows: relocating from one home to another stands as one of the top 3 stressors in the lives of most people. Planning ahead can make a difference – but as Kaye knows, even good planning can fall short.

 

This week, CBS News announced a new government program, Protect Your Move, created to address what’s become known as “hostage load.”  Out of 36 million moves this year, 1 in 10 movers will file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that their carriers are looking for more money that initially agreed for hauling their belongings which is different from what they were originally told.  

Trusting your mover has never been more important.

With all the things that can go wrong in a move, I always encourage people tog et references and ask friends, talk with the neighbor most recently moved into your neighborhood, look online for a “moving checklist” – like this one from Real Simple magazine!Trusting a monolithic moving company can be daunting, but you can trust a professional organizer to help with all aspects of the move.

A good Realtor will have a tried and true referral list for moving companies and professional organizers.  Ask for a referral!

For a project as big as any move don’t try to handle everything yourself, instead, surround yourself with people you can trust, take careful notes and , read every contract thoroughly.  

You’ll be glad you did. 

Thanks for reading!

3rd Edition of Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets by Regina F Lark, Ph. D.

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina's 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris

Dr. Regina Lark 

regina@aclearpath.net


PS: Did you know we fold our fees into escrow?

 

Are there 300,000 Things in a Home?

300,000 Things in a Home

I didn’t begin my professional life as an organizer. Rather, I spent the bulk of my career in higher education – as a student, a professor, and an administrator. Budget cuts in 2008 led to a job lay-off at the tender age of 50. It was the beginning of the 2008 recession and the first time in my life that I couldn’t find a job. So I created one.

In those first few months of stepping foot into A Clear Path, I read everything I could put my hands on the topic of de-cluttering and organizing. One thing I remember reading impressed the hell out of me: The average household contains about 300,000 things.

In order to grow my company, I needed clients, which I found by speaking to numerous groups and organizations about clutter, and where I often referenced “300,000 things.”

Are there really 300,000 things in a home. Probably if you count every little thing.

I’ve asked some colleagues and a few clients to conduct informal surveys in their clients’ home or in their own home. We’ve concluded that items in homes could very well number up 300,000 if one were to count every single thing from underpants to office supplies to photographs to silverware.

I’m serious. Go room-by-room in your home, starting with the kitchen. Count:
• pots and pans and lids
• storage containers (and their lids!)
• utensils, plates, cups and bowls
• spices
• cereal boxes

You get where I’m going? Next up, do the living room.
• Books in bookcases, tsotchkies on shelves
• TV, speakers, laptops, and myriad techy stuff
• A couch, chairs, and fluffy pillows

Dining room? Where do you eat? Count chairs, a table, cupboard, and table linens. And don’t forget candle holders and candles.

I often see a lot of stuff in home offices. My clients love office supply stores, and here’s what they take home:
• Packets of Post-it Notes in several sizes and colors and shapes.
• Copy paper, envelopes, file folders, hanging file folders, boxes filled with notecards and thank you notes, and birthday cards.
• Wrapping paper.
• Tape, scissors, stapler and staples.
• This is actually a nearly endless list – but you get the drift.
• Oh, and don’t forget the box of cords.

A working desk, but a little too much clutter. Some good organizing can reduce this to a manageable state.

Let’s move to the bedroom. How many pair of black pants does one need to own? Start counting:
• Shirts and blouses
• Undergarments
• Socks, shoes, purses, totes, robes, work-out clothes, jackets, belts. And all the furniture.

Don’t forget the bathroom.

And this is a small house!

I’ve often wondered if I had it in me to conduct a study about the average number of items the average household contained. If 300,000 things is where we land, it would be nice to finally put the query to bed. And I will never be out of work again.

 

3rd Edition of Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets by Regina F Lark, Ph. D.

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina's 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris