There comes a time when we may need to help our parents downsize and move from their homes. Being well organized can make this process much easier.
Ideally, start six to 12 months in advance to limit stress and ensure a smooth transition to a new home. Find a reputable real estate agent to represent your parents, and begin the process of preparing for the move.
Next, consider the amount of space at the new location, and work to reduce clutter and unnecessary items by donating, selling or recycling. Set aside items for home staging, and pack anything (like holiday decorations) that will not be needed prior to the move. Labeling boxes is important. On the top and side of each box write your parents’ last name and the contents.
Downsizing is an excellent time to review and consolidate paperwork. Nerdwallet (nerdwallet.com) has a handy list detailing which documents to keep and for how long. Shred papers, which include personal information, that you do not plan to keep. Place remaining paperwork in a waterproof container, and label it. Be sure medical documents are readily accessible.
If you need to get rid of knickknacks and small collectables, research their value before selling, or donating them is a good option. For highly sentimental items, consider taking a picture of them to create a physical memory.
Two months prior to the move, consult with a professional stager to help put the finishing touches on the home. He/she might recommend painting and making minor updates or repairs, so be sure to allow enough time for these projects. (A real estate agent can also make recommendations.)
With proper planning, you’ll be able to celebrate this next step with your parents by reminiscing and looking forward.
Kira Vanderlan operates a decluttering, organizing, staging and design company. zestfuldesign.com