That may sound heartless. Especially if you think Mom and/or Dad still have a few good years left. Yet downsizing your parents' home as they enter their twilight years makes sense for everybody involved.
As a professional organizer, you have heard me preach that less is more. For parents in their 70s and 80s, this particularly holds true. Less means less to care for, less to navigate around , less time and energy spent searching for items and, most importantly, less to deal with when you make the decision to move them into a smaller, more manageable home.
For the children, namely you, the sooner you begin this process the better. When you do, prepare yourself (and your parents) for the reality that you, your siblings and other relatives may not want your parents' things. Even items you cherish.
That may sound strange, but the reality is you and your siblings have your own homes. Chances are those are filled your own cherished items. Fitting in your mother's antique dining room table probably means getting rid of yours. The same goes for your siblings, who likewise have made their own decorating choices. And if you have adult children in their 20s and 30s, you're going to have less luck there as millennials tend to live more of a minimalist lifestyle. So, you really need to get used to the idea that you will have to find a place for these items.
The other reality, and it's a harsh one, is that even your parents' most precious stuff may not have much value, even antiques. Times and styles have changed. What you thought might be worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars is probably not. Even more to the point, those antiques dealers might not have the space to take on larger pieces of furniture-dressers, dining room tables, etc.-unless they have a pretty good feeling they can move the items and get value for it.
So, what are your options? Some consignment shops might take older items of an antiques nature. Again, it will be a space thing. Also, there are liquidation companies that specialize in removing larger items.The good news about this process is you can start gradually after having the talk with your parent or parents. If they realize they will eventually need to downsize, you may even get their blessing to start looking for a home for their stuff. Most likely, it will take some coaxing. But chances are that your parents probably went through something similar with your grandparents. If they fight it at first, you may want to remind them of that.
There's really no easy way to go about downsizing your parents. At best, you want to do as much as you can before you have no choice. That's a tough pill to swallow, but it is part of life.
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