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How to Help Baby Boomers Downsize the Family Home

If you are a “baby boomer” seeking to downsize the family home, you have my sympathy!

I have helped many boomers downsize their households, so I know how difficult it can be.

Why it’s hard to downsize the family home

Tackling a downsizing project can be a challenge, particularly as health, financial and emotional issues often play into the mix.

No to mention that organizing an entire lifetime’s worth of contents is a huge undertaking! It gets even more complicated when you realize that many boomers have inherited family possessions or memorabilia that they feel (rightfully so) should be preserved and cherished for future generations.

The process of sorting contents and paring down is an unavoidable, necessary step for the ultimate goal of downsizing to a comfortable, uncluttered smaller home.

Keeping it real

Consider Mary’s story:

Mary, a woman in her late 50s, left her house to live with her 80-year-old mother who needed round-the-clock care.

Mary had been struggling for some time to get the family’s two-story home organized. After 45 years, the home full of memorabilia and belongings from decades past. In some respects, the whole house had become storage. Inside you could find twelve dressers, mountains of clothing, even an elephant collection!

As a depression-era child, Mary’s mother had been raised to hold possessions tightly. Mary had a tough road ahead convincing her mother to discard her belongings. Not to mention that Mary had her own troubles, including bad knees that made physical work challenging.

Thankfully, Mary about Organized Zone one afternoon and she reached out for help immediately. Both Mary and her mother were excited about making their home more functional for living. We discussed giving away the unused items, and Mary’s mother started warming up to the idea.

The importance of flexibility

Sadly, Mary’s mother passed away and the project changed. Now Mary needed the home organized and staged for selling, and the remaining contents packed and labeled for moving. We were happy to help her.

The home was ready in just one week, with 85 % of the contents sold, shredded, given away or thrown out. Of course, Mary kept some special keepsake items from her mother. She is now ready to move on.

In cases like Mary’s, we are always honored to play such a meaningful role in helping to downsize the family home. It’s not just about moving stuff. When we help boomers downsize the family home, we are helping to transform people’s lives.

Lessons learned

When it comes time to downsize the family home, there are certain lessons that can be drawn from Mary’s example:

  • Be sensitive to the needs of others who might find it difficult to part with their belongings
  • Prepare for the unexpected – when you downsize the family home, there are often unanticipated detours and hurdles, and you need to be flexible and adaptable.
  • Keep the bigger picture in mind; remember that the process can be very overwhelming, but it is for a greater good. Did you find this post helpful?

Have you had to downsize the family home? Share your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.

And you might want to check out the Organized Zone forum, where there is a lot of opportunity to network, post questions, learn tips and strategies, and participate in my weekly live webinar.

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I am the creator, owner and operator of Organized Zone. We have a long legacy of successful transformations. We are Toronto’s premier independent residential and corporate organizing service. Along with my team of talented organizers, we have helped thousands of people turn unimaginably cluttered homes and offices into streamlined, functional spaces.

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