Downsizing Your Home – Part 1

We’ve spent plenty of time in this space talking about how to overcome the logistical hurdles of moving. But this time we’re going to dig into the psychology of moving – particularly if you’re a little older and downsizing your home.

Often, older folks face an entirely different proposition. They have more stuff and they’re more likely to delegate the physical part of moving to the professionals. The hard part is to know what to take with you and dealing with those hard decisions about what to part with.

Often we’re talking about sorting thru a lifetime accumulation of treasured items. This is how something that was merely furniture becomes an heirloom. Yet if your new place is smaller, difficult decisions must be made.

One solution is to offer items to adult children. But get ready for a gut punch. You may find out that the items you treasured and carried thru life have little meaning or value to your own kids. You know the saying – one man’s treasurer, another man’s trash.

If your kids are willing to take some items, first consider yourself lucky. But even in this happier outcome, there can still be a sense of loss. Those items are part of what you called home! Will the new place be the same without them?

And sometimes this works too well – the kids want the same items and now fighting breaks out over who gets what. Here’s what to do in the event of this problem:

    1. Hold an auction with monopoly money. Everybody gets the same amount of monopoly money and everyone knows in advance the items to be auctioned. Let the bidding begin!
    2. Devise a Solomon Solution. If two parties are interested in the same item and cannot reach an agreement, either party is free to make an offer for the item. Then the other receiving that offer decides to become buyer or seller under the terms of the offer. Yes, your adult children might be paying their siblings instead of you over the disposition of something that was once yours. The peace will be worth it.
    3. Assemble possessions into lots. Then draw numbers from a hat to decide who gets to pick in what order from the various lots. Here’s your opportunity to get creative in forming these lots. Perhaps something that’s harder to get rid of is combined with a prized item. It also helps equalize values. The kids can get involved with forming the lots before the drawing begins.

Come back next time to learn about a common problem that you may have never considered.

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