As time passes and one gets older, there comes a day when you may need to help your parents downsize their home and life. You’d be surprised just how quickly that day comes too! When it arrives, it is important to find the right place for the lifetime of items that they have collected over the years. An easy solution is to consider using self storage for the belongings that they want to keep but aren’t necessary for their day to day lives. They will be able to have access to these items anytime they want without having the fear of having to part with them. In this blog post, we discuss why it is important to choose the best self storage company as well as some tips on how you can make this process easier for your aging parents.
As the Baby Boomer generation retires from the workforce, their adult children are the ones that are often tasked with finding ways to help them part with belongings accumulated over decades. Downsizing is inherently difficult for both retirees and those around them who are helping them through the process. The task can be even more daunting than usual for a retiree that has not prepared or anticipated their retirement.
Many of these adult children find themselves in the group termed “The Sandwich Generation.” These are the children of aging parents who also still have their own children to support. This generation of people is usually in their 30s or 40s when they are called upon to assist their parents with the transition to retirement. Many in this group find themselves caring for their aging parents while still navigating the phase of raising their own children, hence the sandwich they find themselves in between the generation before and after them.
For this reason, we wanted to offer some tips for those looking to accomplish the task of helping their parents downsize:
Don’t Put Off the Conversation:
Without a doubt, downsizing a parent’s home can be a monumental task. A lifetime of memories and sentimental attachment certainly does not help inspire anyone to tackle the task either. Add to that, many feel some amount of guilt even bringing up the subject about their parents’ retirement and the need to simplify their life for old age. It is often a touchy subject for both the parents and the adult children and can take an extra emotional toll on all of those involved.
Because of this, many people choose to put off this important conversation until a later date. Problem is that later date gets put out farther and farther as we avoid the difficult subject matter. Our advice? Don’t put it off any longer. Seize the day and tackle the issue at hand as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for all parties involved to work through their feelings and come up with an action plan. The discussion can also become exponentially more difficult and complicated should a financial or health crisis occur.
It is by far a better idea to introduce the subject as early on as possible and involve other siblings in the respectful discussions with your parents. The concerns and feelings of the parent or parents should be validated through this process, and this is most easily accomplished when there is not a health or financial inspired time crunch.
This is one of the many ways that utilizing a self storage space can make this situation easier. Rather than rushing to decide what should stay and what should go, you can conveniently store any amount of their items safely at a storage facility.
This will help clear out your parent's house and make it easier for them to take time and think about what they still need and what they are willing to part with for good. It buys time so that the process can move forward but things are only disposed of at the speed that your parents are comfortable with.
Don’t Underestimate the Task of Downsizing:
The task of downsizing can be very taxing on a family and can often feel very daunting and overwhelming. With the right approach, you can certainly streamline your process but you will want to make sure that you do your homework in advance so that you don't end up underestimating what will be needed for the project. Getting into a time crunch, running out of supplies, or not having adequate storage space can certainly make the process more difficult than necessary.
Baby boomers will often downsize from 3000-5000 square foot homes into spaces that are less than half of that. They might follow the trends of moving to condos, rentals, or retirement units. Many parents opt to live with their adult children in multi-generational housing situations, such as in homes that include an additional full suite inside the house or that have a small apartment on the property. These smaller spaces are often much easier to manage on a daily basis.
Whatever the situation there are a lot of items that are simply not going to fit in the new smaller space. Physical restrictions can also play a large role in the need to downsize. This is something to keep in mind when planning who will have to end up doing all of the actual heavy liftings.
Self-storage units can be a lifesaver in that their flexibility will allow the monumental task to be broken down into manageable chunks of time. Unlike a moving service or pack and store situations, a self-storage unit can be accessed as much as you want. You can feel free to bring additional especially if you don't end up packing everything all at once.
Because belongings can be important to people for many different reasons, it is vital that the downsizing process is one that is based on mutual respect. This can be difficult when the adult children are pressed for time because of legitimate situations in their own lives. And, of course, no one wants to create problems in their families.
So, going into this task with patience and a determination to be respectful will help the process tremendously. Your parents will likely want to take the time to carefully decide which items will stay in the family and which will be sold or donated. Knowing they have a self storage unit to place the items that they don’t want to part with just yet can be huge help in relieving the stress of this part of the process. It will give them time to move into their new smaller space and decide what items they want to keep with them and what can stay in storage.
Donate unwanted items Creatively:
There are going to be a lot of things that do not need to be kept for any reason. Regardless, they can be hard to let go. A way to ease this is to offer creative solutions and strategies for donating these items to those who may value it as much as the parent does. A little creativity on where and how things are donated rather than simply throwing them in the garbage will go a long way with a parent who cherishes the item but doesn’t need to keep it.
Making sure that items are fitted to family members who want them and things like books are donated to local librarians can make the difference for a parent who is having trouble letting go. Here too, self-storage units can be of assistance as items to be donated can be sorted over time.
Choose Peace of Mind:
Having a storage space on hand for the downsizing process can bring peace of mind with the extra space it adds. Belongings that need more sorting can be stored for when there is time to go through them. This takes the pressure off parents but still allows the adult children to complete the task and move the parents into their new space in a timely manner.
Helping your parents downsize is a big responsibility and our experienced managers and friendly teams are here to make sure the process is as seamless as possible. We understand you have options and that’s why we pride ourselves on making a personal connection with every customer.
We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our storage options, quality spaces and low, straightforward pricing. We’re happy to give you (and your parents!) a personalized tour of our facility.