Down-sizing isn’t easy to do, and anything that makes it easier is worth remembering. One thing that I’ve found helpful is doing a tour of the home with the owner, making a digital record of furniture, pictures, dishes, everything – even knick-knacks . This serves several functions.
· Having a scrapbook or a box of pictures helps them hang on to memories without the encumbrance of the objects that trigger them. (Or a file on their laptop – one friend at 92 still sends almost daily emails to many friends.)
· Insurance claims are expedited with such records, especially if supported by other records..
· Adult children and other relatives have an easier time sorting through things after a death – always a painful task if it hasn’t been done thoroughly at an easier time.
· The homeowner or a relative can use the pictures for internet sales of things no longer needed.
· Pictures can help some school or charity see what they can use.
· Grouping photos by type makes it easier to make decisions.
o I have too many of …. I’ll just keep ….
o There are six quilts and three grandchildren – two each? Let them take turns choosing
o If I don’t tell the story of that picture, no one will remember that it was done by….
o Martha always liked that… I’d rather give it to her now and see her enjoy it. I can label the photo as “Tea pot for Martha C.”
Incidentally, the tour when these pictures are made is the obvious time to point out that the valuable small things need to be put away, that the owner won’t want to be dusting all these things as part of keeping the house ready to show, and that packing or disposing of some things at leisure will be much easier than waiting until the pressure of an approaching move.
Down-sizing is not just for older folks moving to smaller quarters. The family relocating from one coast to another will often find that moving costs will more than outweigh the value of some things they may choose to replace after the move.