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The Things That Matter Most (Hint: They Aren't Things)


If you follow our blog, then you know that we recently featured a little update on our annual trip to the National Association of Senior Move Managers NASMM) Conference! Several years ago, the Master Class Keynote Speaker was Joshua Becker (founder & author of the blog ‘Becoming Minimalist’). His message about pursuing greater passions through owning less possessions was memorable and powerful then… and increasingly relevant today. He has now launched a new quarterly, online magazine called ‘Simplify’ to help families focus on the things that matter most… and recently featured the topic of downsizing.


From the perspective of  NASMM’s Founding Board President, Margit Novack, Simplify shares 9 tips that aid in the downsizing process and keep everyone’s eye focused on the ultimate prize: helping mom and dad. We encourage you to read the article in full HERE, and have summarized three of what we consider to be the most essential and invaluable tips below.


Focus On Sorting, Not Packing


Helping a parent prepare for a move is one of the biggest organizational tasks you can take on. Be sure to keep in mind that anyone can help your parents pack – but not anyone can help them sort. Yet sorting what will stay, what will go and what will journey onto donation centers, charities and yes, even the dump, is the single most important step in the downsizing process. Sorting, done right, can save time and money plus reduce stress and create peace of mind. (Hint: This is where Senior Move Managers shine.)


Be Realistic About How Much Time It Will Take


We wish we could tell you that downsizing was a weekend warrior project – but it is not. According to Simplify, the average downsizing process takes 60-80 hours when working through the belongings of a family home. Plus, allocate about 20 hours for dispersal of unwanted/unneeded items and 50-80 hours to pack, move and unpack their new home. That is about 3-5 weeks of a full-time job! If your time is limited (whose isn’t!), then divide and conquer. Provide emotional and social support and don’t be afraid to hire pros for the rest. It’s true that no one really can do it alone – nor should they have to.


The Big Picture


It might seem like the end game is to ‘get rid of stuff’ when helping mom or dad move. But we cannot reiterate enough the point that Margit Novack makes about keeping three objectives equally in mind: “caring for your parents, taking care of yourself, and keeping the family intact”. There is no doubt that tensions and conflicts will emerge over how to complete the downsizing process, what to give away and when to ask for help. But keep focusing on the people in the picture – not the stuff they are surrounded by. When times get tough, step away and ask yourself what the healthiest solution is for keeping the family together and taking care of yourself and each other.


All our best,


Helen & Julie 


Helen Ingwersen