Help Your Parents Downsize Before They Move


Apart from millennials, baby boomers make up the largest percentage of homeowners and buyers in the country. Accounting for over 30% of the home owning market, aging boomers are calling upon their adult children to help them downsize from their family homes into apartments, condos, or smaller suburban dwellings. That said, moving can be stressful, especially when it involves getting rid of things.

5 Tips for Downsizing Before a Local or Long-Distance Move

To help alleviate the stress and anxiety of the downsizing experience, we’ve outlined a few key strategies for getting your parents into their next home.

1. Communicate with your parents before the move.

Communication is a huge part of the downsizing process, as it allows you and your parents to get on the same page prior to making any big decisions. It also helps limit the chaos or confusion that might otherwise make the moving process more stressful than it needs to be. Discussing the move with them, and assuring them they have a choice in the items they bring along to their next home, is of the utmost importance.


2. Plan everything.

A well organized plan can make the process more efficient. When creating a downsizing plan, pick sections of the house you’re going to tackle, and don’t worry about anything else until you’ve finished that specific area. Prioritize important documents, heirlooms, and other non-negotiables, then move on to lower priority items.

3. Your parents should feel in control.

No matter how much you want to get rid of, it’s important to remember that downsizing can be an emotional process. It often involves having to decide to keep or giveaway items that have significant sentimental value. Encouraging your parents to make decisions about what they want to keep is critical to making them feel in control and not pressured. If your parents are having a hard time getting rid of things, a storage unit can be a great compromise between saying “no” and overfilling their new home or apartment. Making lists of what to keep and the things they should get rid of prior to their move can also be helpful.

4. Don’t underestimate the workload.

Even if it seems like the bulk of the work can be knocked out in a weekend or over a long holiday, don’t underestimate the amount of time you’ll need. This is especially true if your folks have lived in the same house for more than a decade; it’s likely more stuff has accumulated than you think. What’s more, many aging parents opt to move from large homes (4,000-5,000 square feet) into dwellings that are half or less than half the size. This makes the downsizing process much more complex than a simple purge of unwanted items.

5. Invite other family members to help with the downsizing process.

Enlisting other family members can be a great way to share the workload required to downsize. Apart from being helpful with the tedious tasks like sorting and cleaning, having extra family around makes it easier for your parents to give away items they might otherwise keep, knowing they’ll stay in the family for years to come.

And don’t forget the post-downsizing dinner, where your parents can enjoy quality time with family members they haven’t seen in awhile. Even if most of your relatives are out of state, pick a week or a weekend when others could join, and make it a community effort rather than a solitary one. Fresh faces and positive attitudes can turn an otherwise uncomfortable process into an enjoyable family bonding experience.

Our Portland and Seattle Moving Companies Can Help

Once you’ve completed the downsizing process, nail down your moving date and figure out exactly who you need to help before the day arrives. Hiring a team of movers that can do the heavy lifting for you is a great idea that can save you time and money.

After downsizing, it’s likely that you’ll have saved heirlooms, antiques, and other valuables. Moving these items can be tricky. The last thing you want after a successful downsizing effort is to lose, break, or damage treasured family valuables. The pros at All Service Moving are experienced and reliable. Whether your move is across the street or across the country, we’ve got you covered.

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