“What am I going to do with mama’s china?”
Not surprisingly, that’s almost always the first comment someone makes after signing a lease to move into a senior independent living community. If china isn’t the first thing mentioned, then it’s often something else - a treasured bedroom set - a lawn mower - something.
Over the years, I’ve learned it’s not so much the item itself that concerns the potential resident; rather, it’s the almost crushing realization that downsizing is now inevitable. A beloved house full of treasures almost becomes an insurmountable obstacle and the question is invariably asked, “How am I going to do all of this?”
Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you think. For the person dedicated to doing it on their own, we recommend:
1) The Concept of Spark Joy. I’m sure you’ve heard about Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The premise of her book is simple - if you look at an item and it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.
We all have clothes in our closet we don’t wear. A garage full of unused power tools. An old office with desk and filing cabinet. Items that take up space but are rarely used.
A garage sale may be in order - or maybe you might want to consider an estate sale. There are many reputable companies in our area and one of the joys of an estate sale? You can get top dollar for those things that don’t bring you “joy.”
2) Give away some of the good stuff. My mother knew I loved a pair of depression era glass book ends that she kept on her desk. When she made the decision to downsize, she gave the bookends to me over lunch, and I could not have been more thrilled. Mom always said the happiness on my face made downsizing all worth-while.
Do you have items that will be treasured by someone you love?
3) The kitchen. I’m a self-professed kitchen junkie, so I often ask future residents about the state and size of their kitchen. When down-sizing to a senior living community, many kitchen wiz’s I know buy new for their new home! That way you always have the option to cook (which I love) or to hang up the apron - your choice!
No matter what, when you down-size there will be plenty of room for those things you love most in this life. I know when I downsize, my mama’s china will come with me - all 142 pieces!
Amy Stanitzke is the Community Relations Director for The Mansions at Gwinnett Park - Senior Independent Living. Amy has years of experience working in the senior housing industry and is a certified Ageless Grace© Educator. Do you have a question about downsizing or senior independent living? Call Amy at (404) 797-2764 or at www.MansionsSeniorLiving.com.