I am so chuffed to have been asked to contribute to a story that ran today on BrisbaneTimes.com.au about downsizing for retirees. Written by Mary Costello, the article outlines how retirees can best tackle the life changing process of downsizing:
Advice for Mature Downsizers
My brother rang recently to ask whether I wanted my secondary school essays that he’d found boxed in the roof space of the family home. I told him to leave them just where they were.
It might have been a lifetime ago, but I know that when I was in Upper 6th I wrote a fabulous essay on George Orwell and the English language – and would read again. Surely a few kilos of paper plus some old shoes, handbags and now retro fashion items couldn’t be taking up too much room.
I suppose it would have been a different story if my brother, or my parents before him, had decided to move house. You just can’t take other people’s personal heirlooms with you.
Kerri Rodley of Queensland-based Domestic Downsizing advises says mature householders who are planning to downsize to get their kids to clear out their own rubbish/treasures.
Move My Home spoke to Kerri the day after she’d helped a still-active client in her eighties downsize from a 4-bedroom home to a 2-bedroom retirement unit.
“She was moving from huge to tiny, and she wanted to take all her family heirlooms and the things she loved, liked her giant dining table,” Kerri said.
“Unfortunately it won’t fit. I had to say, “How can you live and move around in the new space? You’re getting older and you must be able to get around quite easily without things getting in your way. You must be realistic about your new lifestyle.”
It hit home and we sat down and did a plan about how she would walk around the house. It made her rethink her whole strategy, otherwise we’d have taken everything to the new place and not have had anywhere to put it.
“Next week we’ll go to the unit and put sticky-tape on the floor where the furniture will be, rather than bring the furniture and having to move it all around again. I find that works quite well.”
In Kerri’s experience people often fail to consider the practicality of having a large flat-screen TV in a small space.
“That was a big thing for this lady, who watches a lot of TV,” she said. “You must sit well back from it. You need a giant space between the chair and the TV, downsizers don’t often have that space.”
And it’s not just the furniture that must be considered when it comes to sorting belongings.
“Things that are hidden must also be thought about,” Kerri said. “My client loves to cook, and had a fantastic big kitchen in her old home. But the kitchen in the unit is tiny, and all her cooking things, even her cook books, wouldn’t fit in the new space.”
Displaying cherished antiques, artwork and family photos can also pose problems in a smaller home, Kerri said.
“The walls in this lady’s old house were all plastered, but in her new unit there’s a lot of exposed brick and you can’t easily place things on the walls. I’ve said we’ll make a feature wall from her favourite photos and paintings.”
“Then she can keep some others in a box and change them in six months time. It’ll be like a moving art wall. It’s a concept that worked well for her.
“This client was quite a realist. She has some fantastic antique cabinets andChinafrom her mother. I suggested that she pass them on to her children now. Then she can tell the stories about the different items and explain the meanings behind them”
“She thought that was a good idea. This a whole new phase of life, but you can’t just cut off the past – you must incorporate it and blend past and future.”
Kerri Rodley’s Top Tips for Mature Downsizers:
- Go through everything in your home and ask yourself – is this part of my new life? Do I really love it? Will it be useful in the new home? Do I really need it any more?
- Be ruthless – you won’t have time in your new active lifestyle to be decluttering, cleaning, and dealing with the past – you will be enjoying the present and planning for the future.
- Don’t try to do the decluttering, sorting and moving all at once – this will be very stressful, and the whole idea of downsizing is to reduce stress. Take it one room at a time, and have the decluttering and sorting done way before you start collecting moving boxes!
Read the rest of the story here: http://www.domesticdownsizing.com.au/media.htm