It’s National Pack Rat Day! Yes! That is a thing!
Do you know the difference between a Pack Rat, Collector and Hoarder?
Pack Rats don’t usually keep everything. They are drawn to types of things. Some keep spare parts, scraps of wood, bits of fabric, broken china, plastic containers and stuff other people throw out. They are artistic, do-it-yourself type people who have the creativity and skill to use these things to make something new. If push came to shove and they had to move or downsize, these people could recycle, toss or give away their supply stores though they might mourn the unrealized projects they see in each item.
Downsizing math! At least 40% of your stuff needs someone else to love it.
One of the biggest barriers to making a downsizing move is math. Some numbers come in the form of finances, independent living communities are not inexpensive, but if those calculations work for you, then your biggest math problem will come in the form of square footage. The largest floor plans tend to be cottages, topping out at around 1,600 square feet. Apartments can be far smaller, starting at a cozy 500 square feet. According to the National Builders Association, the average US home is some 2,700 square feet.
Using that 2,700 square foot average home for our example, someone downsizing would have between 1,100 and 2,200 square feet of things that won’t fit. That is a lot of stuff. No wonder the decision to downsize gets put off! But fear not.
Some of those decisions will be easy. If you are considering a 2 bedroom floor plan, you may already know that at least 1 bedroom of your current 3 bedroom house won’t be making the move. Separate dining and formal living rooms are not typically found in independent living spaces, so all that furniture will likely need a new home too.
Clutter Clusters. Those places in your home where stuff gets stashed—counter tops, drawers, shelves, closets and corners. Whether things were put their “temporarily” or purposefully, the space is in shambles. You may have trouble finding items in this messy space or feel a bit defeated when you look at it.
If you are ready to conquer these Clutter Clusters, join Smooth Transitions Delaware’s closed Facebook Group, Shambles to Ship Shape in Six weeks. Beginning Monday, February 4th, we’ll use the next six, cold weeks to clean out common Clutter Clusters together. Week-by-week, our spaces will go from Shambles to Ship-Shape!
How it works:
Just some of the dozens of bins that were emptied during a 2-room decluttering project.
The average American household is said to contain over 300,000 items. Having worked to clean out a few of those houses, I’d say that number is a conservative guess. Many household items are always where you expect to find them, but some go missing in the chaos of our busy lives. In a study of 3,000 adults, esure, a British home insurance company, found that people spend an average of 10 minutes a day looking for lost items. That adds up to about 3,680 hours—a staggering 153 days—over a lifetime!
No wonder people feel like they need to get organized. A weekend spent cleaning up the recent mail, newspapers and partially emptied shopping bags only takes a day to undo as new mail, newspapers and shopping come through the door. Add to that, the bargains that were purchased in bulk and now need to be stored before using. Add to that, the new things you bought because you were out of the old ones, only to find a stash of the very same things tucked away. It all adds up to overflowing shelves, closets, drawers and countertops.
A popular solution to this problem is the plastic storage bin.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Pumpkin spiced everything is in the air and thoughts are turning to holiday plans. More than likely, your holiday plans include buying a gift for a baby boomer or senior you love. Do you struggle to find something for them each gift-giving occasion? Fear not! We used some of our time at the 55+ Expo to help you. We asked many attendees what they would like for the holidays this year. What we heard pretty clearly is that the last thing they wanted was, well, a thing.
The number one response? Good health. Since that isn’t a thing you can pick up the mall, perhaps something that makes healthy living easier would be well received by your favorite health nut. Research shows that one of the absolute best things anyone can do for their health is move more. Even as little as 150 minutes a week of exercise can have big healthy benefits.
Are your busy days followed by busy nights? Does your house show it—in piles of mail, newspapers, cups, glasses and half-emptied shopping bags strewn across the counters and table tops? Maybe you are like me and have shoes here and there on the floor too? As long as it is a temporary state, it’s a normal part of living a full life.
If you are like our decluttering clients, however, the piles have become mini-mountains, overtaking the counters and tables and expanding over to the floors. Perhaps life took an unexpected turn and you didn’t get a weekend to whip the house back into shape before bringing in more mail, newspapers and shopping. And that turn was years ago. Did you build a mountain of stuff in the guest room, or the garage? Maybe Your Mountain is part of a range?
Finding the bottom of the floor or the top of the desk can feel like climbing Mt. Everest, but the mountain wasn’t built overnight and it won’t go away in a weekend. If you are ready to excavate Your Mountain, use these steps to reach the surfaces.
AmVets’ Kareem picks up Mom’s big Christmas Tree, she prefers a tabletop one now.
My parent’s home hasn’t changed much in the thirty years since I last lived there. Couches have been replaced, the kitchen was updated. But still scattered throughout are knick-knacks lining the tops of furniture, clippings of newspaper articles being saved for “later” in piles here and there, paperwork saved for decades filling file cabinets and dresser drawers, and closets filled with enough extra towels to start a car washing business. I know that their house is not unusual, what is unusual is that at 82 years old, my mother is actually doing something about it.
There are two things I hear, almost without fail, when I tell someone I am a Senior Move Manager. “I could have used you last week (month, year) when we had to move my Mom/Dad/Grandmother/Aunt…,” or “What can I do with my (or Mom’s or grandma’s) china/curio cabinet/collection of fill-in-the-blank?”
While it’s too late for me to be of any help with the recent move, people have high hopes that I know a secret place where the family treasures can be sold for top dollar. I smile and say, “yes, it’s a challenge to sell these things, isn’t it?” And then I decide whether or not to be the bearer of bad news.
Are you one of the 42% of Baby Boomers who are thinking about downsizing their home? Are you doing a lot of “thinking,” because the actions required to downsize are so overwhelming and you don’t know where to start?
Houses aren’t just filled with our belongings, they are filled with our memories, treasured traditions, reliable routines and family folklore. How can a person move from “thinking” to “doing” the job of downsizing 3,000 sq ft of stuff to fit inside something half as big? Or less?!
I understand and have great compassion for your worries! My clients are often relieved to have found someone who will walk them through the downsizing process and provide a framework for the tasks. Allow me to suggest you start in the least emotional space.