Getting Rid of the Stuff – Freeing Yourself Up for Your Next Chapter
For those considering a change in lifestyle such as a move to a retirement community, the biggest thing that holds them back is figuring out what to do with all the things that they’ve accumulated over the years. Who wants to face a basement or an attic that holds not only your things, but most likely those of your children? “There’s no doubt it’s daunting,” says Nancy Sproat, Move-In Coordinator at Duncaster, "But those who have done it tell me the experience can be both freeing and joyful.”
Sproat advises those considering Duncaster to start thinking about disposing of their excess goods early, even before they start actively looking for a retirement community. “We call it ‘Lifestyling’ because the process of ridding yourself of years of possessions is a great way to update your lifestyle to match what you want at a later stage of your life. Getting rid of things lifts a weight. It makes you feel lighter. And it will make an eventual move simpler,” she says.
Nancy Offers These Suggestions For Starting the Process:
Get rid of the boxes – Sproat points out that many of us have boxes in our basements and attics that we’ve moved from house to house without even opening them. Some may be yours. Others may be inherited from relatives or children who’ve moved out of the house. “We just move these boxes, thinking we’ll figure out what to do with them when we get the time,” she says. “But the truth is we never do. One of the people who recently moved to Duncaster told me he found several boxes in his basement that were still sealed from their last move 28 years ago. He clearly didn’t miss the contents in all those years.” Go through those boxes and decide what you’ll move, send to those wayward children, give to family members, donate or send to the dump. “You don’t have to do it all at once,” Sproat advises. Or make your job even easier; leave the box sealed and call Disabled Veterans for a pickup and save yourself the time and energy of sorting.”
Offer treasured possessions to family members without judgment – Identify the things that are important to you, but won’t fit into a newer, simplified lifestyle. Then, invite family members over for a party where they can claim what they want. If they aren’t local, make an on-line photo album so they can claim what interests them. Then, when you’re visiting them you can enjoy your piece in their home. And don’t fret if your treasured items don’t work for them. Let them know it’s ok to tell you that they don’t want something “Don’t take it personally if they don’t want them,” cautions Sproat. “They already have their own households and some things you love may simply not fit into their lives. It’s not a personal rejection, so don’t take it that way. Your items can find a new home through a needy organization or perhaps even an online sale.”
Eliminate duplicates – “People often have multiple sets of flatware and dishes. They may have received one when they were married and then inherited others. You don’t need three. The same thing goes for hammers and flashlights. Pick the one you use and pass the others along,” advises Sproat. And if you wish to keep your china, put it in the kitchen cupboard and give away your everyday dishes.
Decide what you will donate – Many places are happy to get things you no longer want or need. Think of local theater companies, schools, and veterans’ projects, Goodwill, Dress for Success, Gifts of Love and houses of worship. Theater groups love old clothing and furnishings. Nonprofits that help people set up households after transitions can use everything from your extra toaster to the rake or lawnmower you no longer use. Dress for Success gives business attire to people who are new to the job market. Put the things you don’t need to move to good use.
Look for outside help in disposing of things you don’t need or use – There are a number of services that will come and help you find new “homes” for your possessions. Professionals help you go through your items, label what’s going to go with you, what you’d like to donate, what you want to go to family members and then take care of getting them where they need to go. “Before moving to Duncaster, residents have used services such as a local company called Dutiful Daughter,” says Sproat. Home to Home, Woodland Movers and Warehousing as well as Fine Asset Advisors offer more services than their business names suggest! You might even choose to work with a professional to manage and hire your professionals! Smith Senior Services does this are more! To find related companies, check the section below this article for a listing of resourceful professionals.
Decide what you’ll take – A move to an easier lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up all of your treasures. Of course you’ll want to keep your most cherished things and integrate them into your new life,” says Sproat. “It might be the painting from Paris. Or the chair you love to sit in when you read. If you’re not sure if it will fit, keep it. You’ll often be surprised that you’ll find space for something that’s important to you.”
Whether you’re thinking about a move to a simpler life tomorrow, next year or sometime in the future, Sproat suggests getting rid of unneeded possessions sooner rather than later. “If you start now, a move won’t be so daunting,” she says. “You’ll find when you’re done you’ll feel lighter and freer to pick the lifestyle that works for you today and in the future.”
|Company Name||Contact Individual||Phone|
|California Closets||Ryan McAllister||800-225-6901|
|Duncaster Turnover Shop||Sue Culshaw||860-726-2718|
|Lynne Einsel & Associates||Lynne Einsel||917-371-5265|
|Home to Home||Susan Rabinovitch||860-558-4625|
|Move Mom & More||Dan Suprun||860-432-4442|
|Pearce Plus Senior Services||Dawn O’Connell||203-281-9315|
|Salvation Army||Clara Hoban||860-527-8106, ext 303|
|The Dutiful Daughter||Aaron Wlochowski||860-432-5503|
|The Habitat for Humanity - ReStore||860-519-0828|
|Winter Associates||Linda Stamm||860-793-0288|
|Woodland Movers||Tony Lupoli||860-249-1949|