What’re You Gonna Do With All This Stuff?
“Three moves are as bad as a burnout,” some grandparents said, generations ago. Back in the days when families moved by wagon, rutted roads pounded their possessions to pieces. And after several moves, little survived.
But today’s different, with smooth highways, modern conveyance and professional movers making it much less worrisome when our wealth of possessions grows well beyond a wagonload. In giant houses where people must text to find each other, there are whole worlds of goods. Basements burgeon with stacks, racks and bins. Two-, three- and four-car garages fill, while cars sit in the driveways. And ubiquitous storage facilities – many climate-controlled and some offering “lockers” likely as large as frontier cabins of old – contain the overflow of what no longer fits in the house.
When you move to a senior living community like Longhorn Village, you’ll need to deal with your stuff.
Where do you even start with the rightsizing?
Consider these two exhilarating challenges. First, going through everything. Second, getting rid of what you don’t want or need. Longhorn Village, like many other senior living communities, can provide resources that get you rolling with both challenges, and the place to start is to ask for their help.
You’ll want a plan, a team and chutes.
Make a plan.
Small tasks are more approachable, so a good plan for rightsizing is likely a long list of small chores. As you check off the small jobs, your inner bliss and a deep sense of pride will grow. And that motivates.
Every room is a cluster of small tasks. A shelf, a cabinet, a drawer, a closet – then voilà! –suddenly a room is sorted out. You’ll know what you’re keeping, donating, selling and giving to family and friends.
– Manage your expectations about how eager your family and friends are for your treasures. Perhaps you can ask them what they want before you ask them to pop open their car’s trunk and set boxes in there.
– Clinging is for plastic wrap, and your cherished goods can often be truly useful elsewhere. So, reset your thinking: You’re not getting rid of stuff as much as you’re setting it free to serve anew. (And you’ll be liberated, too.)
– Be good to yourself. Going through possessions piece by piece can stir memories and feelings. Take your time, and don’t be surprised if – after memories, laughter and tears – you feel weary.
Assemble your team.
You’ll need the brawny to assist with heavy lifting, the wise to steer you smartly and the loving to support you on your rightsizing journey.
Among family and friends, you’re likely to find the support you need – and perhaps strong arms, too. A senior living community’s connections (Longhorn Village partners with Moving Station to help with transitions) can provide good suggestions for your area’s donation-receiving organizations and estate sale services.
– Talk to family and friends about your plan.
– Call your senior living community (Longhorn Village’s number is 512.382.4680 about their rightsizing resources.
– Make a list of lifters and haulers.
Set up your chutes.
Everything you don’t keep goes somewhere. And while Tuesday’s trash collection is straightforward enough, where’s the rest of it go – and where does it sit while awaiting pickup?
Maybe your first task will be clearing a place in the garage to stack what you’ve decided to sell or donate.
But the next task is identifying how you’ll sell it or to what organization you’ll give it. Knowing your choices – the chutes you’ll offload your belongings onto – can help immeasurably as you sort through those treasures. You’ll then think of it less as “getting rid of” and more as getting your treasure into the hands of someone who’ll appreciate its usefulness.
– Make a list of your area’s donation centers sorted by what they will and won’t accept and which offer pick-up services.
– Become familiar with online services – e.g., Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace – and how you can use them for donating and selling.
– Check with your refuse collection company for their policy on large-item pickups.
You’re not in this alone, and you’re not the first to confront the challenges of rightsizing. So call or visit a community like Longhorn Village to find out how they can help.
To visit Longhorn Village, call 512.382.4680 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.