What if I just downsize my stuff and stay where I am?

Lots of stuff

This is certainly a sensible approach for some people. There are two very different attitudes that surface in this situation. 

Either the person who says this is considering a delayed move or they want to spend the rest of their life where they are, if possible. This is sometimes referred to as “aging in place.”  In either case, this is a good time to check the article titled “Why downsize?”, if you have not already done so. Clearly stating what’s important to you about downsizing, will help you decide if staying where you are is the best choice.

Delayed Move

If you have the health and financial resources to take this approach, this may work very well for you. This is really a preliminary stage for downsizing the home at a later date (This is what we did. We took an extended period of time to evaluate and trim our stuff so the process was not rushed.)

A delayed-move works very well when you have lots of interests and related stuff, like me: music (instruments, books, recordings and sound equipment); photography (cameras, books, and photo equipment) and art (prints, books, and supplies). Taking the time to consider each category makes your decision-making less stressful and helps ensure you keep only what is truly important to you.

Of course, by delaying the move, you are also delaying the cost savings you will enjoy when you eventually move. In the meantime, you will continue to pay expenses for your current home and related stuff. The only real difference between the delayed move approach and customary downsizing is elapsed time. You’re just taking longer to get to the same destination.

Do you have a time frame in mind for your delayed move or will you just know when you are ready?

Aging in Place

This term is often spoken when people have retired, still live in their family home and have no plans to move. If you are helping an older family member who wants to “age in place”, the first thing that would be useful for all involved is to find out what they mean by the term. That way, you can plan appropriately and bring your efforts in line with what is best for them. Here are three possible versions of their intentions:

“I’m so overwhelmed with stuff and decisions, I can’t even think about a move!”

This person needs help in planning their clear-out and a flexible schedule for doing so. Once they have made progress and can see their way into the future, they can consider a full downsize, including a move.

“I’m in pretty good shape (health). I’ll stay here as long as I can manage on my own.”

As humans, we are not good at self-assessment. We usually need someone looking at our situation to provide another perspective. It may be true that as of today, the person can say they are in good shape. The difficulty arises in the gradual, day-to-day physical and mental changes that are part of the aging process. We don’t notice that we actually need care and our safety is at risk. By the time something is done, we are into downsizing by necessity instead of by choice. Although this approach can make supporting family members feel good initially, they soon realize that their responsibilities are increasing over time.
Do you have a family member in this situation?

“I’m going to stay here until they ‘take me out in a box’.”

This is the approach that feels comforting for the speaker but eventually makes family members and caregivers worry as the person ages. Here are some of the thoughts that go through their head – “What if he/she falls?, “What if they leave the stove on?”, “What if they forget their medication?”, “What if there is bad weather and the power fails?”, etc. The list goes on. This version of “aging in place” can place a huge burden on many people and requires the most skill and sensitivity in handling. As they age, the stress level on supporting family members increases.

What’s your understanding or experience with “aging in place”?

What are your thoughts on this topic? You are welcome to comment below …

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Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored in quill & pen by …
Paul Ferri, Broker
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated

Photo credit: Pixabay ~ Andreas N (domeckopol)

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