20 Tips to Downsizing, Part 2 of 4 – Coping with Treasure

20 Tips to Downsizing, Part 2 of 4 – Coping with Treasure

By Paula Spencer Scott, Caring.com Author

Helping a parent downsize for a move can be complicated. Where you see a houseful of stuff to sort and toss, your parent is apt to see treasures, essentials, and a lifetime of memories.

Here are Tips 6 through 9 of 20 expert-tested ideas to avoid the "junk wars" and make downsizing less stressful -- for all of you.

Downsizing tips: How to cope with treasure.

  1. Pack representative bits of favored items (not the whole kit and kaboodle).

Photos, memorabilia, and collections typically take up far more space than the average assisted-living quarters can accommodate. Many services digitize images and papers for you for reasonable prices -- sell the idea to your parent that every family member will get a copy, too.

Pick key prints to display on the walls; large tabletop displays take up too much precious space.

  1. Cull a collection by asking, "Which is your favorite piece?"

Assure that one or two "best" items can have a highlighted location in the new home. "People sometimes feel OK about giving up the rest if they have a sense of control over the process," Novack says.

  1. Take photos of the rest of a collection and present them in a special book.

No, it's not exactly the same as owning, but it's a space-saving way for a collector to continue enjoying.

  1. If it's meant to be a gift or legacy, encourage giving it now.

Urge your parent not to wait for the next holiday, birthday, or other milestone to bestow; remind him that there's no space for storage. Ask, "Why not enjoy the feeling of giving right now?" (And if you're the recipient -- just take it, and encourage your relatives to do the same. You can lose it later, if you don't want it, but the immediate need is to empty your parent's house.)

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