The garages and basements of the sandwich generation overflow with both their parents’ belongings and their children’s’ leftovers. It is an overwhelming task to sort through when deciding what to sell, keep, pass on, donate, and throw away. Especially if you, the generation who inherited it all, are also thinking about resizing your home and making a move.
Planning ahead before parents move into senior living or pass on gives everyone a little more peace of mind. It not only makes dealing with the estate and selling the house easier, it can also help reduce family tensions. As a Realtor helping seniors move, and as one who just lost a parent, I feel qualified to speak about planning ahead. I’ve had clients who want to move but lament that it might take them years to clear out the garage and basement of the belongings of their family’s’ past generations. Don’t put that burden on your children.
Go through your home with your children and grandchildren. Make a list of who wants or gets each piece of jewelry, art, and furniture. If there are collections that might be valuable, get them appraised and decide what to keep or sell. Also any valuable property might need to be factored into an estate plan. Likewise, if items are of sentimental value, they should also be listed. All items listed should be kept with a will so there is no question of what has been decided.
Don’t guilt your children into holding onto items that have little or no economic or sentimental value to them. Also, work together to get rid of the many items that haven’t been used for several years or are simply worn out. Long before moving into senior living start decluttering and simplifying your life. Planning ahead and preparing your home for moving or your death, reduces the stress for all; especially if the home needs to be sold to pay for the next step.
Some resources that might be useful include; senior move specialists, churches, A Place for Mom, and estate sales professionals. Dealing with the loss of a parent is hard enough but to be burdened with all of their belongings often completely overwhelms the family. As a Realtor, I help my clients to strategically simplify the process and recommend resources. If you are looking to move your parents or yourself, please contact me and I will help make it as smooth as possible.