Archive for downsizing

Making Peace with Downsizing

elderly womanIt’s not easy to give up a home you’ve lived in for years, maybe decades, even when you know it’s the best thing for you to do.

Let’s just say it: Change is scary.

And moving somewhere different, maybe to a different neighbourhood, or even a different town altogether, is a HUGE change.

Downsizing adds a whole new layer to all that. Having to choose which of your possessions you can take with you, and what you’re going to do with everything else, is tough.

Just know that you’re not alone in all this.

I’ve dealt with many individuals who have left their homes to move to a retirement home. I also have personal experience coping with family and parent illness and understand all this encompasses.  I know the emotional difficulties of the transitional steps one may take in caring for their aging loved ones. I’ll be happy to help you and your family to cope with downsizing and entering the next stage of life.

But if you’re not ready for that (and I understand if you’re not – it is a big deal, after all) you might take comfort in reading an e-book written by one of my American colleagues. It’s called Making Peace with Downsizing and you can download it free of charge.

Then, when you’re ready to take the first step, complete our free questionnaire. We’ll help you evaluate your situation and prepare for the next phase in your lives.

How to Protect Yourself when Selling Online

selling on KijijiWhen you’re downsizing, there will probably be a lot of things that you won’t be taking to your new home, either because you won’t have room for them, or because you won’t need them anymore.

If you’re concerned with the environment and your community, you’ll likely choose to donate a lot of your unneeded items to people in need or local charitable organizations such as Goodwill or the St. Vincent de Paul Society, but if some of your items are valuable, you might be more inclined to try and sell them.

There are lots of ways you can sell used goods, but newspaper classifieds can be expensive, and flyers in the grocery store might not get noticed. That’s why Kijiji and Craigslist are so popular. Because your ad is on a major website, you have access to a lot of potential buyers, and it’s free, so you don’t have to worry about selling the item for less than you paid for the ad or not selling it at all.

Sounds pretty good, right?

Well, it is pretty good, but there are a few things you need to watch out for.

Really vague emails which use the phrase “your item” instead of referring to it by name are usually from a scammer. Such emails will often mention such things as having someone else pick up the item, agent’s fees, or other details that wouldn’t normally apply in a person-to-person sale.

If you receive a suspicious message like this, do not respond to it; just delete it.

If the initial inquiry includes an offer to pay you online, this may also be a fraud attempt. Never divulge your PayPal email address, your home address, or any other personal information until you have communicated directly with the buyer and are satisfied that everything is above board.

For your protection, it’s recommended that all transactions take place in person in a public place and that you only accept cash payments.

For more information, check out this video from Kijiji’s customer service team.

If you need help selling, donating, or disposing of your unwanted items in an environmentally friendly way, email us at or call 905-971-9568.

What Are Active Adult Living Communities?

Seniors in the Hot tubWhen it comes to downsizing your home, there are many options and it can be confusing to figure out which one is right for you. My guest blogger today will shed some light on one of those options.

When you hear the term ”retirement community,” what comes to mind? I think of a place that isn’t exactly what I would call exciting unless you like to be able to hear a pin drop.  I think retirement communities have a stigma attached to them.  However, when you hear the term “active adult living communities,” how does that sound?  Probably a lot better huh?  Now before you start thinking that it is merely a matter of semantics and that “retirement communities” and “active adult living communities” are the same thing, think again.  They are vastly different.

What Are Active Adult Communities?

I think one of the main stigmas associated with retirement communities is the reality that you need assistance and are in some way dependent on someone else’s care.  With that being said, that is primarily what distinguishes active adult communities from retirement communities.  The residents are independent of anyone else’s care.

So, the real question is, “Why would someone want to live in an active adult community?”  The answer is simple: lifestyle.  These communities offer a resort-style lifestyle.  First of all, you own your own property just like you would normally, but these “resorts” offer certain amenities that you would certainly not see in your average neighborhood.  Everything from mini golf, to private movie theatres, to dancing, private gyms, swimming pools, etc. can be found in these communities.  You name it, and you can probably find it at these communities.  Also, they are typically located near medical facilities.

Who Are These Communities Designed For?

Typically you must be 55 years of age or older to “get in” to one of these communities.  Also, given that the residents are expected to be independent, you want to make sure that “independent living” is something that is of interest.  Also, because of the many amenities that are included in these resort-style communities, they are very well suited for children.  So, if you have grandchildren, they will certainly love coming to visit.  So, remember, when you imagine these communities, it’s not about giving up your dependence, it’s about entering into the retirement lifestyle that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Added Benefits to Living in an Active Adult Community

I realize that selling the home you raised your kids in to move into a foreign community may seem like a difficult choice to make, but here are some added benefits to doing so:

Sense of Community

It becomes more difficult to meet and make friends as we get older, however, since most people in these communities will be of a similar age as you, socializing becomes all that much easier.

Smaller Homes

Let’s face it.  If it is just you and your spouse, you don’t need as much space as you did when you were raising your kids.  The home styles offered at these communities will be a perfect fit for just the two of you.

Less Yard Maintenance

Many of these communities provide, via their Home Owners Association, lawn service, snow and ice removal, garden upkeep, etc.

Brandon enjoys writing about active adult living communities like

Photo ©Amy Muschi / Depositphotos

Downsizing Your Belongings Before Downsizing Your Home

old china cupsIf you’ve lived in the same house for many years, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff in your garage, basement, and/or other storage areas. Much of it has been packed away for so long that you don’t even know what you have, but because you’ve always had room for it, it’s never been an issue. But now that it’s time to move to a smaller house, a condo, or a retirement home, it’s time to make some decisions. You won’t have room for all that stuff in your new place, and even if you did, there wouldn’t be much point in moving it, just to store it away again.

There are a number of ways you can get rid of items you won’t be taking to your new home.

1. Offer them to family members.

Certain items will be more valuable than others, whether we’re talking about monetary value or sentimental value, and you may wish to keep them in the family. Ask your children or grandchildren if they would like to have them, but don’t be upset if they don’t accept everything. Something that is important to you may not have any significance to them, and they may have limited space.

2. Sell them.

If you have a large number of sellable items, you might consider holding a garage sale or auction. Individual items may be advertised for free on bulletin boards in local stores or on Kijiji, or sold at a second-hand store or consignment shop. A second-hand store will buy the items from you and then resell them at a higher price, whereas a consignment shop will display them in the store and give you a percentage of the price once a sale is completed.

3. Donate them to charity.

Different charities accept everything from mittens to tractors. Some distribute them to persons in need, while others sell them to raise funds for their programs. Here is a list of Canadian charitable organizations and the types of goods they accept.

4. Give them away.

Perhaps you would prefer to make sure your unneeded items go directly to a person or family in need, instead of donating them to an organization.  One way to do this is to join The Freecycle Network and offer your items to other members in your local area. Here is a list of active Freecycle groups in Ontario.

5. Dispose of them responsibly.

Most items should not be simply tossed in the garbage.

Any papers that show your name, address, or other personal information, should be shredded. If you don’t own a shredder, your documents may be taken to a UPS Store or other facility for secure shredding.

Be sure to recycle any paper and containers that are accepted in your community, and take household hazardous waste to a designated facility.

We would be happy to help you distribute or dispose of your unneeded belongings.

Give us a call at 905-971-9568 or email us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

Photo © Cheryl Empey – stock.xchng

Preparing to Downsize

Today I welcome Moreen Torpy, one of my colleagues from Professional Organizers in Canada, as my first guest blogger.

a journey down memory laneSo you’re thinking of downsizing your home. That can be a frightening concept, especially if you’ve lived in the same place for many years. But there’s a solution to banish that fear.

Why are you downsizing? If it’s to spend more time enjoying life rather than maintaining a large house with lots of empty rooms, that’s a good place to begin planning. What are you most looking forward to doing? Travelling, taking up a new hobby, spending more time with family and friends? Maybe volunteering?

Where will you begin? The best place to start is in a room you seldom use. You will have the least attachment here, so you can work more quickly.

One caveat though—don’t overdo the time you spend on this. It will be very tiring both physically and emotionally. Empty this room as much as possible so you have a place to pack and store the items you’ll be taking with you to your new place.

Basic organizing rules apply to downsizing too. With each item, ask yourself whether you really love it, if you’ve used it in the recent past, if it still fits both you and your lifestyle. Consider how much storage you’ll have in your new place as well. There’s no point trying to move a 3-bedroom home with basement and attic into a one-bedroom condo or apartment. It simply won’t work.

Be ruthless with your decision-making. If any family member wishes to have certain articles, if you can give them now, do so and this will reduce what you need to pack. And they can enjoy using your gifts right away.

The journey down memory lane may be a long one, so take this into account. The whole downsizing process will probably take much longer than you expect, especially when you begin going through memorabilia.

Decide what you will definitely use in your new place first. If you don’t already use your best china, now is the time to begin and leave the everyday dishes behind. Or, you might give that china to a family member and purchase new, more practical replacements. This is the time to enjoy your things so keep only those that you love around you.

Enjoy the journey! The destination will be a whole new world of experiences ready for you to enjoy and embrace. Happy landings!

What can you do today to begin downsizing?

© Moreen Torpy

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Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See for more about the book including where to purchase it, and to learn about her organizing services.