One thing we learn as children are different shapes and sizes of things. A toy my nephews had was a plastic cube with different cutout shapes and there was a ‘block’ that matched each of the different shapes. The challenge was finding the right shape in the cube that matched the block and drop into the cube. Of course, it had to be the right shape to fit into the cube, which was frustrating until they finally learned what shapes fit into the correct hole.
Through the years we have all experienced the frustration of trying to fit something in, only to find out that it just won’t fit. This happens more often than not when our senior loved ones are downsizing and moving into much smaller living arrangements. I experienced this first hand recently and I have come away with a few lessons I want to pass along to you all, so you can pass it along to someone going through this process.
- The plans provided by the community for your loved one’s new apartment are not always accurate. They are close but during the building or renovations things happen and changes are made that are not reflected in the sample plan given to future residents. So a wall or a closet that the plan states is a certain size may not exist or is significantly different. When possible, view the apartment you are moving into and measure the walls and closets and make the changes on the sample plan. It will make life easier when determining what will or will not fit. What we think will fit doesn’t always. If you take less, you can always bring more a little bit at a time.
- Resist the desire to give into your loved one when they want you to take too many treasured pieces and you know they will not fit. It is easier to deal with the tears and upset feelings before you move. You will only end up moving it back out of the new place because there is just no room to move around or you leave the place so crowded it is unsafe.
- Leave the collections of Royal Dalton, Liardro, crystal, and Hummel behind. Bring a few, but let family members have them for safe keeping. Bringing them to an assisted living or similar community where your loved one’s health needs are the primary concern will be too much and may possibly be in the way if there were a medical emergency.
- Unfortunately, as sad as it might be, eventually the items moved in will need to be moved out.
Common sense doesn’t always prevail and as much as you want to make things less stressful for the person moving out of their home, someone has to play devil’s advocate. It is a fine line to walk and there may (and probably will) be tears and tantrums along the way. It is better to keep in mind our childhood lessons that ‘square blocks do not fit into round holes’ and neither do five rooms of ‘stuff’ fit into two rooms. It is a whole lot easier if the tough decisions are made early in the process.
Claire LeSage is the owner of WITTZ END Relocation Concierge Service.
Claire and her team work with Baby Boomers and seniors, helping them let go of the past
and move on to have a more peaceful, comfortable, simpler, and easier life.