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An older woman organizes her clothing in preparation for packing


Get ready to talk it out
Downsizing, decluttering — call it what you will, it’s about more than packing boxes, says Vicky Riley, president of Red Coats Moving Solutions, in Toronto, a firm specializing in helping seniors decide what to keep and what to pass on before moving into a new place.
“Talking about memories is key, so don’t rush the process.”

More than “just another move,” this process can be tough emotionally, not just for the person parting with their things, but for the family members involved. “Talking about memories is key, so don’t rush the process,” says Riley. “Take your time, tell stories, share whatever it is that makes these things special.”

“Spend the time and listen to the stories—people want to share their experiences—listen to what people have to say about their stuff.” This not only helps us move forward, but also helps us part with things that we no longer need or have room for. Rushing through it will only cause havoc when it’s time to actually move, as you both begin second-guessing what will come and what will go. And more than this, it will eliminate the deeper value that comes from sorting through all this stuff.

More insights on helping a loved one with downsizing.

Helpful tips on getting started with the downsizing process yourself.