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Seniors who resist decluttering

Seniors who resist decluttering
askphyllis real estate question, real estate q and A

Dear Phyllis,

I look forward to your real estate column. We have lived in our La Crescenta home for more than thirty years. We raised our family here and now it’s just the two of us. There are so many reasons we should move: maintenance, two levels, children are out of state, etc. I know we would be more comfortable in a single level home or condo near one of our kids. My dilemma is the thought of going through all of our stuff and moving is overwhelming. On the other hand I know that avoiding this will put an additional burden on my children – making them have to deal with what I don’t want to. What are your thoughts?


Dear Procrastinator,

I have represented many trustees who have been left with the overwhelming task of sorting through the contents of their parent’s (or other loved one’s) home. Quite often the process takes them more than six months. It will be even more difficult for your children as they are not local.

Paperwork is what I hear is the most difficult. Some people hold on to outdated and meaningless paperwork. Why not start by sorting through all of your paperwork and determine what can be shredded. Check with your accountant as to how long he would like you to keep your tax documents and then each year eliminate what you don’t need.

Books: I have had many trustees tell me that they found money and important papers in books. If you have old books, sell or donate what you don’t need, this will eliminate someone feeling the need to go through each one. Checking pockets in clothing is another time consuming task; donate clothes that you no longer wear.

China and sliver? Are you using it? If not, find out who wants it and give it to them. In the event no one wants it, sell it. Maybe you have grandchildren moving out on their own, pare down your kitchen equipment by giving some to them. Ditto to holiday decorations that you no longer use.

You certainly don’t have to move, but you can begin to organize and declutter, which will make things so much easier for your family. And once that hard work is done, you may revisit the idea of moving. There are people you can hire to help if needed.

I know that it can seem overwhelming but taking just one step is a start. And this is something we can all work on – as Seniors aren’t the only one who resist decluttering!

Best of luck to you.

Related Posts: How to sell a cluttered home 
Learn how to transfer your low property taxes when downsizing 
Planning ahead


One thought on “Seniors who resist decluttering

  1. Sam says:

    My son just rented a new place where the owner had passed. It took the daughter nine months to sort through everything and prepare the home to rent.

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