Dear Francy; Mother just told me she was ready to sell the house and move. She is on such a budget that she wants out. I live out of town and she wants me to do the house move. Now what?
OK, a couple of things to note. Do not say, no…just tell her you need to budget your time. You will give her every other weekend for the next two months and then the house will go up for sale. She has to get her name on a listing for a new home and tell them she will actually be ready to move in 90 days. Yes, the house may not be sold, but she will be tucked in her new place and on her way to her new life. Make the time frame larger if you like, but set a time frame.
Keep these ideas on your list:
* There are companies, usually run by women – that actually take the things that you do not want to move and sort through them for sale and for donation. So that means that you can sort over your mother’s things and have a keep, give and dump pile and stick to it.
* Do not try to have a garage sale. If you find things that have real value, put them on eBay and enjoy the proceeds or gift them to family.
* Take a young person with you each weekend. If you have a teen great, if not – take a teen you know who wants to earn some money. $20 dollars a day is $40 a weekend and add $10 to make it fifty as a bonus- if they do a great job. You need to have a younger back and someone to diffuse the emotions that come with a big move out of the family home.
* Your mother will want everything given to family. Family will not want hardly anything from her. So, prepare her. for If you need to just tell your niece to take the item and drop it off at the thrift store, do so. You don’t want your mom to think her life of things has no value.
* Get in mind where your mother is moving and only take the things she needs. No way is she going to rent a storage locker. That is not in the plan. She takes what she needs and will fit into the next part of her life, the rest is given, sold or dumped.
* Do not allow her to take your Dad’s tools or your Dad’s lawn mower, even if he loved it. She has to keep on plan. If she is insisting, then put it in a pile, of Think if Overs after a few weeks of sorting she will gladly go back to the pile and give it all away. Things just have to be processed through.
* No towels can go, no old sheets and blankets can go, no clothes from the ’80-’90’s are on the go pile. All of her clothes to take have to be re-washed or cleaned for the move. Buy new hangers for them. Go ahead and get the Huggable Hangers from HSN, the whole world loves those hangers and they allow for more clothes per foot of hanging space.
* Downsize her bed to a Queen or Double size and be prepared for a good mattress. Then when she gets to her new place, new towels and bed linens can be purchased so she feels all new.
* Take all of the family pictures and give the job of scanning them into digital format to a younger family member and pay them for the process. What you can then do is put her favorites in a couple of the new pictures frames that load up with digital pictures and have a rotating feature so she can view them all! All the rest get saved on drives that the family can enjoy, too!
* Do not take dishes that are old and pans that she got for her wedding. There are newer things that she can buy that will fit a smaller home or apartment. Just because it still works, does not mean she keeps it. She needs to have a fresh start.
* All the tools for the garden should be given to a garden club or local pea patch. All the workshop tools should go to a charity. All the old computers can be donated without the hard drives.
* Have her pick out about six pieces of art work for the walls of her new place and the rest goes to he sorting piles. Have her pick out one box of books that she loves, the rest goes to the sorting pile. Have her decide if she really wants to do the hobby she always wanted, has she done anything on the hobby since she retired? If not…off it goes to the sorting pile.
* The quicker you sort and go through the house the easier it is for her. Start with the rooms she does not use often, then come down to the last four, living, kitchen, bedroom and bath. Those stay to the end, they will be the hardest ones for her.
* Keep telling her how well she is doing. With every thing she puts in the sorting pile, say – “Yeah, good job mom!” and mean it. This move is the hardest thing she will have done in ages. Do not push her over items. They just go into the “Wait and see”
* Get an air cleaner, sorting can cause lots of dust. Save the paperwork and office stuff till the end. She only needs tax info for a few years depending on her situation. Ask her CPA for a time frame for keeping her files.
* When she gets a new place in her mind, the furniture and other things she wants to take will be so much easier. Get her a picture of where she is going. Start to look and get on the waiting list in the retirement center, apartments, village or center.
* Take only a couple of coats. Raincoat, shopping coat, winter coat. Take only shoes that will fit her “now” lifestyle. Take only purses she uses and jewelry she wears. All the rest are gifted to the family members.
* Bank boxes need to be sorted and closed if there is nothing important in them, or relocated closer to you or her new home.
* Have her gift her old TVs and buy a new flat screen one to fit her new home. Records, Cd’s and anything else in that vein should be given away unless she really uses them. You can buy her a small MP3 player and put her favorite tunes on the player for her to have and enjoy and the actual original can be given away.
* Get her a laptop and a small printer and have her get used to using the Internet and simple tasks online. So she can enjoy time on her own, looking up recipes and keeping in touch with family. Keep her in the NOW not in the past.
* Her garden furniture can be placed in the driveway with FREE signs on it and the neighbors will enjoy using them. The plants she enjoys can be gifted to families for their yards with little notes of where to plant them and where she got them.
* Have her write notes on family pieces like jewelry, art, object of art and so on, telling a story of where it came from and when so they can enjoy the history of the family as well as the object.
* Keep a small recorder with you and while she goes through things, she can tell you about their history and you can just record the conversation. This is a good way for her to work out her pain of leaving years of living behind her.
* Mentally moving is hard and you need to encourage her to keep going, keep her eye on the goal of a smaller home all clean with new things and her favorite older things all happy together. Encourage her to move closer to you so you can care for her in the years to come. Give her memories of the move by taking pics on your cell phone and sending them to your family. She will get a kick out of the whole adventure.
NO moving is not fun. NO she is not going to be a nice person to be around. YES, you can do this if you take it easy, stick to it like a job over a period of a couple of months or less and then be strong. Your upbeat personality will make the move so much easier for your mom. When in doubt just laugh. Laughing and teasing will get you farther than arguments. So smile and get this done. New changes are always for the best…old times were great but today is the important day. She gets to spend lots of days with her daughter in the process and that will be her best gift from the move.
Thank you for giving your mom your love and time. Even if you do not give it with the biggest open heart. You are still giving it. Tell your family, this too will past. Get in the car and go for it girl!
Please do stop by my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
and review all the other tips I have there. Remember if your mother needs special care I have a FREE Senior Care Placement Service that will review the situation and find a place where she can be cared for with kindness. PS just finished my Care Givers Workbook 101…it is a great review to help you will the steps of care in the future with your mom!