Since I entered this world 60+ years ago, my parents have moved a total of four times. At ages 97 and 95, they’re working on move #5.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average person (whatever that means) moves 11.7 times in their lifetime. With our pending relocation from the house to the condo, it will be #12 for me, not including college years. While moving is never easy, it seems to increase in difficulty over time, mostly due to the vast quantities of stuff that we accumulate and become attached to along the way. I vividly recall uttering the words, “I’m never moving again!” after we settled into our current house 14 years ago. But as circumstances change, so do the plans.
After 23 years in their current home, Mom and Dad are moving to a senior living community and downsizing to a cottage that is roughly half the size of the space they have now. My three siblings (Ken, Ron and Janice) and I are 100% supportive of their decision, and everyone is pitching in to help.
We’re in the sorting and packing phase, and OMG! It’s way more of a challenge than I think any of us could have imagined. The sibling team (including Bill) is doing most of the physical work, which is a brutal reminder that we’re not as young and resilient as we would like to believe.
The tougher task, however, is deciding what goes to the new house and what gets left behind. And if it’s not going, what do we do with it – sell, donate or toss? Mom and Dad are firmly in charge of that piece, which is both time-consuming and, I believe, mentally and emotionally taxing. Like many of us, they are reluctant to part with their many family heirlooms and other keepsakes, a vast array of objects they have received as gifts over the years, and household items they rarely use but want to hang onto . . . just in case. Nonetheless, we are taking it one step at a time and making good progress.
Their timeframe for completing the move to the new house is no later than the end of November. Between now and then, my primary focus will be on helping them make a smooth transition.
I realize that many of my fellow baby boomers have been down this path already with their parents or other relatives. Feel free to share your experience and words of wisdom!
Such a challenging time for all of you, and what a blessing that you are all in agreement on making this change. We found it was much easier for my mom to let go of an item when she felt it was going to someone who really needed it, and the same is true for me. We’ve found an organization locally that takes donations of household items to help victims of domestic abuse and kids aging out of the foster system as they establish new homes. Perhaps something like that would resonate with your parents?
Hi Rhonnie! Thanks for your suggestion. You are correct about wanting them wanting to find a home for their “good” stuff before they are willing to part with it.