Which type of downsizer are you?

Lesson 4: Free online downsizing course

People can be quick to pigeon hole each other.

Its one of my pet hates when people look at a friend or family members house and call someone a hoarder.

Hoarding is a very overused word and applies to people with a specific set of circumstances.

The rest of us are in the situation where perhaps we havent had the time to deal with accumulated items or perhaps there are health issues or time constraints that get in the way of keeping a clutter-free home.

While everyones situation is slightly different, I have noticed 5 main patterns when it comes to downsizing.

Knowing which pattern you, or the family member youre helping fall into can be really helpful.

Passive decline

Most of our clients would fall into this category. A house where there is a passive decline situation, may or may not look like a hoarder’s house and can be mis-labeled as such.

I find that people who are living in a passive decline situation used to keep a very tidy house until their health went downhill or until they moved to a smaller house or had another kind of life change.

Clients who have accumulated items that they need to sort through in a passive decline situation may take a little bit to warm up to decluttering but can be quite decisive once the process is underway. Oftentimes we are acting mainly as a second pair of hands to get through the cupboards and bookshelves which have become over filled over the years.

Genuine hoarding

Whilst a genuine hoarding situation is not the most common situation that we come across, it will exist in every neighbourhood.

The common belief held about people with hoarding behaviours is that there has generally been a traumatic incident which is causing the hoarding behaviour.

Though people can beat themselves up, and be harshly judged by friends and family, it is certainly not a moral issue.

Hoarding is defined as the continued acquiring of too many items to comfortably store in the home and a pronounced reluctance to let go of those items.

People with hoarding behaviours can absolutely benefit from an expert in the field, such as a psychologist, and working in conjunction with a professional organiser to make progress within their home.

Hoarding Home Solutions runs excellent training for working with people with hoarding behaviours, and several of our organisers have completed this training.

“Straight downsizers”

Whilst everybodys situation is complex in its own way, I have come to use the term straight downsizer to refer to somebody who is simply moving from a larger home to a smaller home..

A straight downsizer may still have a tricky situation that theyre navigating such as care for their spouse or grief. However, I guess this category of people includes people who have a very well kept home where they have sorted through items over the years in the lead up to their downsizing project and there are minimal home organising issues.

Often a straight downsizing project is more straightforward from our perspective, not necessarily from the homeowners perspective. The people involved might not have moved in quite a long time and be quite overwhelmed. They might not be up to date on the different services required and the different steps to take for the relocation process and for rehoming different categories of items in the home, so may appreciate assistance with the different moving parts.

Getting comfortable in a forever home

Often the goal of people who contact us is to set their home up for their retirement years so they can age in place and be comfortable while doing so.

In this situation, its really useful to look at the function you want each room to have and set the home up for your current hobbies, interests and the way you want to live.

Creating a floor plan, incorporatingInterior design elements and/or purchase of key furniture can also be really useful tools to help you feel as though youre making a fresh start.

A foot in both camps

Some of the people we work with dont want to move to a retirement village or other alternative accommodation yet but want to downsize ahead of time so that theyre prepared for whatever eventuality comes. Often times they know that they have excess items which they know they wont need for the next stage in their life but havent had the time capacity or wherewithal to deal with those items.

Ultimately, if youre in this category, your home may be set up more or less as you would like it, you just dont want the additional stress of thinking about what to do with the surplus items.In this case, as with many of the above scenarios, downsizing can give great peace of mind.

Ultimately, it comes back down to what the goal is for the downsize. People can fit across more than one of these categories and it is not uncommon that two members of a couple will fit across different categories, but it can be really useful to identify this.

And to try to, as much as is practically possible, meet the needs of the parties involved.

If you can work back from your primary goals for downsizing, you can save yourself a lot of stress during the downsizing process.

Next lesson: Getting help to downsize

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