Joan’s Journey: Hoarding, Downsizing and Right Sizing, Oh My!

Hello Joan’s Journey readers.

I have a secret to confess. I am fascinated by the “hoarding” shows on cable television. Extreme piles of stuff clutter rooms, garages and lawns. I watch, and I tentatively turn my head and view my family room — am I a bit of a hoarder as well?

My condo is clean and neat to observe. My mother taught me to always have my home ready for an unexpected presidential visit — which is exactly what happened on a “Golden Girls” television series episode in the 1980s.

My expectations are not as grandiose as my beloved Mom’s. I simply hope my realtor will surprise me with a visit and buyer for my condo. Selling my condo and moving to senior housing is very strong motivation for me not to outwardly hoard.

On the other hand, do closets count as hoarding when they are filled with old clothes that no longer fit, shoes with high heels I’m unable to wear, and out-of-style purses I no longer like? What about drawers bulging with mementos and souvenirs from lovely occasions of long ago? Is this hoarding? Can I downsize and discard this stuff?

In various closets throughout my house, I have boxes of papers — paid bill receipts, tax preparation papers, my children’s A+ test papers from elementary through high school. I am attached to these memories. I no longer need the papers, but will I be able to throw them away?

Susan Amos, owner of Changing Keys, a senior housing move management firm, helps seniors reorganize in order to live in smaller quarters. Her term, which I love, is “Right Sizing.” Right sizing is exactly what I plan to do.

In the next Joan’s Journey, I will explore the ins and outs, and do’s and don’ts of hoarding, downsizing and right-sizing. I’ll research what the experts say and provide specific tips for successfully relocating to senior housing. Readers’ suggestions are welcome.

This entry was written by Joan London. You can read more about her and her search for senior housing by checking out her blog here.

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