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Downsizing: Things Don’t Always Go As Planned

Steve and Sara dreamed of spending their retirement at the beach and worked many years building a nest egg so they could. Once retired, they decided to stay in the family home a bit to nail down the perfect location for their beach retirement. Also, staying put would mean plenty of time to downsize a lifetime’s worth of possessions they knew wouldn’t fit into a smaller retirement home.

The couple had some very specific desires for their beach home: it had to be a short driving distance to the waves, large enough to host family and friends comfortably and near good medical facilities.  Sara and Steve enjoyed traveling to different beach towns compiling a detailed list of the pros and cons of each location.  After a year and a half of research, they chose a new construction community just outside of Rehobeth Beach.

The builders estimated Steve and Sara were roughly ten months out from their move-in date—lots of time to sell and clear out the family home. Then COVID hit.  All work on their new home stopped and the couple’s move was put on hold.

Steve and Sara again thought about downsizing their possessions but then Steve began to have mobility issues and a cane became necessary. Sara took over some of Steve’s normal tasks but it began to wear on her physically and emotionally. Going through their belongings and deciding what to keep, what to sell, what to give away, took the back burner as Sara and Steve’s beach home construction slowly resumed in fits and starts.

As their beach home finally neared completion, Sara and Steve put the family house on the market selling it in less than a day.  Now downsizing their possessions became a priority.  The family took a few items but that didn’t come close to emptying the house. Between work and other commitments, family was not going to be able to help with the sorting, packing, and actual move. Having been introduced to the Senior Move Manager concept in an Outlook by the Bay article, Steve and Sara decided to hire some help.

Once a local Senior Move Management company was brought in things fell into place. Sara and Steve got the physical and emotional backup they need to complete their move. The Senior Move Manager helped with sorting and packing, brought in a referred moving company, a house cleaning service, and scheduled an estate sale as well as a junk hauler to deal with the rest.

When Steve and Sara’s moving day arrived, the Senior Move Manager oversaw the loading at the family house and unloading at the new beach home.  Everything was put into place and packing materials removed.  Then Steve and Sara were called to “come home” and enjoy their new place!

In hindsight, Steve and Sara knew they should have addressed downsizing their possessions much sooner but they thought there’d be time. However, between the pandemic and Steve’s mobility issues, downsizing didn’t become a priority until it their house sold. Luckily. they were able to hire the help they needed to complete the move into their retirement beach home of their dreams.

AUTHOR:  The owner of Chesapeake Transitions, Marilyn Leek is a Certified Senior Move Manager® who has been providing support and guidance for Maryland seniors and their families for over a decade.