Downsizing Hurdles -Doing it together

Last month we looked at how it can be difficult to go through the downsizing process alone. However, sometimes it can be just as difficult to do it with someone else. Often one person may be eager to jump in and tackle the project while another is hesitant to join in or even acknowledge the process is necessary. Even if you are all on the same page to start with, differences will arise.

Everyone is unique and brings with them a variety of opinions, needs, and capabilities.

  • Differences in opinion- It might be disagreement between partners or between parents and their adult children. It could be over big issues or little items. No matter what the disagreement, it is important to recognize that there will be differences and to look for common ground or be willing to make compromises. Perhaps one wants to hold on to many of their things and the other is happy to let go of everything. Find an agreement by keeping the most cherished treasures and letting the rest go. Maybe one participant thinks they should make everything perfect where another may be happy with “good enough”. Talk about where the extra effort really adds value, so that your work will pay off in the final result.
  • Differences in needs- Just like we have different perspectives on things we also have different needs. These needs might be physical or emotional. When downsizing it is important to recognize that everyone involved in the process will bring their own needs and their view of the other person’s needs. A wife may not want to live in a smaller space because it would limit her love of crafting. A husband may need to live in a home without stairs so he can get around easily. An adult child may think their parent needs to have less to be responsible for, but also may be feeling that they can’t be there often to help their parent out. Take time to step back and recognize each other’s needs and to work through differences in perception so the needs can be met.
  • Differences in capabilities- Each person involved has their own skill set and can best help in their own way. There are so many tasks to do during the downsizing process. There can be physical, logistics, communications, and many more jobs to do. Leverage each person’s strengths so they can confidently take on that role as well as enjoy how they are contributing. A spouse might be able to transport items to consignment or donation, a close friend may help negotiate the sale of a home, a family member could make travel arrangements, and an adult child can help purchase items needed for their new home.

Talk about your thoughts, downsizing desires, and strengths. Acting as a team will help you make it easy to downsize together.

© 2021 Beth Giles

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