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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Bell

Penny Wise but Pound Foolish?

I have written in previous blog posts about recognizing differences in perspectives.  It is not uncommon for an older adult to have children who simply do not share the same tastes and values as they do or, equally problematic, they rarely seem to agree with each other.  I sometimes share that if someone is facing a move to smaller space and has three children, one will want to immediately call a dumpster.  Another child will want to keep absolutely everything in spite of the fact that there are space limitations and the third one will just want Mom and/or Dad to be happy but not want to risk incurring the wrath of the others.   Don’t get me wrong - most of the families who I work with genuinely want the best for Mom and/or Dad.  They just can’t seem to agree on what that “best” might look like.  These “children” are often in their fifties or sixties, and they may be looking at downsizing themselves in the not-too-distant future… .

I have also worked with older adults who seem to feel perpetually conflicted about the hundreds of decisions facing them.  Should they keep dessert plates because they once belonged to their Great Aunt Mary? Or should they bring pressure on another of the family members to temporarily store these things until they come back into fashion?  After all Mary paid good money for them and the grandchildren might want them someday… .   Or should they keep a couple of the ones that make them smile and allow someone else to enjoy the rest of them?

What to take?  What to sell?  What to give away?  What to do with what’s left over?  These are the questions that perplex many an older client and it can help to have someone who is sensitive and objective to guide them through the process.  Oh and have I mentioned that the process has changed?

The world of collectables, donations, sales and liquidations has shifted a lot over the last few years. What was done five or ten years ago when Grandma passed away is not going to be as efficient in the current market climate.  Do-it-yourselfers may find themselves missing opportunities and paying more in time and fees because they just aren’t familiar with their current options.  Sometimes these well-intended individuals go to great lengths to save money but instead spend more than what they were trying to save.  In other words they get in their own way. …

And that of course brings me to the topic of this blog post.  Are you and/or your family members being penny wise but pound foolish?  These days in the GTA, it is quite likely that your most valuable asset is your real estate.  Are you focused less on the house or condo involved and more on circular ruminations over contents and their perceived value?  Unless you or your aging parents possess very rare art and/or collectables, the “brown” furniture is not going to generate much of a return.  Neither are the shelves of Time Life books or the embossed china sets.  The silver plate is also not going to fetch much, if anything, but the good news is that the sterling has a market today even if it is likely to be melted down… . Not all of this news is bad however – it just requires a strategic overview of the specific project at hand and knowledge of the most practical ways of approaching it in today’s market.

There are cost effective and environmentally preferable methods to deal with houses chock full of these types of items and, they do not always involve calling a dumpster, holding a garage sale, posting on Kijiji, or making several trips to consignment shops.  They also do not involve calling in folks who will likely “cherry pick” a few of the items and leave the rest for donation or disposal. Each situation is unique and securing the services of a savvy, knowledgeable and practical Senior Move Manager cannot only save you money in the long run, it can generate some positive, if not always huge, returns for the items that none of the family wants to own or store.   You will also be able to provide “vacant possession” on closing without devoting weeks and weeks of sweat labour to a project that simply is not a viable use of your time and energy.

A knowledgeable Senior Move Manager can help you and your family members to successfully navigate all of these challenges and this one also happens to have a background in mental health support, crisis intervention and dispute resolution.   Believe me when I share that these skills come in handy even when family members get along… .

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