By Marilyn Leek

There seems to be a human tendency that when we have space, we fill it. Very often a garage, work shop, sewing room or other space that becomes “yours” stays filled until you’re forced to empty it. One of those times “your space” will have to be cleared is when downsizing from a larger home. 

Anne (not her real name) has a lovely home with a three-bay garage on two acres of property. For years, her husband Bob (not his real name) maintained the gardens and lawn. Along with all his gardening equipment, Bob also had a workshop in the garage filled with tools for various projects he enjoyed doing. 

Four years ago, Bob realized he needed help with the yard and hired a professional lawn service — a good decision considering his declining mobility. Bob knew he would no longer be needing his collection of tools and gardening equipment but never got around to doing anything with them. Not too long ago, Bob had a major health issue and, needing specialized care and support, moved into an assisted living facility. Wanting to be with her husband, Anne will soon be moving there as well. 

Now Anne was faced with downsizing their home. Looking at the garage, she thought “What am I going to do with all these tools and the gardening equipment?” A few items were gifted to friends and relatives but the garage was still fairly full. Anne also had to address her own overfilled space — her sewing room. She knew her three sewing machines, fabric collection and drawers of notions could not make the move with her. An avid quilter, Anne had amassed supplies over the years with every intention of making quilts for a number of special occasions. As for so many of us, time got away from her and most of the quilts were never made. 

Faced with a garage filled with Bob’s tools and equipment, her sewing supplies plus a house full of other items, Anne decided to hire a senior move manager to assist her. To help offset the cost of moving into the new facility which can be quite costly, everything not moving with Anne was sorted and organized and a professional estate sale was held. Much of Bob’s equipment and tools were sold as well as other household items, going to homes where they will be used. Anne’s sewing machines, fabric and notions were put into the hands of active quilters who were thrilled to find such wonderful supplies. Anne was pleased the quilts she had dreamed of making would finally be made! 

There’s no question that downsizing would have been easier if Bob had taken care of clearing out the garage after he “retired” from yardwork. And perhaps Anne should have recognized sooner she’d never get around to making all those quilts. Clearing out our “spaces” is not an easy task at any time of life much less when you or a loved one is in declining health. Anne found hiring professional help made downsizing and clearing her and her husband’s “spaces” much easier.

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.

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