So, you’ve come to the place where it is time to help your parents downsize. They have already chosen their new home; now it is a matter of sorting through their possessions, packing up what they are taking with them, and getting them moved. As with any job, the right tools can make life a lot easier. One of your most important tools for downsizing is a tape measure. Why a tape measure? So you can help your parents figure out how to best use their floor space.
When you are looking to buy a house or rent apartment, the agent you work with will usually give you a floor plan that includes the dimensions of each room. That is not without reason. The diagram is intended to help you figure out whether or not the floor space is sufficient for your needs. For example, there would be no point in purchasing a house with inadequate bedroom space to handle kids. The same holds true when seniors are downsizing.
Measure for Yourself
When seniors downsize locally, they have an advantage in that they can actually go see the space they will be moving to. You can also take advantage of that by actually measuring for yourself. When you take your own measurements, you know for sure what your parents are getting into.
You may not have the luxury of measuring for yourself if your parents are relocating to a different city or state. Still make sure your agent provides an accurate floor plan though. As for your tape measure, you will also be using it to measure the dimensions of furniture and accessories like bookshelves and entertainment centers. With measurements in hand, the real fun begins.
Create a Model
We believe one of the best ways to conceptualize how floor space will be used is to actually create a model. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose; a simple graph paper layout and paper cutouts representing furniture will do fine. You just have to make sure everything is correctly measured to scale.
We have seen some of our clients have quite a time arranging their model furniture within the available space. Not only does this allow them to visualize what their new home will look like, it allows them to make the best use of limited space. This also helps them make decisions about what to keep and what to let go. If you are not into paper models, there is computer software that allows you to do the same thing. Take a look online.
A third option is to use masking tape to create the outline of the new space in your parents’ current garage or driveway. You can then use the actual furniture they want to keep in order to visualize the space. This is a lot more work, so not a lot of families do it this way. However, it is an option.
The enjoyment of modeling the new space will eventually give way to making the difficult decisions about what to do with possessions your parents have no room for. Unfortunately, it is part of downsizing. Always remember that downsizing is a very emotional experience for seniors who are very attached to their homes and their personal possessions. It may take a while for them to make the decisions that need to be made.
As you are preparing to help your parents downsize, remember that knowing the floor space of their new home will help them make the necessary decisions. So measure for yourself or make sure you get accurate drawings. You do not want to find out, on the other end of the move, that there is simply not enough room for everything.