Saying goodbye after 30-plus years is never an easy thing to do. And many find themselves torn by the thought of moving from the home where they raised their families.
“They’re daunted by the process, they don’t know where to start,” said Cassie Kangas, realtor with DFH Real Estate. “Especially here in Oak Bay, we have a lot of people who’ve lived in their houses long past the median [amount for most people]. There’s people who’ve lived in their home for 35, 40 or even 50 years.”
That’s why Kangas has put together a seminar to go over tips on where to start the downsizing process Thursday, Feb. 5 from 3-4 p.m. at Eileen’s Gourmet Coffee behind Athlone Court on Oak Bay Avenue. The Oak Bay realtor will be joined by the Downsizing Diva Cathy Haynes and Dana Stevulak, a mortgage specialist with TD Bank.
“When people get to that point where they’ve got a lifetime worth of stuff in the house, they don’t know where to start,” said Kangas. “It’s about helping them take that first step because it’s too overwhelming to think about doing it all at once.”
Haynes said the first step for her is to ask the person about the place they’re thinking of moving to, the square footage and number of bedrooms.
“It’s easier if they know, even roughly, what they’re moving into,” she said. “Then we can do a floor plan and ask ‘what’s your favourite pieces of furniture, what would you like to bring with you?’ And then from there we’ll deal with what’s not going to fit.”
Haynes said over time people can build attachments to their belongings, and those attachments can complicate a move.
“I think it’s really hard for people to get past. There’s two things, one is the sentimental value, and the other is they feel something is a waste if they don’t keep it.”
Haynes said she will first see what items can be sold, and those that aren’t sold will be offered to a number of charitable groups she works with.
“It makes it much easier when people know their stuff is going somewhere where they know it’s going to be used.”
One of the suggestions Haynes makes is to take photographs out of frames and put them in albums instead to reduce the amount of space being used.
“We have to continually look at creative ways to get things into smaller packets.”
Kangas will also go over the process of listing your home and finding a new home that better suits your needs.
“A lot of these people haven’t bought or sold real estate in a long time and the process is completely different. So they don’t even know where to start.”
She said the process can be a stressful one and advises people to start thinking about downsizing long before it becomes a necessity.
“They need a lot of time. People realize they can’t do the stairs any more or the yard is too much. But that process can be a long time,” said Kangas. “These people might need to think about it for six months or a year. It’s all about doing it at a pace a person can handle and not pushing them through the process.”
Asked if there was one piece of advice she could give to give people, Haynes says “I would say start small and start now. Because people take a long time to accumulate all of their stuff and it sneaks into your house one by one, so just start small.”
One place to start would be the Feb. 5 workshop. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP as space is limited. You can contact Kangas at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-589-0368.