The expression “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be true when people come together to accomplish a goal or make a decision. When you are in the process of planning your downsizing, it's important to have people around you who you trust to help you make the right decision, including family and friends. However, a group that is too large, or who all have different ideas can be a challenge and can hinder your efforts. So, what's the best way to involve your family and friends in your downsizing?
- Decide if you need input. Many people are comfortable and confident making decisions about the sale of their real estate and organizing their possessions. If you don't need people helping with your decisions you can make that clear from the outset. That doesn't mean shutting out your family or friends. They can be involved in other ways than making decisions, including packing, choosing a community between the few you have narrowed it down to, or the actual move.
- Meet face-to-face, and do it earlier, rather than later. Sometimes your family is spread out all over the country or the world. When you get a chance to gather them together, during a holiday for example, start a conversation about downsizing. Even if you are not planning to move for years, take the opportunity when it comes. This way, when you do make the decision to downsize, your family will already have an idea of how each other feels about the process.
- When you have your conversation, focus on what is important in your life. Your family may resist change, and be more attached to some of your possessions than you are! Have that conversation and help them understand what you want. Find out what is important to them, but make sure they realize what it important to you. Disclose everything, and encourage your family to disclose also.
Downsizing can be an emotionally difficult time for you, but also for your family. Start planning early, and bring into your plans reliable people who will support you and your decisions.