Senior downsizing and getting rid of stuff

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter May 21 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

Senior downsizing, relocating and getting rid of stuff

As we age, we start to realize that we may need to make some changes in our lives such as possibly relocating, downsizing, and clearing out clutter and “stuff.”

Last week, the above message was delivered to me loud and clear.
My nephew Derek made a special trip from Dallas to California to meet with me for three hours and then he met with my sister for three hours in heart-to-heart discussions.


Derek’s dad, our brother Bill, passed away on January 19. Derek is the executor of Bill’s estate. And while there was a will and estate plan, Derek said there was so much stuff that executing the estate had been a nightmare.

Looking me directly in the eye, he emphatically stressed the need for older people (as in yours truly) to clear out “stuff” while they still can, and not leave the task for their kids or someone else to try to figure out who gets what, and what to keep and what to toss out.


In some cases, growing older necessitates starting over in one’s life. Today, we share situations that three of our women Champs are dealing with. It’s called “starting over.”


Joanne, Albuquerque, New Mexico On April 24, Joanne wrote, “No one needs extra stress right now. I’m waiting for an apartment on the west side of Albuquerque to become available. It’s HUD so it could take a while. 

“In the meantime, I will be staying with friends in Reno. I’ve rented for 40 years and have never been treated like this. We’ve had three property managers in 10 months. When they don’t want to be bothered by you, they block your phone number, etc…


“So, I’m putting my ‘stuff’ in a storage place on May 17 and plan to leave for Reno on the 18th. It’s a two-day drive from Albuquerque. I’ll stay in Reno to help my friend for a couple of months and when the next apartment is available, I’ll come back to ABQ and live on the west side of town. I swore I wasn’t ever moving again.”

 Jackie, Illinois “I’m selling my house, the home in Illinois that Randy provided for me in his will, to move back to Georgia to be near my children. I’m starting over.


“Once I get settled or after I do some traveling, I’ll see if God has someone once again for me as I had with Randy, and like the Italian love story from last week’s eNewsletter.


“I’ve been told it’s a good real estate seller’s market now and I have no reason to be here anymore. I’ll take the leap to put it on the market on May 24. I hope once everything is over I can visit my sister and we came come to another one of your Meet and Greets at your former deli, Tutor and Spunky’s in Dana Point, as we did in May 2019.

“I’m sure you will be giving us an update from last week’s eNewsletter on Annalisa and Carmen. The ‘Where Do I Begin?’ song by Andy Williams took me back to the 1970s.”

Susan, Virginia, 

“I hope the meeting between Annalisa and Carmen will lead to something. I am lonely too, been alone for a very long time, was okay with it for a while, but now feeling it much more. I’m getting ready to move and that in its self is very stressful. Downsizing. ‘Where do I begin?’


“I keep shredding paper and there is a lot of it. I got rid of 11 pounds of paper today and about eight pounds last week.


“I don’t have much big furniture, so that is a plus. I once had a big house and moving from that place where my kids grew up was hard. I moved in with my daughter for a while and that was fun. I then moved in with my son, before he was married, and then I moved to an apartment, and now, moving again!


“When my ex-husband passed away eight years ago, he left nothing in order! My daughter handled the estate. It was very hard on her to sort everything out! 

“I have to move again because the rent where I am now living keeps going up, so I’m moving to a less expensive place–an over 62 community. 

“It has been a long journey for me divorcing in my 60’s and the things I went through. I could write a book on divorcing later in a woman’s life. There was nothing out there at that time to help women and I still don’t think there is now! 

“A good divorce lawyer is worth his or her weight in gold. I didn’t have one to protect me, and I didn’t have the money to continue fighting the ex. I also was just getting out of treatment for breast cancer, but, I did walk away with something: my health. 

“I am 79 and wishing that I was younger. Having to make a change again at his late date is not fun.”


Tom’s comment: Relocating, downsizing, and/or getting rid of “stuff” can be a pain in the rear, I understand that. But, it also can be a positive new beginning. It’s something that nearly all Champs need to get busy on, especially getting rid of “stuff.” Greta and I know we need to get that done.


And the result of relocating can be rewarding. A new environment will mean new challenges of learning the local area. One will meet new people, make new friends, and encounter new adventures. It’s a chance to start over, to stimulate one’s brain and muscles. It could lengthen and enrich a person’s life.


Good luck to the above three Champs. Please let us know how it’s working out for you.

Author: tpblake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published four books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at TravelAfter55.com.

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