The way to keep the process moving is to tackle things a little bit at a time—spending maybe a half hour on a drawer, then allowing yourself some kind reward.
Marna Jones of Centennial is a self-confessed ‘saver’—still has much of the stuff from 31 years in her and her husband’s house, plus stuff from their parents’ homes after they passed, as well as from other departed relations. Oprah Winfrey began publishing ‘O’ Magazine in 2000, and up until a few months ago, Jones had every issue of it.
Now those mags are in recycling; and the storage room of Marna and Dave Jones’ walkout ranch has gone from stacked high with boxes to a very final few, as the couple readies a downsize move, with the help of their Realtors, Jen Carroll and other senior-move specialists at The Steller Group.
She and Dave met Carroll when the couple attended Steller’s seminar on downsizing (one of those is coming up Sept. 14). Carroll got involved in helping Marna prepare for an eventual move, as Marna dove into some reading material—The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Stockholm writer Margareta Magnusson; and Downsizing the Family Home by Denver Post writer Marni Jameson.
The Joneses are still in their younger seventies—and their Centennial house already provided single-level living. But the pandemic served to further focus the couple on making a move.
“Covid has crystalized what our priorities are,” Jones says. Those include getting much closer to kids and grandkids that long ago flew the coop to Southern California.
Carroll says that one of many advantages of starting early on that downsizing process is to allow yourself time to find the treasures that are buried among the detritus—in Jones’ case, medals from her dad’s World War II service; poetry written by her mother; and a 1920s naturalization certificate that her grandfather had signed. A ballet dress from her early school years has now been framed and is coming along on the move.
“It’s a bittersweet experience—you have to let yourself grieve,” Jones says about parting with it all. The way to keep the process moving, she adds, is to tackle things a little bit at a time—spending maybe a half hour on a drawer, then allowing yourself some kind of reward for success.
“How much do I love it, how much do I need it?” Jones asked, pulling from a box of her parents’ LPs Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers—usually assessed as his very best album. She and Dave, however, listen to the Beatles and no longer own a turntable.
Over the course of the project, Jones says she has found herself more willing to say goodbye to items that just didn’t make sense to keep. A 9-foot custom sofa that had been a centerpiece in her house growing up is on its way out; while she’s keeping a 2-foot bench that shows the same fabric.
Some items disappear easily—including a large collection of vases that Jones took along to work at DU’s Fisher Early Learning Center, where each of 33 teachers and aides received a vase. A neighbor was happy to take the snow blower (the pair are moving near Palm Springs).
Meanwhile, don’t expect the children to line up for your china, your Tupperware, even your silver, says husband Dave, who says he’s absolutely not a saver. “Your kids do not want your stuff,” he adds.
Steller’s Carroll offered frequent kudos to the couple as they plugged away on the project, and is now readying the home for market in early October—including having Steller’s in-house contractors do some minimal prep work, and staging it for sale—something Steller does for free.
Despite talk of the market running a little slower this summer, Carroll expects it to go rapidly. “Recent slowing in the market is more related to kids going back to school and end-of summer vacations, than any real shift,” Carroll adds.
Source: Mark Samuelson | Freelance writer, Sponsored content