Organizing your information – for others – “Downsizing” – Harris N. (Hershey) Rosen

Perhaps you’re lured to sell your home by watching the value of your home rise – and you’re seeing your neighbors sell for prices we haven’t seen since the early 2000’s, if at all. You told yourself that if this real estate boom ever happened again, you’d take advantage of it. Of course you’ve aged some during those years so downsizing might be even more desirable.

While my wife, Myrna, and I have done this, just thinking about it creates anxiety. A great way to deal with that anxiety is to use your principles of organization to make decisions.

It used to be you had to do a lot of work in your home to get the best price, and while this is always good to consider, today people are buying homes sight unseen, so you’ll need to be quick once you make that decision to put it on the market.

Consult a real estate agent about your next step. It might be to rent for awhile until the market levels out – because while you can sell at top dollar, you also will be buying at top dollar if you do so right away. Taking a breath and deciding if you even want to live in the same city – or if you might want to go from country mouse to city mouse, or vice versa, will help you avoid panic – and it even might be fun.

Myrna and I decided pretty quickly that we wanted another home, a smaller home, but to live in the same area of the city, because of family. The more difficult choices were identifying everything that had to move, establishing a pecking order for giveaways, and creating a timeline that met our needs.

You might even decide to go “modern” in your decor, and not “country” anymore. All those decisions can impact your organization that has to be done.

You will want to decide what you are going to use or sell or keep. The bigger decisions come when you decide to give away items. What goes to charity? Family? Which family members? And will that create conflicts? What will be tossed out and what might go to a homeless shelter or resale shop. The discovery you will make by having unrushed conversations will be intriguing and tell you a lot about the life you’ve lived where you’ve lived it and what might be in store ahead.

senior wife looking old photo while taking break from packing cardboard boxes moving out concept

Here are some tips:

If you are moving a piece of furniture rug, lamp, etc. and you are working with a designer you will want to document the size, color and style of the items. Make a list!

If you are giving items away to children and grandchildren, they’ll also want to know size and style – maybe a photo sent to them on your iPhone will help you get a quick thumbs up or thumbs down – then you can move on.

A word about family giving. When all is said and done, look at the lists of who gets what – will this cause family difficulties? Deal with this straight up before you are left with years of unspoken resentments.

You will reduce your moving costs by organizing how the mover loads the trucks – create lists for the various rooms – especially if you will be dropping off a piece at this house or that apartment on the way to your new home.

Decide if that old comfy chair can be lived without – or if you want to take it for now and maybe replace it later. The last thing you want is a home that doesn’t feel like your castle anymore. So don’t get caught up in the “too much change at once” debacle.

Moving can be chaotic. You can’t organize your way out of that. But preparing for it and living with your new digs will help you be more in control. The more you plan, the less stress.

Work on this for a set period of time at once – you can’t go all day because that, alone, will add to the stress and make you irritated. Big fights are to be avoided…time to take a break and have a cup of tea (or glass of wine) – or take a walk.

Don’t forget your plants! What tree can you take with you – or special grouping of hostas that you can take cuttings of – even wisteria and tulip bulbs can be scooped up for your new life and bring much comfort from the old.

Start with a room you use infrequently – like the attic or basement. Decisions are easier, believe me on this one.

Keep a list of “non-negotiables” – you each get a few. Maybe it’s that lamp – or chair! Decide how many of these you want to allow for each other – again, no fights – what you don’t part with today, you can part with any time you want. When you get in your new home that favorite old chair might look not so favorite anymore! And you’ll both laugh about it – when the time is right.

Organizing is simplifying. Comforting. Helpful. And will get you to your goal quicker and in a more comforting way. Downsizing is exciting and positive – make the process the same.

More here:


Harris “Hershey” Rosen, is the author of WHY? Because I Love You, a book that says it like it is – “What you need to know when I die”. His book details methods to organize your important personal and family information for those who are left behind.

A graduate of Harvard, Hershey Rosen has focused on controlling chaos since 1954. He was a Financial Control Officer in the U.S. Army, where he received a Letter of Commendation for improvement to its worldwide accounting system. Next, on to satisfying everyone’s sweet tooth, he ran a candy company for 40 years, developing a system for locating ANY item housed in five factories, covering 600,000 square feet.

Following “retirement,” Hershey went on to become a mediator and settled over 200 disputes for the state of Rhode Island and The Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. He was also asked to team-teach management courses at the University of Rhode Island, where he enthusiastically challenged the text book with real-life experiences, to the delight and edification of the students.

Always passionate about assisting others, Hershey has been a director or trustee of numerous boards and organizations. He has written Creating A Guide So Your Loved Ones Can Go On Living! to help others protect their spouses (and families) from the intense stress that will occur if one does not share financial information and knowledge critical to a functioning home. He then wrote My Family Record Book, expanding on the information in his first book, and finally, in 2020, WHY? Because I Love You was published.

Hershey, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, can now relax (ha!) with his beloved wife, Myrna, and enjoy visits with their combined five children and ten grandchildren.

“WHY? Because I Love You” – available here: