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Nest feeling too big? Consider sharing

Empty nesters consider sharing houses

Once they become empty-nesters, many homeowners get an urge to sell the family home and move to a smaller abode. While downsizing is definitely an option, Portland-based nonprofit Let’s Share Housing encourages people to consider the concept of shared housing.

Zoe Morrison, co-founder of Let’s Share Housing, recently presented a program on downsizing to an audience at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. With her were downsizing expert Jane Green, owner of A Clear Place; and organizational expert Mark Nedleman, who owns the Portland-based business Graceful Space. Morrison said that people are faced with the need to downsize for a variety of reasons; house expenses are financially strapping them, they need the support of others to help with household chores and upkeep and/or they want someone around for security.

“Your adult kids move away, and you are left with a big house with two to four bedrooms you aren’t using,” Morrison said. “It’s nice to have others around. You can split the responsibilities. All of a sudden you aren’t the only one who can take out the garbage. You can share duties and expenses.”

Through Let’s Share Housing, people interested in sharing a home can create an account and enter information about their lifestyle and preferences. Let’s Share Housing connects them with possible matches, hosting events to introduce people to each other so they can get to know each other and gain a sense of whether or not they would be successful in sharing housing.

Downsizing expert Jane Green said that getting to that point isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Before you can share living space, you need to pare down your belongings.

“You have all this stuff, and what are you going to do with it?” Green asked. “If you learn nothing else this morning, remember this: You have to learn to let go. You have to let go of stuff before you can share. With less clutter, there is more focus on you. Nobody ever regrets letting things go.”

She urged people to clear out what was not needed now, rather than wait for a crisis to occur or leave it for your children to do.

Where to begin? Start with one room or cupboard or even just a drawer. Don’t start in the “scary room.” Leave that for after you’ve gained momentum from completing smaller projects.

“Accept help,” she said. “Stand in the center of the room and pivot. What you see should make you smile. You should love what you see, and if you don’t, then those items should go. Your goal is to lighten your life through lightening and brightening space. Take before and after pictures, so you can see what you have accomplished.”

Items can be categorized as such:

1 — Items you love and will keep

2 — Items you will re-gift. But make sure the recipient really wants it.

3 — Items to be sold or consigned

4 — Items to be donated

5 — Items to be recycled or trashed

Nedleman has made it his mission to provide organizational and other support services to enhance the quality of clients’ lives through his business. Nedleman helps clients clear their homes to create open space that is move-in ready.

“What do you do with all the stuff you don’t want and need? Nedleman asked. “There is a home for it somewhere — recycle. To me, trash is a four-letter word.”

Everything from electronics, appliances, paint, art supplies, packing supplies and just about everything else can be recycled. His method of sorting is to categorize items to be recycled, reused, repurposed, redirected or sold, donated or disposed of responsibly.

“By recycling, you get the stuff out of your space and you haven’t trashed the earth by doing so. There really is no reason to put stuff in the trash,” he said.

To view resources for recycling visit graceful-space.com. To learn more about downsizing, visit AClearPlace.org and to learn more about Let’s Share Housing visit letssharehousing.com.

By Barb Randall
Staff Reporter
503-636-1281 Ext 100
email: brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com
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