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posted: 3/28/2014 1:58 PM


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Colette Claxton

Area senior adults learned to "rightsize" their lives during an educational seminar led by Tammy Bilek, a downsizing expert from Honoring Aging, a Senior Move Management Company, and hosted by Windsor Park, a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities.

"Our personal belongings hold sentimental value. When it's time to downsize -- whether it's because we're moving to a smaller home or simply needing to de-clutter -- many people find the task quite daunting," says Karen Larson, executive director at Windsor Park. "During her seminar 'Rightsizing 101,' Tammy explained our emotional ties and suggested ways to work through them so we can keep the memories while ridding ourselves of all the extra stuff."

During the seminar Bilek explored what she calls "rightsizing," which includes sorting, downsizing, packing, moving and settling into a new location. "We use 20 percent of our belongings 80 percent of the time," she explains. "Yet we have a hard letting go of the 80 percent we don't use."

Bilek offered tips for working through the downsizing process, from making wish lists to developing a downsizing plan we can implement over time. She suggested following the OHIO rule of thumb: Only Handle It Once.

As for the all-too-familiar cluttered closet, she offered these simple steps for de-cluttering:

• Keep a donation bag nearby -- If you try on something and it no longer fits, put it in the bag. When the bag is full you are more likely to take it to a donation site or say "yes" when a charity calls for a donation.

• Reverse your hangers -- At the beginning of the season reverse your hangers in your closet. Each time you wear an item replace the hanger in the correct position. At the end of the season toss the items on the reverse hangers into a donation bag.

• All the extras -- Sort through papers, photos and accessories. Label the items and give them a home. If you can't find a home, then donate the items, toss them or sell them at a garage sale or estate sale. Shred paper documents.

Kathy Kiran, a professional appraiser from Recollections, Ltd. Estate Liquidation Services, appraised antique and collectable items for those in attendance.

On Thursday, April 10 at 11 a.m., Windsor Park will host Moving Station Vice President Pati Saulig, who will discuss "How to Sell Your Home Successfully." To RSVP for this event or receive additional information about Windsor Park, please call 877--836-5664 or visit

About Windsor Park
Windsor Park, a faith-based, nationally accredited, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, is located at 124 Windsor Park Dr., Carol Stream, Ill. It is administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit senior services providers. Covenant Retirement Communities serves 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities nationwide and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on Windsor Park, call 877--836-5664 or visit