Aging Well


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Downsizing: What to Save for Your Adult Children

Downsizing is a time to re-evaluate and decide what things you enjoy the most.

Whatever your motivations for downsizing may be, it can be an overwhelming task to figure out what you are going to do with all your stuff and where to start.

One useful place to start the process of downsizing is with your adult children’s belongings. If you are like most parents, chances are you still are storing your adult children’s belongings in your attic, long after they have moved out and have a home of their own. One solution is to send their belongings to them or tell them to claim the items by a certain deadline.

Another aspect of downsizing is your belongings that you assume your adult children will want. What should you save for your adult children?

  • Start with asking your adult children what possessions they do want.
  • Use technology, such as FaceTime or Skype, to discuss this issue with adult children who live at a distance. Walk through your house and put labeled stickers on items they want.
  • Save special items for your kids, such as your first passport, military discharge papers, one printed photo of your wedding, a sentimental piece of jewelry, a photo of the first time you held them, dog tags worn by their childhood pets, a receipt with a date on it, and your favorite music on a platform your kids can use.
  • Capture their childhood highlights by keeping items such as college acceptance letters and report cards with teachers’ comments.

NDSU Extension has resources on its Aging Well website ( to help you. You also can contact your local county office of the Extension Service for more information.

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