Dont Toss My Memories in the Trash

A book review by Sunrise Senior Living

Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash - By Vickie Dellaquila

Even in the most loving and well adjusted of families, there are conversations that almost certainly lead to bruised emotions and frayed tempers. The first is when adult children inquire about their parents' finances. The second is when they ask parents to give up their car keys. And the third is when they suggest that they move from a long-time home to a senior living community.

Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move

In Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash, Vickie Dellaquila takes on the third topic, offering a sympathetic perspective on the emotions that divide adult children and their parents. At the same time, she offers specific advice, drawn from her years of experience as a professional organizer and senior move manager, to help parents and children come together to make a timely and successful transition to senior living possible with a minimum of fireworks.

Useful Advice at Every Stage of the Process

Using the examples of people she's helped over the years, Dellaquila takes the reader through the issues that must be addressed in moving to a senior living community.

She covers the initial decision and the emotions that can make that decision so hard to make, the seemingly overwhelming task of sorting through cherished possessions, and planning required for a successful move Along the way, she offers insights and helpful advice. For instance, Dellaquila stresses how important it is to give seniors the time to get used to the idea of a move.

She cautions adult children to introduce the idea of relocating gradually and give the idea some time to simmer.

On a practical note and there are plenty in the book, she urges seniors and their children to accept the first offer when holding a garage sale. Remember, she reminds the reader, the goal here is to downsize quickly and simply, not to make a great deal of money.

Essential Reading for Seniors as Well as Their Children

Dellaquila's title-Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash--highlights one of the central themes of the book. Where an adult child might see clutter, seniors see a lifetime of memories. While these memories cannot all be physically transported to a new and smaller apartment in a senior living community, honoring them and recognizing their significance is all that is sometimes necessary to help seniors let them go.

In fact, one of the strengths of this book is Dellaquila's even-handed perspective. She presents the points of view of seniors and children with equal clarity and fairness. At the same time, she holds seniors and their adult children to the high standard of behavior needed to make the transition with a minimum of conflict.

She insists that adult children who are urging their parents to downsize should do their part by removing the boxes they've been storing in their parents' basement. At the same time, she urges seniors to think twice about imposing possessions on their children when they might not value them.

In Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash, Dellaquila doesn't pretend to offer any guarantees. But by bringing into the open the legitimate anxiety that seniors face and offering a series of strategies that seniors and adult children alike can apply to deal with them, she increases the chances of a happy ending-or as she would prefer to say, a happy beginning in a new home.

Vickie Dellaquila is the president of Organization Rules, which provides residential organizing, senior downsizing, and relocation services. For more information, visit