If you are the loved one of a senior who needs assistance with the downsizing of their apartment in the Greater Toronto Area, you're likely feeling overwhelmed; logistically, there are a lot of details to for the proper reappropriation of their belongings. Despite an apartment's smaller size, it can cost just as much and is certainly more complicated than downsizing a home.
Based on our wealth of experience, here's our advice for a smoother downsizing process that is as cost-efficient as possible.
Every building has its specific bylaws to respect. Because a downsize, or estate clearing, is very different than a simple one-day move-out they need to understand all the moving parts that will happen in the course of the downsize. The property manager will be able to inform you of your options, notify you of any fees that may apply, and will provide clarity as to what external services you'll need. Here are some questions to ask:
Are there any blackout days or restrictions for moving things out? Knowing this is essential to help you plan the downsizing process, and ensure you comply with all the rules to avoid any unexpected issues or expenses.
Will these rules be written down? Some buildings have very strict and clear policies, while others are a little more relaxed. Either way, get it in writing so you know what you're dealing with upfront and no one can go back on what was discussed. If you're unaware of the rules, you may end up being charged for breaking them.
Do you need to leave a damage deposit? If you need to leave a damage deposit for the elevator ask what they qualify as damage.
What's the process for booking the service elevator? The service elevator needs to be booked ahead of time and when doing a downsize it'll need to be used for several days at a time. Some buildings restrict the times or days that these elevators can be used, so it’s best to find out in advance.
The parking situation and access routes will differ for each building, so it's important to know what you're working with before you begin downsizing. Here are some things to consider:
Is there visitor parking, and does it need to be reserved? While most buildings offer visitor parking, it can be limited, and you may need to pay for parking for several days for all the service vehicles and the auction buyer's vehicles.
What are the best routes to take when driving in and out of the complex? Find out whether the building's front or back is best for driving access. You'll also need to ensure that you don't block the way for access to services such as garbage pickup, maintenance and repair services, or emergency vehicles.
Where is the best place to park large trucks or vans? You'll need to know where to park any large vehicles you use to move your parents' belongings. Some buildings have designated areas for this, while others require that you park on the street.
Once you've sorted through your loved one's belongings, you'll need to decide what to do with the items left. Here are some things to find out before getting started:
Does the apartment allow auction events? It's important to determine whether the building allows auction events and what the expectations are. Hosting an auction is a great way to make extra money while downsizing, but if it's not an option, you'll need to find another solution.
Can you leave out items for curb pickup? If you have items that need to be picked up, such as furniture or appliances, you'll need to make arrangements with the building. Some apartments have designated areas for this, while others do not allow pickups at all. The building's specific rules may affect how your items can be collected and your costs.
Waste collection in buildings can be quite complicated, so you need to know the expectations before you start. To get started, we recommend finding out the following:
Is there a limit on the amount of waste that can be collected onsite? When downsizing, there often is upwards of 45 bags of garbage and recycling, so it is important to know if there is a limit on how much you can dump onsite. It may cost you more if you exceed the limit and you may find yourself scrambling to pay for additional garbage removal services.
Can you use the building chute, or is there a designated waste bin? If using the building chute is an option, great! This will make disposal so much easier and affordable. Otherwise, you may need to make multiple trips to the common bin, drive it to a waste station and pay a fee or hire a service, which will add time and expense.
Are there any restrictions on what materials can be placed for collection? Some buildings may have a designated program for the disposal of materials such as batteries, alcohol, or toxic waste, and it's important to know if this is the case. If not, the City of Toronto has several Drop-Off Depot locations that will accept these items.
What about large items, is onsite dumping allowed? If your loved ones' apartment doesn't allow onsite dumping, you'll need to make other arrangements to dispose of larger items that could not be sold, or donated.
At Alivio Solution Downsizing, we understand that downsizing a home can be stressful and in all likelihood, it is not the only responsibility you're shouldering. As Downsizing experts in Toronto, we have experience with homes and apartments alike. We work hard to ensure the process is as smooth as possible by taking care of all parts of your downsize from sorting and running your auction to donation, and disposal. We coordinate all the resources you need for a smooth and cost-efficient transition. If you're looking for more information on our services or want to get started with a free consultation, don't hesitate to contact us today.