This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Residential relocation in later life is almost always a downsizing, with many possessions to be divested in a short period of time. This article examines older movers’ capacities for selling things, and ways that selling attenuates people's ties to those things, thus accomplishing the human dis-possession of the material convoy. In qualitative interviews in 79 households in the Midwestern United States, older adults reported their experience with possession sales associated with residential relocation. Among this group, three-quarters of the households downsized by selling some belongings. Informal sales seemed the least fraught of all strategies, estate sales had mixed reviews, and garage sales were recalled as laborious. Sellers’ efforts were eased by social relations and social networks as helpers and buyers came forward. As selling proceeded, sentiment about possessions waned as their materiality and economic value came to the fore, easing their detachment from the household. Possession selling is challenging because older adults are limited in the knowledge, skills, and efforts that they can apply to the recommodification of their belongings. Selling can nonetheless be encouraged as a divestment strategy as long as the frustrations and drawbacks are transparent, and the goal of ridding is kept in view.
Ekerdt, D. J., & Addington, A. (2015). Possession Divestment by Sales in Later Life. Journal of Aging Studies, 34, 21–28. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2015.03.006
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