Downsizing Tips For Seniors
When you begin to consider downsizing, a multitude of questions will arise including at what age should seniors downsize? It’s easy to get overwhelmed even thinking about it.
We get it. Downsizing is a word that, in the context of moving into a new home or new chapter of your life, can seem pretty scary. Most people don’t get feelings of excitement or joy when they start decluttering and downsizing and feel like they have to choose which items stay or go. However, taking small steps toward the ultimate goal of living with fewer belongings makes downsizing more manageable.
Your new home
Have you picked out where you or your loved one will be moving? If yes – then great! This will help in many ways. If you have not narrowed down your next residence, it can be much easier to start the downsizing process to make a commitment to a new home first. Moving to a smaller house and decluttering a lifetime of belongings can be overwhelming. Knowing the details of your new home will help eliminate the fear of the unknown. For example, if you are moving somewhere that performs exterior maintenance for you, you won’t need your lawn mower or clippers anymore. Or perhaps you find out that your apartment comes with a parking garage, so you may want to hold off on selling your car. Having as much information as possible before you begin downsizing will make it clear how much downsizing is actually necessary.
DOWNSIZING CHECKLIST FOR SENIORS
When a new home is decided on, you’ll want to start off the downsizing journey with a little planning. Try listing off each room of your home first, then go to each of those rooms and start making a list of items you see that you can either sell or give away. A great downsizing guide can be found at MYMOVE.
HOW DO YOU DECLUTTER BEFORE DOWNSIZING?
Identify what items are simply clutter. Consider what you use on a regular basis, not which item is the newest or best. Think about each item’s meaning to you. What is the sentimental value to it? Does it have a significant financial value?
Once you have done this for each room, print off multiple copies of the lists to give to anyone who may be helping with the process. If you are a friend or family member helping out, being present for moral support and redirecting focus during the list-making process can eliminate a potentially stressful experience.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF FURNITURE AFTER DOWNSIZING?
Furniture can be trickier to get rid of because many donation centers may not take large items. Call to check around and let your neighborhood know you are selling or giving away furniture. Online resellers such as eBay and Craigslist can be viable options when you have the time to organize posts and handle the selling and delivery or shipping. If your furniture has high value, consider getting it appraised by an auction house or hold a garage or estate sale. Your children, grandchildren and other relatives are your best bet for finding a new address for your furniture and they may appreciate owning it more than you’ll ever know.
PICK, PACK AND GO
The day you decide to downsize your home for a new retirement lifestyle and start picking and packing up items to sell, to pass on to family members or to donate, may be a day filled with emotion. It also will probably take longer than a day. So just take on one room at a time. If time is limited, you can speed up the process by providing the lists for other rooms to helpers. It is inevitable that you or a loved one will have second thoughts about giving away certain items—and that’s okay. Take a moment to consider why this item was put on the list in the first place. Maybe that item is already provided at your new residence, or you have duplicates of it.
Sorting a lifetime of belongings and memories can feel overpowering. But, giving yourself time to find a new home, create a plan with lists and taking on one room at a time will have you reaching your downsizing goals in no time! If you find yourself short on time, don’t forget to call on friends and family members or a professional downsizing crew to help out.
Still need to convince your loved one or parent to move? Check out these ideas for talking to your parents about senior living.