As you move on to the next phase of living and enter retirement, you're likely to make changes in your lifestyle other than working less. This might mean cutting back...
Most people understand that there will come a time when they will choose to downsize to cut their costs, simplify their lifestyle, be closer to their children/grandchildren, or address medical needs.
It often becomes a stressful process, both physically and emotionally. Sorting a household of belongings that have a lifetime of memories can be a real challenge. If the need for this process comes earlier than expected due to health or other reasons, the burden of the process becomes even more challenging.
Most adults have more belongings than they need, but giving up on their items can be difficult. However, looking at the other side of downsizing, it can offer a safe, simple, and stress-free environment. Here, we will give some downsizing tips for seniors that can make this process stress free and maximize productivity.
1. Make a Plan
Downsizing involves a continuous period of productivity with some space to reflect in between. When you see the need to move, set dates on the calendar for productive days. Make SMART goals for each day and specify who will need to be involved to achieve those goals. Get those people involved early so that they will be ready to help when the time comes.
2. Start Early
Give yourself enough time for this process because it will take longer than you expect. Don't try to sort through your entire household in just one day or weekend. Take a couple of weeks or a month for this time. Start with one room at a time and take breaks throughout.
3. Start Small
You may have a few things that you want to get rid of in the garage or kitchen, but don't dive into such a big room at the very start. Start with a place you are least emotionally attached to. The linen closet or laundry room are excellent options to make a start. Understand your need for a new home. If you are shifting to a two-bedroom house, then four sets of sheets are enough to keep while the rest can go.
4. Visit Your New Place Frequently
When you are moving into a new community, spend some time with the people already living there. Visualize your favorite belongings around you and determine a place for them. When you return to your home, it will be easier to find whether each item will fit or not in the new home. This can make eliminating extra belongings easier.
5. Determine the Space(s) You Won't Have
If you are moving to a townhome or an apartment, you might not have an office space or a garage. Nearly every item in those places will need to be sold, tossed, donated, or relocated to other rooms. These items might also be great for consignment or garage sales. Good office furniture and outdoor items are more valued than old mattresses or sofas.
6. Give Old Stuff to Relatives
It can be painful for the family to find out that you got rid of family heirlooms without consulting them. Offer to pass along family treasures before you decide to get rid of them. You don't have to wait for a long time for relatives to take what they want. Specify a specific time limit before downsizing and let your family know what you are planning to do with such belongings they do not want.
7. Get Rid of Duplicates
When you look at your belongings, you will soon realize that you have many duplicates in your place. This holds true for the kitchen as well, where you will see you have two or three duplicates of the same item. Now is the time to get rid of extra things. If you feel sad about giving up an item that you use on special occasions but not throughout the year, give it to your child or grandchild. They can take it to you whenever you need it.
8. Reduce Collections Creatively
It can be hard to give up on a lifetime collection of snow globes or porcelain dolls from all your vacations. Still, they will take a lot of space or end up stored in a box where you will never be able to see them.
Instead, take a couple to keep and take the photos of the rest. Then organize these photos into a photo book that can be on your coffee table or mantle. You will be able to enjoy them without any clutter.
9. Consider Hiring a Company to Sell Possessions
If you have some patience and time before the downsizing, you can also make some money from your unneeded stuff by selling it on eBay, Craigslist, or at a yard sale.
Many estate sale companies handle sales for items either in a yard sale or in your home like an estate sale. If you need only a little help, then some companies can come over and check your items, set prices, and even help you organize for a sale that you run yourself.
10. Use this Process as an Opportunity to Bond with Family
Invite your child or grandchildren to your home over the weekends. Tell them where you bought your favorite belongings. Talk to them about your family heirlooms so they can realize their importance. Ask them for help in packing or even for posting items online for sale.
This can be a chance for you to live a moment with your family in the house you love before you start making memories with them in the new place. Remember that it's the people who are important for the memories you cherish, not the things around you.
Are you trying to determine if downsizing is right for you? Check out our blog post, 5 Ways To Tell if It Is Time To Downsize Your Home.
Learn more about preparations to move on our Housing Resources page.