Upon retirement, most people are likely to begin downsizing. Whether that means moving into a smaller home of your own or into a top-notch senior living community, it’s probably hard to sift through decades’ worth of possessions. To ease your transition into your new home, here are a few tips on downsizing for seniors.
Start Early and Start Small
If you begin planning before you even start looking for a new home, chances are you’ll find the downsizing process less overwhelming. By spreading the work out, you’ll be able to downsize little by little over time. Try these out when you start downsizing:
- Spend some time on downsizing or doing any related prep work each day.
- Tackle the larger or harder tasks before the easier ones.
- Go through your house room by room, starting with the smaller rooms first. Keep track of the rooms you’ve completed to save time.
- Declutter as you move through the seasons – for example, sort out your holiday decorations during the holiday season while their boxes are still out.
- If you already know the floor plan of your future home, use those measurements to estimate what to hold on to, and how much to keep. For instance, a house with only one bed likely won’t need more than three sets of bedsheets.
Get Family and Friends to Join In
As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”. Not only will roping in your loved ones make the downsizing process smoother, but it’s also a chance to spend some quality time together as you look back on all the memories associated with each item. Not to mention, your back will thank you for not trying to lift all those heavy boxes by yourself!
Declutter Your Home
This is understandably the hardest part of downsizing for plenty of people – you’ll be parting with many sentimental items that you’ve owned for so long. But do you really have to throw everything away?
In short, no. To begin with, certain items are too hazardous to be thrown in the trash, like paint cans, batteries, tires, and household cleaning products – call your local sanitation department for help instead.
Once you’ve disposed of those items, take a good hard look at whatever you have left. Let go of things that fit these criteria:
- duplicate items
- items you don’t need or don’t use often
- items with minimal sentimental value
- items or collections that are too large to fit into your new house
You can give them as gifts to family and friends, donate them to charity, sell them online, or keep them in a trusted storage facility. However, if you’d still like something to remember these items by, do take some high-resolution photographs of them and have the photos made into a beautiful digital album or coffee table photo book. This way, you can look back on each item and all your fond memories, but without the clutter around your house.
With all these tips, downsizing should become a much smoother process for you, and perhaps even an enjoyable one.