It should surprise no one that downsizing is a stressful time for seniors. Selling the family home and making decisions about the possessions you’ve collected over a lifetime is difficult in many different ways. It’s time-consuming, often labor-intensive, and emotionally draining. Make the process as simple and stress-free as possible with these tips for downsizing.
Top Tips for Downsizing Your Home
When downsizing is in your future, everything comes down to proper planning. Get started now with our favorite tips for downsizing.
- Know your space. If you already know where you’ll be moving to, find out how much space will be in your new home. If you’re moving to a retirement community, it should be easy to get this information from the administration. Knowing this information from the start will make it easier to decide what comes with you.
- Start early. Even if you’re not ready to downsize right away, it may be time to plan for the future. Many seniors only begin downsizing when they are incapable of living on their own or after the death of a spouse. Waiting for tragedy means added stressors during an already difficult process. Start getting rid of belongings and cleaning the home before the time comes.
- Gift now. Do you have items that you’ve been saving to give to your kids? Legacy gifts are nice, but giving them away now serves two purposes: you’ll reduce clutter in your own home AND you’ll get to see your children enjoy them!
- Involve the family. Making decisions about what to keep, give away, or sell is a difficult process. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Enlist the help of your family members; they may be able to help you make tough decisions.
- Condense it. You can’t take everything with you, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave the memories behind. Got a treasured collection of fine china, coins, or even antique lunchboxes? Take pictures of the collection and put them in a photo album or frame. But keep in mind that you don’t have to get rid of everything! Choose a few favorite pieces to come with you. Want to condense even more? Try digitizing your photo albums; instead of many clunky books containing hundreds of photos, you can keep those memories in digital picture frames or on a computer. Not sure how to go about it? Ask a friend or family member for help.
- Donate, sell, or throw it away. The items in your home will vary significantly in value, both monetary and sentimental. Once you’ve packed what you’re going to take and have given away the items your family members want to keep, what do you do with what’s left? Take some time to think about these items seriously. Are they valuable? You may want to get them appraised and sell them. Clothes and other items may be better suited for donation at your local Goodwill, and heavy furniture will often disappear quickly if placed on the curb. Take a hard look at what’s left. You may be able to sell some of it at a yard sale, but certain items’ value may be purely sentimental. If you can’t take it with you and no one else wants it, it’s time to throw it away.
- BONUS: When you do move, there are certain items that you’ll want to have with you right away. Pack a box with these first-day essentials, such as toiletries, medication, and maybe a few favorite decorations to make the place feel like home. You’ll save yourself the headache of trying to dig through boxes for the items you really need.
Finding Your New Home
Downsizing and moving into an assisted living community can be stressful, but with proper planning, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At Briarwood retirement, we want seniors to feel welcomed in their new homes. Do you need help on where to start with downsizing and finding the right retirement community for you and your lifestyle? Get started by downloading our free eBook, Preparing for and Finding a Retirement Community.