Advice for Seniors on How to Plan a Painless Downsize
Courtesy of Micheal Longsdon
Jully 11, 2019
For many seniors, there comes a time when a big change is necessary. There are a number of reasons downsizing is the next step for many older adults, including:
● Moving closer to grandkids
● Getting a home with less space to maintain
● Improving your financial situation
● Moving to a location with better weather
● Moving to be around certain activities
● Moving to improve social life
Whatever your reasons, it helps to have a plan in place before you start the process. That way, you can set yourself up for it to be as painless as possible. Here is some practical advice for easing the stress of the downsizing experience.
Evaluate Your Needs
When choosing what kind of home you want to move into, it’s important to consider what your needs are. For instance, do you need to simplify your life by getting a smaller home? As HomeAdvisor suggests, "Having fewer financial- and maintenance-related responsibilities will allow you to focus more on your happiness and less on your home." Do you need a place with modifications that accommodate specific mobility limitations? Are you looking for the social life that comes with an independent living community, or do you need help with daily tasks like those offered in an assisted living home? Determining the type of home that best suits you will help you with the rest of the downsizing process.
Declutter (Without Holding Back)
Once you know what your next home will be like, you should have a good idea of what (and how much) you can take with you. Chances are, you will need to get rid of some things — and that can be an emotional process. Start decluttering early on so that you can take time to sift through sentimental items and reflect on what they mean to you. If you have any heirlooms you are meaning to pass down to your family, consider giving them away now.
Once you decide what to do with the sentimental items, try to make quick decisions on the other stuff. Many people find that the most effective way to declutter is to go room by room. Go through every item in every space, and put it in one of three piles — keep, give away, or trash. Think of how much space your new home will have for each type of item. For example, will your new place have a guest room to store those extra blankets and lamps? Also, think of how often you actually use something before you decide to keep it. For instance, if you haven't worn that button-down in over a year, you’ll probably never wear it again.
Arrange the Move Early
When it’s time to move your things to your new place, you don't want to wing it. Just as you allow time to pick the right kind of home and choose what belongings to keep, plan the moving process well before moving day. If you plan on enlisting friends and/or family to help, ask them at least a month in advance. If you plan on using a moving company, schedule at least six weeks in advance, and confirm the date two weeks after that. Once you’ve established the details, you can start packing and tying up any loose ends before you say goodbye.
Downsizing is an exciting new chapter for many seniors, and it can be less stressful if you plan ahead. Remember to determine your lifestyle needs when choosing your next home, and allow yourself the proper time to sort through your belongings and declutter. Also, establish the moving day details early on so that you can focus on the tasks at hand until your scheduled departure. Most importantly, remember that big life changes don’t always follow a plan perfectly, so try to be flexible and enjoy the moment.
Photo Credit: Burst