Almost everyone will have to downsize someday, and it can be for any number of reasons—to live a simpler lifestyle, to move closer to loved ones, to cut costs, or to address their medical needs.
When the time comes, it’s often a difficult, stressful, and sometimes painful experience. After all, it can’t be easy to say goodbye to a home you raised your family in!
As overwhelming as it may seem, downsizing can be easy if done right. Here are a few tips for moving. Now let’s get started on the downsizing guide for seniors!
1. Start early.
Often, people have a hard time downsizing because they didn’t prepare enough for it. It’s important to give yourself a lot of time to start the process because it will no doubt take longer than you expect.
You don’t have to go through all your stuff in one day or weekend—doing so can make the process more difficult for you, both physically and emotionally.
Instead, begin decluttering your home a couple of weeks to a month before you need to move. This way, you can take your time to go through all the rooms and sort through all your stuff.
Cleaning one room at a time and taking breaks in between can make the whole process easier on you.
2. Don’t rush.
It’s important to start small and ease into the whole process. Keep in mind that you have years-worth of things to sort through. If you start in big areas containing items with a lot of sentimental value, you might get overwhelmed.
Save areas such as the garage, kitchen, or basement for last—these are usually the hardest rooms to declutter. There will be lots of memories for you to tackle here, so make sure you’re prepared before doing so.
As you sort through your things, you should know what you’ll need. For example, if you’re moving into a house with two bedrooms, four sets of sheets are more than enough.
3. Consider where you’ll be moving.
When you downsize as a senior, there are five main options that you can choose from:
- Buying a smaller home or condo with modifications done as needed
- Renting a smaller house or apartment
- Moving in with a family member
- Moving into a retirement community
- Entering assisted living
The things you’ll need will vary depending on where you’ve decided to move to.
For instance, a smaller home or apartment might not have a garage or office, so you’ll have to get rid of most of your items in those rooms. Also, if you’re planning to move into a retirement community, you’ll only need to bring clothes, personal care items, and the like.
4. Sell or donate what you can.
Before throwing away anything, consider whether you can sell or donate them. Moving can cost quite a lot, so it’s important to save as much as you can before you relocate.
You can organize a yard sale or ask your family members or friends to help you sell some unwanted items online. Either way, you’ll be able to add a little more to your moving expenses.
Once you’ve sold what you can, consider donating the items that are still in good condition. They might not be of use to you anymore, but there might be others who need them.
Some organizations and charities can even pick up the items from your home.
5. It’s time for the move.
Before you decluttered your home, you should have already decided how you’ll be moving. Will you be asking family members to help you pack and move, or will you be hiring a moving company?
Another option you can consider is to hire a senior move manager. They can help make your move a lot easier. Their services include disposing of your unwanted items, packing, arranging storage, shopping, cleaning, and unpacking, among others. If you decide to hire one, it’s easy to find a senior move manager.
No matter where you’re moving, it won’t feel like home right away, and that’s fine! You’ll get used to it after some time, and of course, having family members and friends to help with the transition will make it easier.
Downsizing can be stressful and difficult for seniors, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t make it harder for yourself—moving is hard enough on its own. Just make sure to properly plan and prepare so you can have a hassle-free transition.
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