If a move to a senior living community is in the plans for you or a senior loved one in 2021, you may be wondering where to begin. Packing and moving are always big jobs, so if you’re heading to a smaller space, it’s a good idea to start early.
These downsizing tips for seniors will help you navigate the process with sensitivity and grace so everyone is prepared when moving day arrives.
1. Allocate plenty of time.
Sorting through a lifetime of belongings is time-consuming. Doing it at a comfortable pace will ease the physical toll and make the downsizing process more enjoyable. Give yourself permission to reminisce as you come across keepsakes that bring on a sense of nostalgia. It may take several weekends of work, but sorting through items one at a time without rushing will let you make better decisions about what to keep and what to discard.
2. Ease into the process.
Start the sorting and packing in a smaller space that’s likely to hold few sentimental attachments, like a linen closet or pantry. This is a good downsizing tip for seniors because it lets you set your own pace and get a realistic idea of how much time you’ll need to complete the whole house. It’s also a way to test a system for deciding what you’ll keep, trash and donate.
3. Focus on reducing clutter.
As a senior downsizing from a family home to a one- or two-bedroom apartment that is common in senior living communities, you are likely to find there’s simply too much stuff to fit the new floor plan. This downsizing tip for seniors actually applies to anyone planning a move: Decluttering quickly eliminates things you’re not likely to ever miss. Stacks of outdated magazines, items you have in duplicate and things you haven’t used in over a year are all good candidates for the discard pile. Avoid hanging on to things you might need “someday;” it’s just more you’ll have to organize when you reach your new home.
4. Get rid of stuff you don’t want.
A fresh start means you get to fill your home with the things you want and create a lifestyle that makes you happy. This is the perfect excuse to part with unwanted gifts you kept out of obligation or anything that brings about negative feelings. No one will blame you for cutting back as you plan for your move, so take advantage of the chance to purge guilt-free.
5. Align with your new floor plan.
Another important downsizing tip for seniors is to try to cull down to just what you’ll need for the living space you’ll have. It’s a safe bet that if you don’t have a garage in your new place, there’s not much point in keeping most of the things in your garage. Same goes for a formal dining room, extra bathrooms and bedrooms.
6. Be conscious of your mental health.
A move is a big change that can bring about strong feelings, so the added stress of parting with your home and treasured items can trigger big emotions, too. You may tell yourself it’s just real estate and things, but it’s very normal for older adults to struggle with letting go of their possessions. It may even feel a bit like mourning as you discard things and prepare to leave familiar surroundings. Allowing family and friends to help you with the move can help reduce the loneliness and keep your spirits strong.
7. Get creative to hold on to memories.
Practically speaking, you’ll probably end up parting with some things you wish you could keep. After all, a collection of antique dolls or music boxes undoubtedly carries dozens of special memories. Choose a couple of your favorites to keep, share others with family members or friends, and as for the rest, take photos that you can assemble in an album that’s sure to take up far less space.
Hopefully you’ve found these downsizing tips for seniors planning a move to independent living helpful. If you’re still considering where you’ll make your new home, be sure to fill out the contact form below to learn more about living at Querencia at Barton Creek.