Helpful Tips for Seniors Looking to Declutter and Downsize

    Deciding to move to a smaller home leaves you with the task of sorting through a lifetime of treasures, papers, and other stuff. Downsizing may seem overwhelming, but with the help of friends and family, you can get through it one step at a time. Read on for tips that will take you through the process.

    Emotional Attachments

    The first order of business when you decide it is time to downsize is to start decluttering right away. You may not know where you are moving to just yet; however, the sooner you start the momentous task, the better you will feel.

    One of the hardest things to do when sorting through personal belongings is to deal with sentimental items. Finding a baseball from your favorite uncle or a rocking chair your mother gave you evokes multiple feelings that make you reluctant to let it go.

    Most people feel guilty for wanting to part with an item, while others are afraid they will experience regret later. Experts suggest that to combat these feelings, carefully evaluate each special item, one at a time.

    Questions you can ask yourself include:

    • Do you really need it?
    • Does it serve a purpose?
    • Do you really love it?

    If the answer to any of these questions is no, then make plans for giving the item away, either through selling, donating, or gifting. Depending upon your success with decluttering, you may actually feel relief at having less stuff in your new space.

    Selecting the Right Home for Your Needs

    The upside to downsizing is the reduction of responsibilities and home-related expenses. As HomeAdvisor explains, “Having fewer financial and maintenance-related responsibilities will allow you to focus more on your happiness and less on your home.”

    Still, hunting for the right home for your golden years takes time and is a process you shouldn’t rush. Decisions regarding nearby facilities, transportation, activities, and accessibility in your new home are very important. Also, be sure to inquire about maintenance responsibilities, property taxes, and any homeowner association (HOA) fees.

    Strategically Pack for Easier Unpacking

    Start by packing one room at a time, using a color-coded system to identify boxes by room. Pack everything in the room, even small items like jewelry. Once you complete one room, you will start to see the progress and feel more motivated to keep packing.

    Load your transport vehicle – either a moving van or your personal vehicle – with a “last on, first off” mentality. Make essential items the last to load, so that you have easier access to them upon arrival at your new home.

    Transitioning Into Your New Space

    Change is hard at any age. Whether you are renting, buying, or moving into an assisted living facility, your environment is new and unfamiliar.

    Moving a few items in at a time is a great way to gradually meet the neighbors and to get acclimated to the neighborhood or facility. Spending time there before the actual move can ease your anxiety and have you on the path to creating new friendships.

    A Sense of Community

    According to a national poll regarding aging, one-third of seniors are lonely. Research shows that isolation and loneliness contribute to health issues such as depression and higher risks of heart attacks.

    Moving to a smaller home that includes access to other seniors and group activities can help to reduce loneliness. Look for groups or clubs with activities based on hobbies you enjoy, like reading, knitting, walking, or gardening.

    Interacting with other seniors can show you how they, too, face the daily challenges of aging. They might just be the motivation you need to stay active and to remain engaged in your new environment.

    Deciding to invest less time and money into your new home and more time in fun and activities for your social life are smart goals. Downsizing and moving is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. With a little planning and careful thought, you will only question why you didn’t make the move sooner.

     

    Written by Mike Longsdon
    Photo via Unsplash

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