For seniors, downsizing is an excellent option for saving money and time. However, some seniors hesitate to downsize because they think it will be too much to manage. The truth is, you can downsize successfully if you carefully consider organizing, moving and storing your items.
- Get Organized
One of the reasons that people hesitate to downsize is they look around their homes and can’t imagine packing up and moving all of it. Keep in mind that downsizing involves more than moving to a smaller home; it means decreasing the amount of stuff you have so you can comfortably live in that smaller home. The key to getting started is getting organized.
A cluttered home is more than an eyesore; it’s a living environment that hinders your creativity and contributes to your stress and anxiety. Indeed, Psychology Today examines five ways that clutter negatively affects you:
- Clutter makes you feel like your home environment is hostile instead of friendly
- Clutter leads to unhealthy eating
- Clutter harms your mental health
- Clutter leads to less efficient visual processing
- Clutter hinders your ability to think
Thus, decluttering is the first step toward getting organized; you have to determine what you want to keep before you can determine where to put it.
It’s best to start your decluttering and organizing mission in the bedroom. As HomeAdvisor puts it, “Your bedroom should be a clean, clutter-free, serene space where you can relax. Too often, it’s a catch-all for clothes that don’t fit in the closet, laundry that needs to be done, and stored items seem to keep creeping out from under the bed where you thought they were out of sight, out of mind.”
Tackle the piles in your bedroom. Be honest about which clothes you no longer wear and donate them. If you have things under your bed, there’s a good chance you don’t use them often and likely don’t need them. Sort your stuff into three piles: keep, donate and trash. Once you’ve decluttered and organized your bedroom, move on to the next room until you’ve done your entire home. After all, you have to complete this process to know exactly how much space you will need in your new home.
This also is the time to involve your family in your mission. If you have items that you want them to have, arrange for them to collect them sooner, rather than later. Be prepared for your family to decline your offers, however. As the Boston Globe reports, baby boomers are finding their adult children don’t want their possessions. Try not to take it personally, as your family members are trying to downsize as well.
- Make Moving Go Smoothly
Fortunately, you will save yourself hassle and money by downsizing your belongings before moving to your smaller place. One option is to pack and label boxes as you sort your stuff and organize your existing home. Another option is to hire a full-service moving company that will pack, move and unpack your belongings.
No matter which option you choose, keep in mind that you should have help on moving day. When you hire movers, you not only ensure that you stay safe by not lifting items that are too heavy for you, but you also give yourself the freedom to oversee the move and make sure fragile items are handled properly. Also, be sure to double-check that your furniture and appliances are where you want them before your help leaves for the day.
- Take Advantage of Storage Options
Downsizing can be emotional for seniors who find it difficult to leave a family home and part with items they’ve owned for a long time. If it’s hard to part with some things, rent a storage unit. You’ll rest easier knowing that you did not part with all of your belongings, and you will have a better idea of which items you can live without. In fact, if you can go for six months to one year without using something, it’s time to donate, sell or trash it.
Downsizing is doable for seniors. Start by getting organized. Then, hire help to make moving go smoothly and rent a storage unit if you have some reservations about downsizing.
Author of The A-Z Home Care Handbook
Owner of http://newcaregiver.org