Downsizing is a positive step in many people’s lives. Especially for older adults, it represents a new chapter of freedom. With a smaller home, especially one in a retirement community, you’re free from the chores and responsibilities of upkeeping a large house; you’re free to mingle and socialize with adults of the same age, and you are free of all the clutter from your old family home.
But downsizing can also be stressful. Sorting through all of your stuff, separating items of emotional and monetary value from those you can give away, is a laborious and time-consuming process. Figuring out what will fit in your new home takes shrewd planning. And the actual act of moving requires management, organization and effort.
To make the process as stress-free and straightforward as possible, here are a few tips you can follow when it comes time to downsize.
Start with a Positive Attitude
Before you get into the nitty-gritty, start with a positive attitude. Remember the reasons why you’re moving: a better living situation, more opportunities for socializing, and freedom from unnecessary responsibilities.
If you’re reticent about letting go of some of your possessions, think about the “20/80 Principle.” A popular theory, the 20/80 principle holds that most people only get value out of 20% of their possessions 80% of the time. And vice versa: they only get value from 80% of their possessions 20% of the time. In plain terms, you own a lot of stuff that doesn’t necessarily bring you joy. Approach downsizing as a positive opportunity to focus on the things that bring you joy.
Figure out the Dimensions of Your New Home
Figuring out the dimensions of your new home will provide a rough mental guide going forward. Are you downsizing to a home half the size? One third the size of your current home?
If you are able, walk through your new home and try to visualize the space. Where can you put the things you absolutely need to keep? And how much room for extras – those things you’d prefer to keep but don’t necessarily need – is there storage space in the new home?
Consult with a Professional Downsizing Service
Consult with professional senior downsizing services to make the process easier. An excellent downsizing service will work with you, and according to your wishes, sort through your possessions. Carefully, thoroughly and thoughtfully, they will help you organize what you want to keep, and then help sell, donate or dispose of the rest.
Professional downsizing companies also offer “move management.” They will coordinate and oversee movers, acquire packing supplies, take care of packing and unpacking tasks, and even help set up your new home the way you want it. This frees you up to enjoy the moving day, to spend time with loved ones and settle into your new home.
If you’ve made the choice to downsize, make sure you do it the right way. Start with a positive attitude, assess your new home and hire an expert downsizing service to facilitate the process.