Downsizing Tips for Seniors
With downsizing, your main goal is to simplify your life. You don’t need to get rid of all your possessions, but you do need to pare down the many years of accumulated belongings, particularly when you are moving into a smaller home. Keep the favourite things you want to have around and need or enjoy using. If you think about what you really use in your home on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis it amounts to a fraction of what is in your home.
The most important aspect of downsizing is doing a possessions review and matching it to your new living space. The following are some tips and suggestions for starting the process of going through years of accumulated belongings in your home.
Begin in the areas of the house that you are currently not using. Start the sorting process in these rooms, because it will be least disruptive to everyday life. These areas also often contain lots of things that have not been used in a considerable length of time and that will not be missed when passed on to children, grandchildren, charity or the auction house.
Start with the large items in each room and work your way down to the small items. If you start with the small items, you may get overwhelmed before you even get started. With large items, its most helpful to either prepare a list of your decisions, or use stickers and mark the items as you decide what to do with each piece.
Sort the items in each room as follows:
- items that you want to keep (this includes items you are not currently ready to part with, or items that you definitely know you will want in your new home)
- items that will be passed on to family or friends
- items that will be sold via a garage sale or auction
- items that will be given to charity, and
- items that need to be thrown away.
Keep a list of your decisions, separate the items into separate piles, or mark the items with stickers.
Work through the downsizing process by:
- Putting items to be thrown away into garbage bags and putting it out for collection each week.
- Call your charity of choice and arranging for a pickup as soon as you have enough items to justify their making a trip.
- Ask family and friends to make arrangements to get their items, or to have their items picked up or mailed to them
Take your time – Don’t Stress.
Plan to spend maybe one or two hours at a time (at most) working through the downsizing process. This is not a task that you can do for long periods of time at any age there will be too many emotions and memories stirred up because in essence you are sorting through the years of your life. Take time to recall all the fond memories and to share stories with friends and family. And be easy on yourself and flexible when making decisions.
If you need to discuss with family or friends what to do with certain items or belongings, take time to do so. Also remember that you can change your mind about any item as long as it’s still in your possession. If you’ve started early and are planning ahead, you should be able to work at a pace that is comfortable for you and your situation. The downsizing process can be a daunting time. Make sure you approach it step-by-step, until the job is finished. Ask family members or close friends to help you if possible.
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