As people, we are prone to creating attachments to both things and places. This can make downsizing into a 55+ community a challenge. Here are a few tips for downsizing that might help you determine what will make the move with you.
#1 Tip for Downsizing: Make a Plan for Downsizing Your Home
Aside from the emotions involved, downsizing can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Once you know a move is imminent, take a look at your calendar and start carving out days to tackle the task. Some of the work will be manual, others in reflection.
Don’t push yourself to do too much in one day. For most people, this isn’t something that can be accomplished quickly. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach your objective.
Start by setting small goals. What do want to address on Day 1? Day 2?
Write down your objectives and make note of the friends or family members whose help you might need to enlist to reach them.
#2 Tip for Downsizing: Make a Downsizing Checklist
While going through your home, you’re bound to find items that you forgot you had. Some of these may be easy to part with; others may make you hesitate. This is why it’s handy to have a downsizing checklist prepared ahead of time.
Your list should consist of the things you are taking with you in the move. The items that are on the list are things that should hold your focus. In most cases, if you come across an item that isn’t on the list, it’s because you won’t miss it when it’s gone.
Doing this gives you less chance to trick yourself into believing you really need something that will just end up taking up space.
#3 Tip for Downsizing: Think Positively
View downsizing as an opportunity. Since we are prone to attachments, many of us are also prone to holding onto things long after they should have been pitched.
How have you changed since you acquired specific belongings? Do they still reflect who you are, or have you grown? While this is often a time for reflection, it can also be a time for recognizing the person you are today rather than the person you used to be.
Also, be sure to reward yourself as you go. Take every opportunity to bask in the progress you’ve made.
#4 Tip for Downsizing: Save the Sentimental Stuff for Last
Some rooms are going to be more difficult to go through than others. That said, you might be more amenable to parting ways with items in your living and bedrooms once you’ve already tackled the shed, attic, garage, and even the kitchen.
#5 Tip for Downsizing: One Room at a Time
Keep focused on the space around you. Things are likely to go a lot more quickly if you refrain from hopping from room to room. And if you do save the rooms with more sentimental items for last, you might be in the right mindset to avoid over-romanticizing things you ultimately won’t miss.
#6 Tips for Downsizing: No Maybes
It is tough getting rid of stuff. You may be tempted to start a “maybe” pile for the items you can’t fully justify bringing with you but don’t want to throw away. Do not do this. The “maybe” pile will soon overrun the “yes” and “no” pile, and you’ll be back where you started.
We won’t pretend this part isn’t difficult, but remaining utilitarian in approach will keep the process from taking more time than necessary.
#7 Tips for Downsizing: Set Realistic Expectations
Over the course of downsizing for retirement, you will need to decide what to do with the stuff you’re not taking with you. You can offer them to family, host a garage sale, try to sell to collectors, donate, or – if all else fails – toss unwanted items in the garbage. Many people may do a little of everything, depending on the items in question.
That said, it’s important to remember that belongings that have meaning to you might not have the same meaning to your children or grandchildren. Some people are more naturally sentimental than others. It’s not a slight on you if they choose not to take certain things.
In the same way, if you are reselling furniture, antiques, or other property, do not fixate on what you paid for it. With little exception, the items in your home are not rare. Tastes, styles, and fashion trends are not fixed.
One of the mistakes many people make is overvaluing what they have. An item that cost you $500 is likely not going to cost the next owner nearly as much. Its value is not in what you get for it, but how you used the item during the time it was yours.
#8 Tips for Downsizing: Make Frequent Visits to Your New Home
Visualizing where your belongings will go in your new home can help you prioritize what you take and what you don’t. Also, don’t forget the amenities at your retirement community. There could be things offered as part of your monthly rent that make some long-held possessions redundant.
Be sure to include your closest friends and family in this process. The more you can see yourself in your new home, surrounded by your things and the people you love, the easier the move will be.
#9 Tips for Downsizing: Give Each Item a Purpose
As you’re amassing those things you plan to take with you, ensure each item has a purpose. You can also apply the Marie Kondo philosophy (also known as the KonMari Method) and ask yourself if certain items “spark joy.”
This isn’t to say that you should only take the essentials. In fact, this leads us to our final point.
#10 Tips for Downsizing: Leave Room for Feelings
We all have belongings that serve no ostensible function other than “it makes us happy.”
While you should restrict the number of items that fall under this category, remember this is going to be your home. Your comfort and happiness is important. Remember, you might be downsizing but your apartment is still yours to decorate and style to your personal taste.
While the prospect of downsizing for a move to a senior living community can be daunting, it can also be a freeing experience. Make it your own – reminisce when you need to reminisce, cry when you need to cry, and pitch when you need to pitch. There is no such thing as maximum shelf space when it comes to the memories you will take with you.
We hope you have found our tips for downsizing helpful. If you’re ready for life’s next great adventure, contact The Preston.