Have you made the decision to move into an independent living community? Congratulations! You’re no doubt looking forward to the new lifestyle. You may already be familiar with all the benefits available and are ready to select your new home.
Is there anything else left to do?
For many, the next step will clear the way for moving without bringing along the extra bags and boxes of clutter.
It’s called downsizing.
Many residents that have completed the process describe it as a true blessing in disguise. Why? Because if you’ve been living in your home for several years, maybe even decades, chances are you’ve accumulated many possessions along the way.
Take a look in your closets, spare rooms or garage. Although you’ll find items of value and sentiment, there will also be a collection of items that you didn’t know what to do with.
Tips to make downsizing easy
The thought of downsizing may seem overwhelming at first, but if you follow a few pointers, you’ll not only survive but will thrive without the extra weight of belongings that no longer serve a purpose.
Here are 10 tips to aim you in the right direction:
- Make a plan
Work in reverse of your move-in date. Allow enough time to schedule by considering the size of your home and the years of accumulations. Purchase a notebook specifically for the move. Keep your notes, to-do lists, important phone numbers and any questions that come up all in one place.
- Request a floorplan from your community
Once you choose the community and your residence, you’ll want a copy of the floorplan with dimensions already marked. Or schedule a time when you can visit and measure the room yourself.
Don’t assume what will fit. Cut pieces of paper to scale that represent your furniture and find the right arrangement on your floorplan. Moving paper furniture is much easier on your back.
- Decide what you’ll be taking with you
Eliminate the rooms you won’t have in your new home, such as the extra bathroom or additional bedrooms. Get rid of duplicates, including extra sets of dishes, serving spoons or pots and pans.
But don’t forget the items that say “home” to you. If you have a favorite reading chair, give it a priority. Make sure to bring your framed photographs and other meaningful keepsakes.
- Designate a room to serve as headquarters
Choose an empty or unused room to sort and place your items into three separate sections:
- What you’re taking
- Passing down
Be firm and try not to have any “maybe” piles. It will only make it easier to shift your decisions to later, which will still have to be made.
- Invite your kids home for the weekend
They can collect their own memorabilia that got left behind but this is also a chance to pass down a few of their inheritance items.
If your daughter has always wanted the family china and you won’t be taking it with you, consider handing it down now. If your son would love to have the desk in the study, he can arrange now to have it moved.
- Start with the kitchen and leave sentimental items for last
It’s much less painful to box up dishes and baking ware than it will be to go through your grandmother’s jewelry or old photos.
Start with the rooms easiest to pack, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Emptying closets can also help build momentum. Decide how many sets of linens you’ll need and put the rest in the donate pile.
- Try to stay on schedule
This project offers many opportunities to get sidetracked but try to stay mindful of the passing time. Use caution if you realize you’re making little progress and commit to getting back on track.
You do have a deadline. If you keep getting stuck, try to retrace your steps and understand where and why. What actions can you take to avoid or overcome the obstacles?
- Allow an extra day or two for memories
Having said that, you will want to schedule time to go down memory lane. Plan on getting lost, and crying a few tears, when sorting through your children’s old artwork, photos of your grandparent’s wedding or the keepsakes from your honeymoon.
You’ve lived a good life and you deserve to enjoy the gift of looking back. But when it’s time to move on, you’ll need to get back to the tasks at hand.
- Prepare for the emotional highs and lows
Taking a look back over your life will give you the chance to relive some of your favorite moments – and even a few of the more sorrowful days. If you prepare yourself for the emotional process that moving is, you’re less likely to be blindsided.
- Keep the positive future in mind
Don’t let the excitement of your new life get lost in the memories of old or the frustrations of trying to check everything off of a list. After a long and tiring day, remind yourself of how wonderful your new life will be and how ready you are to start this new chapter.
Life at Tapestry Senior Living communities
If you’re moving to an independent living community, we hope you’ll find these tips on downsizing helpful. If you’re just beginning to research what options are available, we invite you to consider one of our Tapestry Senior Living communities, where you’ll find:
- An active and engaged community who supports each resident to live life to the fullest
- Eating well and staying in shape is easy with our chef-inspired meals and fitness center
- A wide choice of activities to challenge your mind – or just to have fun
- Meeting and making new friends naturally at our activities and social events
We understand that choosing the right community is an important decision. If you would like more information, we invite you to download our complimentary guide which contains helpful information for families considering senior living, Should You Stay or Should You Go?
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal tour, please contact one of our advisors at a community near you.