Are you currently in a house with extra room to spare? Are you tired of cleaning those empty rooms whose only function seem to be collecting dust? Perhaps you’ve come to the realization that your current house no longer serves your needs. It may be time to start considering downsizing. Benefits of moving to a smaller space include cutting costs, less clutter to manage, and a more simplified lifestyle. But depending on the size of your current home, even the idea of downsizing can seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help keep the downsizing process manageable.
It is really never too early to start downsizing. The process will inevitably take longer than you expect, so allow yourself plenty of time. Start early before a health crisis or financial pressure forces you to downsize. A relaxed time frame that allows for plenty of breaks will help make the process less stressful.
Instead of picturing your whole house needing to be sorted, break up the process into small steps – room by room or even drawer by drawer. It can be tempting to start by tackling a large space like the garage or basement, but these spaces usually have acquired the most over the years and can quickly cause you to become burnt out in the process. Instead, start with a small space like a laundry room or hall closet that has little emotional attachment and less of a time commitment.
Understand Your Needs
What is the space like that you’re moving to? Are you moving from a house with four bedrooms to a space with only two? Will you no longer have an office? Make sure you are only keeping items that will be needed in your new space. If you’ll only have one bathroom, you can toss or donate that extra shower curtain or those multiple towel sets. Only take with you what will actually be put to use in your new space.
Get Rid of Duplicates
If you’ve lived in your current home for a number of years, it’s easy to let items accumulate and to lose track of what you’re storing. As you go through your items, you may find that you’ve been holding onto duplicates of items all this time. Most people do not need four spatulas or all those extra bedding sets. Donate the duplicates to other households who can put them to good use.
While sorting through items, make a pile for those items you will use in your new home and another pile of items you can sell, throw away, or donate. It’s tempting to make an additional ‘maybe’ pile for items you are unsure about or feel emotionally attached to. But creating this pile is often just a way of delaying the decision you ultimately need to make. It may be difficult, but try to be decisive about each and every item. Decide if you will realistically need or use the item in your new home or if it would be better to pass it on to someone who will use and enjoy it.
Consider Passing Down Heirlooms Early
If you’ve been planning on gifting special items as part of your legacy, consider giving them to your family members now. This will not only help you get the items off your hands, but you’ll find joy in seeing your granddaughter using your china or gifting your son that antique furniture piece he’s always had his eye on.
Ask for Help When You Need It
For some, the downsizing process seems so daunting that they don’t feel equipped to begin the process. But often times family, friends, a church, or other community groups are willing to help. Many services are available to make the process easier as well. Professional organizers and estate liquidators can help you sift through the clutter and remove your unneeded items. There are also senior move specialists that cater to helping older adults move into smaller homes or senior living communities.
Individuals looking to move to the Snyder Village retirement community receive help through each step of the transition process. The “Stress-Free Moving Program” offered at Snyder Village offers access to real estate agents, downsizing services, and moving services. Snyder Village even offers an allowance to help ease the financial burden of downsizing and moving to make the transition stress-free. “Most residents who move to Snyder Village have lived in their home 40+ years so they are overwhelmed as to where to begin; we have the resources to guide them in the right direction,” states Julie Beltramea, Retirement Community Director.
Change can be hard for everyone, and for many, even the thought of downsizing seems overwhelming. But every journey starts with just a single step, so don’t be afraid to start small. You’ll soon be on your way to living a more simplified life, surrounded only by the items that you love. And that’s a very good place to be.
Snyder Village in Metamora is a Life Plan Community that offers independent living in its retirement cottages and apartments. Beautiful assisted living accommodations, memory care programs, skilled nursing care, and physical therapy are also available on campus. Its home care services support individuals in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Marshall Counties. For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com.