The idea of downsizing can be an intimating one. If you’ve lived in your home for a number of years, it may be filled to the brim with an astonishing number of books, clothes, decorations, papers, or furniture. Even if you practice a more minimalist lifestyle, moving to a smaller space can still require an adjustment and a plan of action.
The benefits to downsizing are numerous. A smaller home can bring you financial savings with reduced taxes, insurance, utility bills, and general maintenance. And more than likely, a profit can be made by selling your larger home, which will add a nice boost to your income. If your downsizing involves moving to a retirement community or assisted living facility, you’ll receive the extra benefits of social activities, meals provided, and your home maintenance being taken care of.
If you are seeking to simplify your life and downsize your living space, a few action steps can help you reach this goal.
Step One: Decide Where You Will Downsize To
The first step to take is to determine where your new home will be. There are several options for older adults to consider when looking to downsize:
- Buying a smaller house or condo
- Renting a smaller home or apartment
- Moving in with a loved one (usually an adult child or other relative)
- Moving to a retirement community
- Moving to an assisted living facility
Once you have found your new home and know its size, you can begin to determine how many of your possessions will make the move with you to the new space.
Step Two: Declutter
Cleaning out and getting rid of possessions can be an emotional experience that affects everyone differently. Some may have no trouble tossing that worn chair, but for others, special memories may be attached. It’s okay to acknowledge that the process is difficult. Be prepared to do the hard work of letting go of many belongings, but also give yourself permission to keep those special items that mean the most.
To keep from being overwhelmed in the downsizing process, start small. 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. Start by going through a small space like a laundry room or hall closet that has little emotional attachment and less of a time commitment.
As you go through your possessions, you may find that you’ve been holding onto duplicates of items. Most people do not need multiple hammers or all those extra bed sheets. Donate the duplicates to other households who can put them to good use. If your new home only has one bathroom and you are used to having more, donate those extra towels you will no longer need. Only keep what you can actually put to use in your new space.
While sorting through your belongings, 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 attached to, but creating this pile is often a way of delaying the decision you ultimately need to make. It may be difficult, but try to be decisive about each and every piece.
Step Three: Prepare for the Move
Once you have decluttered and thrown away or donated the items you will no longer use, you can begin packing up the remaining items you will be using in your new home. Enlist the help of friends, family, community groups, or your church to assist you in the process. Professional organizers and packers are also a great option to help ease the burden that moving can sometimes be.
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. “We know that downsizing and moving is a big decision, especially after living in your home 40+ years. Therefore, Snyder Village provides several services to make it as stress-free as possible,” says Julie Beltramea, Retirement Community Director.
If the thought of a simplified life with fewer bills, less maintenance, and less upkeep sounds appealing to you, the time to start downsizing may be now. Don’t let the downsizing process overwhelm you – just take it one step at a time.
Snyder Village in Metamora is a Life Plan Community that offers independent living, assisted living, memory care programs, skilled nursing care, therapy, and home care. For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com.