Have you decided to make life easier – and perhaps more fulfilling – by moving into a senior living community? If you have, you’re likely looking forward to all the many benefits that community life has to offer. Before you move in, you may be planning to downsize your home. If you could use a few suggestions for how best to approach this task, consider these downsizing tips to simplify the process when moving into senior living:
Downsizing tip #1: Buy a notebook and get organized
The first step is to get organized. Purchase a notebook, preferably one with folders or pockets, where you can keep your notes and important phone numbers.
Don’t lose time searching for a mover’s bid or other important information. Knowing that everything you need is in one place can make a huge difference.
Downsizing tip #2: Set your move-in date and create a schedule
Include a calendar in your notebook and tentatively work your way backward from your move date. The best advice is to start early and allow enough time.
You may want to plan your downsizing project by rooms – such as kitchen, dining room and laundry or by belongings, i.e. clothing, dishes and collections.
Downsizing tip #3: Get a copy of your new floorplan
Once you’ve chosen your new home, request a copy of the floorplan to help you decide what furniture might fit. Experiment with cut out furniture shapes that are to-scale.
Eliminate furniture for rooms you won’t have in your new home, for example – extra bedrooms, dining room or bathrooms.
Downsizing tip #4: Get an idea of what you have
Tour your home with a fresh set of eyes to understand the number of possessions you’ve accumulated over the years.
Once you have a better idea of what you’ll be working with, you can finalize your schedule and begin planning. You may discover you have many family items you’ll want to find a home for or that you’ll have several boxes of dishes to donate.
Downsizing tip #5: Decision time: what to take, pass along or donate
Begin making notes about what you’d like to bring with you, pass down to your children or other family members, donate to charity or sell. When downsizing, you won’t be able to bring everything, so begin making decisions.
Start by eliminating duplicates. Similar to the additional rooms you won’t have at your new home, you also won’t need several sets of dishes, bedding or towels.
Downsizing tip #6: Invite the family over
Not only can you use the help, but let your children know it’s time to reclaim the possessions they left behind. Your house was an easy storage unit but let them decide what they’d like to keep or give away.
Talk about the items you would like to keep in the family. Gauge any interest they may have and encourage them to make arrangements to take items now, which can greatly simplify your move.
Downsizing tip #7: Create your plan
Some downsizing experts recommend starting with the easiest rooms to help build your momentum and downsizing muscles, such as a spare bedroom that’s not full of stored sentimental belongings.
Others recommend sorting by the type of belongings you have. For example, you might start going through your linen closet and then moving on to clothing.
Whichever method you choose, the key is to have no maybe piles. Make a yes or no decision for every item.
Downsizing tip #8: Allow time to reminisce
Make sure you add extra time in your calendar to go through your sentimental items. It’s a wonderful experience to enjoy all those memories and don’t be surprised if there are more than a few tears.
You’ve already lived a full and meaningful life, which will continue with your new adventure. But take time to pause and remember where you’ve been.
Downsizing tip #9: Try to stay on track
Be prepared for interruptions and surprises that often come with downsizing. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck, such as when you’re going through your sentimental items. Take the time to reminisce but then move on.
It can be hard to motivate yourself and there may be days when you are looking for distractions. But keep revisiting your calendar to make sure you’re staying on course.
Downsizing tip #10: Remember, you keep the memories
Most people have cherished items but it’s important to remember that the memories are not in the objects.
If you have a treasured collection, consider selecting one or two pieces to take with you and take photos of the rest. Another creative solution is to sell items and use the money to spend on a trip for the family.
If you’re considering whether a senior living community could be the perfect support for your parents to live a safe and high quality of life, we hope you will visit one of our Ingleside communities. We believe it’s even easier to enjoy life with the benefits that we offer, including:
For information on Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge senior living community located in Lake Ridge, Virginia, please call (703) 420-7105 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at King Farm senior living community located in Rockville, Maryland, please call (240) 414-8557 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at Rock Creek senior living community located in Washington, DC, please call (202) 846-2651 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.