Many people reorganize their homes to suit their changing needs better as they approach their golden years. Downsizing is daunting, especially if you need help deciding what to eliminate and how to organize a smaller space. There is a silver lining in this phase of transition.
Seniors can make their environment more manageable by embracing this process. It will also align with their lifestyle and goals. Senior movers are professionals who help the older generation downsize.
This guide will provide tips and strategies to make your move stress-free and easy. This guide will help you simplify and enrich your living space, whether planning a move or simply decluttering.
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Downsizing Tips for Senior
As they age, most older adults are considering downsizing or moving to a smaller home. Around 51 percent of retirees aged 50 or older downsize their homes after retirement1; however, many older people want to stay. 64 percent of seniors intend to stay in their current homes. Housing is important for seniors whether they move or remain in their homes.
Even if your family is not moving, cleaning and downsizing can make life easier and safer. It can be an emotional and stressful process, particularly if you have lived in your home for a long time. This guide will help you to make the transition easier, regardless of whether or not you plan to downsize. We will discuss how to prepare for downsizing and decluttering. Also, we will provide tips for staying sane in a bittersweet and difficult time.
- Reduce costs. Even though many retirees are on a fixed income or have limited funds, they still face unexpected expenses such as travel, healthcare, and home repairs. Moving into a smaller home can reduce property taxes, mortgage, and insurance costs. It can also mean lower utility and repair bills.
- Simplify your lifestyle. Less is better. Your grandkids may love your pool and lawn, but they become more difficult to maintain with age.
- Logistics. Things like stairs, multiple levels, outdated bathrooms, long driveways, and walkways or drives become more dangerous as we age. It is possible to age longer in an accessible and easy-to-navigate space.
- Family. Moving to a different location in later life is possible to be closer to your grandchildren or other relatives who can help you age in place.
- Medical needs. Seniors with chronic illnesses or needing more frequent medical care may be required to relocate closer to their doctor or adult daycare. It may be necessary to move to an area with medical equipment.
- Whether that is better. One study found that 25 percent of older adults want to move to warmer climates.
What Questions Should You Ask Senior Movers?
Some older adults find it difficult to decide when and where to move. You can ask a few simple questions to see if you should relocate.
- Are there any rooms that are not occupied?
- How long will you be able to afford to stay in your house?
- Maintaining your yard is simple.
- Feeling lonely?
- There are too many things you need to do.
- Do you have a lot of equity in your home?
If you have too much stuff, could be more efficient with space, or want to spend more time with friends, consider downsizing.
Prepare for Downsizing
You can reduce your possessions over time. It's a great way to stay calm and energized. You would benefit from making important decisions before downsizing to prepare for relocation.
- Plan early. Decision-making can start more than a full year in advance. If you've had the time to adapt, it will be easier to make changes. Relocating or sorting your possessions quickly will only cause you more stress.
- What and how you downsize will determine where you decide to move. Your new home's location, size, and layout will majorly impact your decision to downsize. Apartments, for instance, are much smaller than detached homes.
- Set goals and create a schedule. When will you be moving? Moving out of state often requires trucks to be loaded weeks before your move. If you are planning to “gift” something, consider the time it will take to pack and downsize.
Checklist to Downsize and Declutter Your Home
This list will be useful as you start your downsizing project.
- Plan for at least 3 months. You will always take longer to pack and process than you think. Most moving companies require several weeks' notice to transport your items. This is especially true if you're moving out of state.
- “Gift” early. This is a good time to start earmarking things for your loved ones. You could distribute them before you move.
- Make a floor plan. You can then determine what will fit in the space and where it should be placed.
- One room at a time. Only bring the essentials. Save the most important room for last. Bring only what you need. Bring only one bedroom's essentials (bed, dresser, etc.).
- Start small. Save the sentimental items (photos, family heirlooms, and art) for later. You will need more time to decide what to do with large, emotional items (art, family heirlooms, and photos).
- Prioritize your problem areas. Start small and tackle one tough job like the garage or attic. Ask for help! Ask for help!
- Sort your items into three categories: Keep, Throw Away, and Give Away. No “maybes.” Professional organizers call this “processing.” Set up labels and a system to determine what you want to keep, donate (or give to family members), or give away. Avoid the temptation to make a “maybe” pile. Limit the number or keep it at a minimum. You can avoid “analysis paralysis” by eliminating the “maybe.”
- No duplicates. Clothing is the exception. There needs to be more than three whisks. Limit large items, such as clothing. You might have 20 T-shirts, but wear only three. Then, choose your five favorite shirts and move on.
- Create a labeling system. Label the boxes according to their room and contents when you pack. When you are ready to pack, label each box with the room and contents it belongs in. Label each box indicating the room number and total number of boxes. Then, you can see if something is missing. This is an example label: “Kitchen Daily plates and bowls.” Box 1 of 10. Numbering comes last. If you make any changes, you must renumber your entire work.
- Digitize it! Memories like photos, letters, and artwork by the grandchildren can take up much space. You don't have to throw away everything. You can have your favorite videos or pictures digitized by a professional company and stored on a device that you can view anytime.
- It would help if you always had an essentials bag with you. Certain things will always be needed when moving. Prepare a bag for essentials to avoid digging through boxes on the first day. This “essentials” bag should include:
- Some outfits
- Toiletries, eyeglasses, and medications
- Important documents
- Basic kitchen supplies (disposable plates, cups, and utensils).
- Cleaning Supplies (sponges and soap)
- Paying the movers and having a small amount of cash on hand just in case
Be Positive During Downsizing
- While you are decluttering, take the time to enjoy your treasures. Take the time to appreciate your treasures while you declutter.
- Try it out. You can stay in many 55+ communities and assisted living facilities for a few days to see how it works. Adapting will be easier if you know the amenities and common areas.
- Focus on your gains, not on what you have lost. Change is never easy, so there will always be some days when it's difficult. Imagine the benefits you will receive from these changes. Imagine how much time you can spend with family and friends instead of cleaning the house or working.
- There is help available. You'll need to pay attention even if you have a professional move manager. You may need assistance reviewing contracts, negotiating prices, visiting sites, or vetting the storage facility. Reorganizing your belongings with friends and family can bring new laughs and memories.
- Set dates to chat with friends or to meet up if you're moving. You can accelerate your acclimatization by keeping busy and meeting familiar faces.
- Before you depart, enroll in classes and clubs. You can avoid anxiety and loneliness by joining a group with similar interests. Sign up for the activities you like if you've signed a contract.
Downsizing and transitioning to a more manageable living space can be significant, especially as one enters their senior year. However, the rewards of simplifying your surroundings and embracing this process are abundant. It's a journey that offers greater comfort, ease, and the opportunity to align your living situation with your evolving lifestyle and needs.
In this guide, we've explored the reasons behind downsizing, from reducing costs to simplifying your daily life, and even the logistics of ensuring a safe and accessible living space. While downsizing can be challenging, the benefits are well worth it.
To make this process as smooth as possible, we've provided a range of strategies and tips, from early planning and creating a schedule to decluttering and digitizing precious memories. These practical steps will guide you in transitioning to a more comfortable and clutter-free living environment.
As you embark on this journey of downsizing and simplifying your living space, remember that you don't have to go through it alone. Seek the assistance of professionals, such as senior movers, to help you navigate the process. Also, consider contacting a local moving supply store for packing materials and resources that can make your move easier.
For those of you in need of professional moving assistance, Karma Movers is here to help. Our experienced team can provide the support and expertise to transition seamlessly to your new, downsized home. Whether you're moving locally or long-distance, Karma Movers is dedicated to ensuring a stress-free moving experience. Contact us today to discuss your needs and make your downsizing journey positive. Visit our website or contact us