Downsizing for Older Adults

Downsize now and avoid the stress of moving into a continuing care retirement community.

Over the course of a lifetime, it is easy to collect and amass a dazzling array of … stuff. While much of it is useful and needed, there are plenty of ways to downsize our lives to make them less stressful and more organized. As an older adult, your needs might be different from others, which is why it’s important to start the downsizing process now instead of waiting until later on when it’s time to move into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).

There are six steps you need to take to make your move simple and easy. 

Determine goals

Ask yourself your ultimate plan – are you trying to simply declutter? On the other hand, is this downsizing overhaul preparation for a move to a smaller space like a CCRC? 

Most often, furniture raises a lot of questions, especially if you are moving into a smaller space. It might be useful to enlist the advice of a downsizing company that might be able to make recommendations.

No matter what you decide, the most important thing is to get started today. The sooner you begin on this project, the less stressful it will be. 

Decide what you love

Personal treasures like jewelry, scrapbooks, and collections are the hardest with which to part. After all, there are intricate memories attached to all of those items. Cleaning out and deciding what you truly love can be difficult. To help with this, leave your most valuable objects for last. That way, you will have a better understanding of how much space you have – and you can better determine what you take with you.

Gather paperwork

For any move, you are going to need to take care of some paperwork. This includes making copies of your identification in case it is accidentally misplaced during the move. Update your new address with all government organizations and utility providers. Do not forget to contact your insurance providers too. You will need to fill out a change of address form with the post office and make sure you update subscription services. 

If you are moving into a CCRC, then discuss these steps with their admin department. They may handle much of this paperwork for you. 

Sort and list

Once your paperwork is assembled, it is time to start actually downsizing your home. The easiest way to do this is to start with the simplest room in your house. Create sorted piles in each room of your home so you can get visual for what you want to keep, sell, or donate. 

Items you need to keep are important documents and your most valuable personal treasures.

The items you want to sell are those that might be useful for others. You might not need them any longer. Consider a yard sale or having someone help you list them online.

Donate items that you will not have a use for in your new space.

Prep and pack

Packing should begin with the items you want to keep and take with you. Move through each room and pack items that are related to each other. Most often, it is helpful to hire a packing company, so you do not have to trouble yourself with making sure the packing is safe and secure. 

Always create an important box that contains the things you will need immediately on your first night in your new space. This includes bathroom items, your cell phone charger, moving agreement, medication, and other necessities. 

Move and settle in 

If you hire a moving company, you are not required to lift any boxes at all. Make sure you keep watch on the movers, so none of your possessions are damaged. Once you are settled in your new space, unpack the important box first. Remember that it might take a few days to unpack everything completely, and that is just fine. This is an exciting time and a brand-new journey for you, so make sure you enjoy it.

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