Making the decision to downsize is a complex process. There are many memories tied up in a house, especially if it’s the one you raised your children in. You’ve likely spent years or a lifetime turning the house into your home, filling it with possessions and making cherished memories.
Downsizing is made all the more complex due to the sheer amount of things you have to do while downsizing. Moving from a larger home to a smaller one means getting rid of many possessions, which adds extra layers of emotions. It also gets complicated because once you’ve decided what to part with, you have to figure out what to do with all of it.
Even if you’re looking forward to downsizing and the reduced upkeep your new home will require, getting there is a challenge. Luckily, there are ways to navigate the downsizing process that can make it feel less overwhelming and perhaps even enjoyable. Here are some tips for seniors looking to downsize.
Ask for Help
Don’t feel like you have to take on the task all alone. Ask kids or grandkids for any assistance they can provide, especially in areas you don’t feel confident about, like selling items online.
If you can’t or don’t want to ask for help from friends or relatives, or even if you do get help from them but also need a more experienced hand, consider hiring a professional downsizing service. Having support from professional organizers who have experience helping seniors with downsizing and moving can be a huge relief and an essential resource at what can be an emotional time.
Start Early and Take Your Time
If you know that you plan to downsize far in advance, starting the process earlier is best. It gives you more time to spread the project of decluttering and donating items apart and more time to take walks down memory lane.
Sometimes life happens, and downsizing has to be done quite suddenly. If that’s the case, it’s all the more reason to get help from a professional service. Having a professional and experienced downsizing service to help you navigate the process can be a huge benefit, especially if you or your spouse are dealing with a health issue that makes downsizing urgent.
Sort and Declutter
Decluttering is an essential step in the downsizing process. You need to consider the amount of space your new home will have and what you can comfortably fit into it. As with any move, downsizing is an opportunity to go through your belongings, pare down on things you no longer want or need, and donate or pass them on to people who do want them.
As you declutter, you should make separate piles for what you want to keep, donate or throw away. If you have collections or items that you think might be worth something, add a pile for selling too. Find local charities and organizations that can use the things you don’t want anymore. Most things can be donated unless they are broken or falling apart (and you might be able to find someone still willing to take those items too). It might be challenging to part with some of your belongings, but knowing they went on to be used by someone else can bring positive feelings.
Digitizing is an incredible resource when it comes to downsizing. Some may get overwhelmed by the idea, but it is straightforward. Once things are digital, all it takes is a few clicks or taps to open them on your device. Going digital allows you to let go of physical belongings that take up space while retaining memories.
Bills and correspondence are some things that can be digitized and organized to reduce paper clutter. Digitizing photos and videos allow you to remember all the highlights of your life without needing big bulky boxes or photo albums. And you can even take pictures of your home before decluttering to keep all the memories intact. The items that you get rid of, including extensive collections, can all be photographed and stored digitally.
Enjoy the Process
Many emotions go along with downsizing, even more when it’s not something you’re excited about. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy the process. The first thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel any emotion you experience. But also consider finding moments of joy in going through your belongings and remembering the stories behind them. If you digitize family photos, take the time to recall making those memories.