Ideas for How to Downsize When You’re a Senior

Article By: Mike Longsdon

Every room in your house has memories. It’s the house where your children took their first tottering steps. It’s the house where you celebrated countless holidays. Each picture on the wall and each knickknack has a special meaning to you. But now you’re a senior, and those steps leading up to the second floor are getting to be a bit much for your knees. Or maybe you just can’t keep up with the yard work the way you used to. These are signs that it may be time to downsize.

The decision to downsize isn’t an easy one. Maybe your adult children have persuaded you to move into a smaller home or an apartment in a retirement community. You may be struggling with sadness knowing that you won’t be able to take all of your treasured keepsakes and furniture with you. Relying on family and friends will help you get through this often difficult time so you can embrace a positive outlook and begin a new chapter in your life. Read on for some tips about how to make downsizing an easier process.

Clearing the Clutter
One of the first things you should do when tackling the overwhelming task of downsizing is to consider the size of your new home. This will determine how much furniture and which possessions you can take with you. By assessing your new digs and sketching a floor plan of all the rooms, you’ll have an accurate picture of how you can furnish your new home without cramming it full of stuff.

After you determine how much space you’ll have in the new place, it’s time to begin the decluttering process. To avoid being overwhelmed, do a little at a time. Start in a room you don’t use often. Attics, basements and bonus rooms are excellent places to begin. Create three piles: donate, give to friends, or throw away. For example, if it’s something you haven’t used in years, you probably don’t need it anymore.; consider giving it away to a charity organization. If you have trouble making a decision about a particular item, place it in storage for six months, then you can always make your decision at a later time. The average cost to rent a self-storage unit in Burbank, CA, is $104.84 a month.

Choosing a New Home for Your Golden Years
When beginning the hunt for a new home, utilize your realtor to help you through the process. A realtor will help you pinpoint the right home for your specific needs. Consider your budget and whether you want a small home or an apartment. Some seniors might even wish to investigate retirement homes or assisted living.

Seniors with arthritis or other medical issues that make it difficult for them to climb steps should stick with one-story homes, condos or apartments. Townhomes and multi-level homes may be too hard on the joints or difficult to manage as you get older.

Most people in their golden years don’t want to put a lot of money into renovations. For that reason, you may wish to select a newer home. Although newer homes cost more, they may save you money in the future. This is because older homes often require unexpected repairs as the years go by, adding extra expenses to a fixed budget.

A Smooth Moving Process
You’ve selected a new home, and you’re well on your way to starting your new life. To make your move as smooth as possible, prepare in advance. Create a moving checklist so you can keep track of all the tasks that need to be done before the big day. This ensures your move is as stress-free as possible. Utilize items that can double as a box, for example, luggage is a great way to pack up books as it is more stable than a cardboard box and has wheels.

Hire professional movers who will do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to worry about it. Letting other people empty out your house might also help you feel less emotional about the process. Make sure all your moving boxes are clearly labeled with the name of the room where they need to go. This saves valuable time and money, as your moving helpers won’t have to wait around for instructions on where each box should go. Keep your important papers, medications and a cell phone charger in a safe place away from the chaos. You don’t want to lose these crucial items and have to hunt for them when you arrive at your new home. If you don’t want your dog to get stressed out and upset during the hecticness of the move, it may be a good idea to hire a dog boarder.

Downsizing to a new home can be a frustrating and bittersweet experience. But with careful planning, a positive attitude and the right people to help you through the journey, you can begin your new life in a home where you’ll soon build beautiful memories with family and friends.