Sometimes it’s difficult for downsizing seniors to come to terms with the idea of moving from their home of decades. Today’s START to downsize article, Top 10 Tips For Downsizing Seniors, can help them toward their goal of living well with less.
1. Every successful experience, including downsizing, starts in one’s mind.
Before you sort through one drawer or pack one box, think about all the benefits you will reap from downsizing:
- Less space to clean and maintain
- More time for favorite activities, to learn new skills, more time with family and friends
- Less stuff = less stress
2. Give yourself plenty of time.
Moving is never easy, no matter your age, so start the process early.
- Develop a plan, write it down and post it where you will see it -
Example: “I want to downsize my house in one year.”
- Set goals to keep yourself on track, but keep them manageable -
Example: “I will go through a small room every two weeks and a large room every month.”
Break down the process into small bites – do a drawer a day, more if you’re on a roll.
Give yourself a special reward for each room you downsize. The reward doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be something special to you.
- Schedule deadlines -
Example: Mark your calendar with each room’s projected completion date. By doing a little every day, you’ll make your deadlines with ease.
3. Pace yourself -
Downsizing is like any kind of exercise; you’ll develop stamina for it a little at a time. That’s why it’s important to allow yourself plenty of time for the job. Set yourself up for success by pacing yourself. Just don’t slow your pace so much you stop.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from a friend. Objectivity can help with decision making.
4. Start downsizing seldom-used rooms first -
Example: Attics, basements, garages are usually repositories for old clothes, furniture, family items, etc.
Take advantage of these easy downsizing opportunities for a fast start:
- Return borrowed items to their owner.
- Have family members pick up anything you’ve been storing for them.
5. Sort items into groups –
Sell-at a garage sale, on Ebay, on Craig’s List
Donate to charity
Give to friend/family
Use different-colored adhesive dots to identify each group. This will help to control chaos during the sorting process.
6. Use the following criteria to decide what goes where -
First, rate each item by answering these three questions:
- Do you love it?
- Will you use it?
- Is it beautiful?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, the item goes.
If you answered “yes” to these questions, move on to the next set of questions:
- Do you have room for this item in your new home?
- Is the item valuable? Get it appraised if you don’t know. If it’s valuable, decide which you’d rather have, the money or the item.
7. Consider sharing your family heirlooms sooner rather than later, if you won’t have room for them in your new home –
If you’re not ready to part with your things and you’ll have adequate room in your new place, ask each family member what heirloom they’d like and make a list. Send a copy of the list to each person and place another with your will; this should eliminate squabbles.
8. Schedule pickup of charity donations and plan for shipment, transfer or pickup of family heirlooms, if you’re sharing them now.
9. Plan for disposal of hazardous materials, including -
- Old paint
- Computer monitors
Check with your city or county for details; special curbside pickup is available in certain areas. A nominal fee may be charged per disposed item.
10. Shred outdated personal financial and insurance documents -
If you don’t own a shredder, here are some alternatives:
- Borrow one from friends or family
- Many banks offer regular shredding opportunities at no cost to account holders.
- Check with for-profit shredding businesses. In order to produce enough shredded material to sell to pulpers, many shredding businesses offer free shredding to the public once a week.
Take advantage of these Top 10 Tips For Downsizing Seniors yourself or pass them along to someone who needs them and become equipped to live well with less. START to downsize today!
Do you have more tips for downsizing seniors? Send them over in Comments!