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Guest post from Aaron Mears with House Stories
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Uprooting and downsizing to a smaller home can be an overwhelming task for anyone, but it is especially difficult for seniors. Fortunately, there are strategies and tips that can ease this transition and help you manage the many tasks involved in downsizing.
Regardless of the reason behind it, downsizing can be difficult because there are so many decisions you have to make. You will have to decide what to do with cherished items that take up space, how much you should keep, and where these items will go. You may be out of your depth in terms of the process itself.
So here are some tips that can help you to move forward in this phase of your life:
Start before you need to
Start early, but don’t wait too long. It’s hard to take time away from taking care of others and running a household, but the earlier you begin the process, the easier it will be later on.
Make sure to talk to your family about your intentions as soon as you know them. Having open and honest conversations about the future can help to reduce stress for everyone, and will allow your loved ones to be part of this important process.
Make a list of everything you own and want to keep
Ideally, this list will be in the order of importance to you. Do you really need to keep that old chair? How about the armoire or bookshelf? The items on your list should include every item including personal property such as jewelry and clothing. You might be surprised to find out how much stuff you have.
Allow some time for reflection
If you are recently widowed or recently moved into a smaller house, wait before starting any project that will require extensive energy. If this is not possible, then set up your new space backward – fill it up completely with everything you own, including the things that are not important to you. Once every room from your new home is completely full of your possessions, then go through each room and remove half of them. This way, you will have a better idea of what you still need.
If you are hesitant about leaving your home or certain belongings a great way to “keep” them close is by taking photographs. Photographs help to preserve memories and by taking photos of special items before you let them go, you will actually be able to keep those precious memories.
Plan for the future
Don’t forget about what is important to you in the long run. Are there certain pieces of furniture or decorations that might not fit now but are still very important? If you ever plan on moving into an assisted living or nursing home, bring it up with your family and friends. If that’s not the case for you yet, consider downsizing gradually because if you wait until the last minute to move out of your large house, you will need to replace those items by necessity and will probably be unable to find them easily.
Enlist the help of family and friends
The best way to begin downsizing is with family and friends. Have a garage sale or ask the children of your friends if they would like to take certain items off of your hands. Remember, most things can be replaced but memories cannot!
Having family members help with downsizing is not only a great way to reflect on the past, laugh about old items or memories and spend time together, it will also come in handy if you need help with heavy lifting or moving furniture.
Make your new space feel like home
Whether you are downsizing to an apartment or another house, make sure that your new space is set up the same way as your old home. For example, if you organize your spices by color then it might help to keep them in the same order. Keeping routines and maintaining the environment you are used to will ease the transition into living in a new space.
You can also use this approach with decorating. Setting up your new space with things that were most important to you in your previous home will help you feel at ease in this new space.
Go easy on yourself
Finally, give yourself some grace. Transitioning from one home to another is always accompanied by mixed emotions. Make sure to go at your own pace, and remember it’s ok to feel sadness when leaving. The memories you make in your home will never go away, and neither will the lessons you learned.
Downsizing your home can be difficult, especially if it is for a person who is retired but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow these tips for seniors downsizing to a smaller house and you’ll find that the process goes smoother than you could imagine. By using these tips for seniors downsizing to a smaller house you’ll find that it’s easier than ever before. Good luck!