You’ve done your research, visited several senior living communities in the North Shore area and decided which one best meets your needs. You’re looking forward to making new friends, not having to cook dinner every night and having more time to do the things you enjoy. There’s only thing stopping you from taking the plunge: downsizing.
Here are 10 downsizing tips for seniors to help you sort through a lifetime of possessions and free yourself from a houseful of stuff you no longer want or need.
- Make a plan — If you have a moving date in mind, you can plan workdays to get the job done without exhausting yourself. Define goals for each workday on your calendar and write down who will need to be involved to accomplish those goals. Involve friends and relatives early so they can be ready to help when those days arrive.
- Start early — Give yourself time to approach the process methodically. Start months ahead of moving day and sort one room at a time. The key to downsizing is not finishing the process; it’s starting it.
- Keep sorting sessions short — About two hours is ideal for most seniors. Start with the simplest room first. If you start with the most complicated area you may get discouraged and quit. Starting with a simple room helps build your confidence.
- Use the new space as a guide — When deciding what to take with you, it’s essential to know the measurements of your new living space. Taped off floor space in your current home may help you visualize where each item will fit in your new home. At Sedgebrook, our interior designer, Joseph Jania, can help bring your vision to life.
- Focus on the most-used items — Don’t go by the newest and the best; go by what you use on a regular basis. If you’re not sure, set the items aside, preferably out of sight, and see how you get along without them. You might be surprised how little you notice they’re gone.
- Identify why it’s important to you — Be able to articulate each item’s purpose. Is it necessary? Is there sentimental value to the item? Is it of significant financial value? Would a family member or friend appreciate it or use it?
- Sort items into five categories — Start with boxes or containers to separate items between five piles: those to keep, gift, donate, sell or throw away. Toss anything that’s chipped, broken or stained. Check with local donation centers to see which items they’ll accept; many donation centers offer free pick-up, which can be a real time-saver.
- Digitize photos and important documents — Consider hiring a company to digitize photos, memorabilia and collections that you won’t have space for in your new home. Important documents can also be digitized at a reasonable price. You can also have copies made to give to family members.
- Think twice before selling items on your own — Craigslist, eBay and other options are time-consuming when you’re trying to downsize a houseful of stuff. If you’re selling something of high value, consider getting it appraised by an auction house.
- Feeling overwhelmed? Call in the professionals — If you’re struggling, find yourself short on time or simply prefer to have a professional help you decide what to do with your possessions, senior move managers are available to help. At Sedgebrook, we work with senior moving specialists who can provide as much or as little assistance as you wish. Services range from organizing and downsizing for seniors to packing and unpacking.
If the thought of downsizing seems daunting, you’re not alone. But it’s important to remember that the best things in life aren’t the things we own; they’re the relationships and experiences we have that enrich our lives and make life worth living. And that’s what senior living at Sedgebrook is all about. To learn more about the benefits of small space living in Lincolnshire, IL, call us at 847-876-2109 or use our Contact Us form.