Downsizing for seniors – tips and tricks
Home Improvement Guide - October 11, 2019
Most older people know that the day will come when they will have to downsize or to simplify their lifestyles. To reduce costs, to move with the best moving company Texas to get closer to their grandchildren, or to meet medical needs. This is often stressful and tolling – both emotionally and physically. But this should not be overwhelming. Here are some tips to make downsizing for seniors much easier.
How to facilitate downsizing for seniors
1. Start early
Give yourself plenty of time for this process because it will inevitably take longer than you expect. Take your time and do not try to sort out your whole house in one day or weekend. Packing your home in a day is not a very wise decision. From a couple of weeks to a month – that is a more realistic schedule. Take one room at a time and take breaks.
Go through each item one by one. It is important to pay attention to everything that you have, at least for a second or two. It will also help you develop an excellent decision-making system because you learn to focus and then choose.
2. Start small
You may already be throwing away the things you want to get rid of in the kitchen or in the garage. But avoid diving into such a large room at the very beginning. You have years and years of things to figure out. Start with an area with little emotional attachment. A laundry room or wardrobe are good options.
3. Clean up rooms that you will not have in your new home
If you are moving to Austin to an apartment or townhouse, you may not have a garage or office space. Almost everything in these places will need to be sold, donated, thrown away or moved to other rooms. These areas can also be good consignment or garage sale items. Good office furniture and outdoor tools are more valuable than old sofas or mattresses.
4. Get rid of duplicates
You will find that this is especially true in your kitchen. You have two or three spatulas and ladles, a pair of oversized pots and four cookie sheets of different sizes. Now is the time to reduce the clutter before moving. If you don’t want to give this second pan away because you use it every Christmas (but not at any other time of the year), consider giving it to your child or grandchild who can bring it for the holiday and take it home when they leave.
5. Do only piles of “Yes” or “No” – no Maybes
When you go through years of belongings, some things will reach for your heartstrings, and you will be tempted to collect the third bunch of things that you can keep if you have a place. Do not fall for it. You will get a bunch of “Maybes”, which is larger than either of the other two. When this happens, you have not made any progress in sorting, just moved it across the room.
Take a close look at each item you take. If you use it regularly, save it. But the time has come to let go of something if it has been sitting in a closet or on a shelf for a year or more.
6. Reduce collections creatively
We know that downsizing for seniors is not easy. It may be difficult to let go of the entire collection of china dolls or snowballs from all your vacations. But they will eat up a lot of space or end up in a box where you will never see them. Instead, select a pair to keep and take high-resolution photos of the others. And then turn them into a photo book that can fit on your coffee table or mantle. You and guests can enjoy them without a mess. There are also tech tools or websites, such as Fotobridge.com, that convert these negatives into digital photos.
7. Do not be afraid to sell things yourself
With Craigslist, eBay, numerous smartphone apps, garage sales and an abundance of consignment stores, selling your items has never been easier. You probably won’t make a ton of money on most items, so think about how much time you want to invest.
Yard sales are generally faster, but items are not sold for the same amount. Craigslist has its flaws, but you will have a much wider audience and you can probably get more for your stuff. A consignment is a good option for expensive furniture, bags and other accessories. The prices are reasonable, and sometimes they will pick up heavy furniture for you.
If you are not computer savvy, your grandchildren can probably help. But if all this sounds like something more than you want to deal with, hiring a company to manage your property sales might be your best bet.
8. Consider legacy gifts early
Is there an antique clock in your foyer that you plan to leave one day for your son? Maybe the porcelain collection your granddaughter loves? If there are certain family heirlooms or items in your will that you plan to leave for your family, consider giving these gifts now.
This has two advantages: you remove objects from your path and simplify your long-distance relocation, and now you can enjoy the sensation that you give to your loved ones. While you are doing this, find out if there are any things that your children want that you do not know about. You may find a simple way to make them happy and lighten your workload.
9. Let yourself remember for a while
While you are cleaning and sorting, there will be days when you want to stop emptying children’s bedrooms and just view kindergarten drawings, football trophies and stuffed animals that were once valued. It’s normal to pause and let nostalgia get down to business a bit. Cry if necessary, or move to another room and come back. That’s why you started early – just don’t let this hamper your work.
10. Use this as a chance to bond
Invite your children and grandchildren for the weekend. Talk to the young about where you bought your favorite trinkets. Tell them about the heirlooms of your family. Let them help you pack, ask questions, and spend time with you.
This may be another moment when your family will live together in your favorite home before you start making these memories together in your next home. Remember that your family is important for your memories, not the things around you. With our tips for downsizing for seniors, you will go through this process much more easily.