The downsizing process has become a national industry. There are televisions shows, books, businesses and products focused on simplifying our lifestyles and getting rid of things we don’t need. But, if you are downsizing as a part of a move to senior living, “simplifying” may not always seem so simple.
Joy Brother is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist with Lutheran Senior Services. For years, Joy has helped older adults move into LSS Life Plan Communities. Here are a few of her helpful tips!
1. Start now.
If you have made a deposit on a senior living apartment or patio home, it’s time to start going through your stuff. It will make your move easier, and it will make your first few days in your new community more enjoyable. The old adage “A job begun is half done” applies here! The sooner you start downsizing, the sooner you’ll see results, making you feel much better about your upcoming move.
2. Start small.
Unless you have moved a lot, you may be unprepared for just how long it can take to downsize. The best way to approach the task is to take it in little bites. Instead of tackling your bedroom, tackle your bedroom closet. Once the closet is done, move onto the dresser drawers, the bookshelves, the nightstands. Resist the temptation to downsize your whole house at once.
3. Keep going.
Make a downsizing schedule, setting aside an hour each day or each week to take on the next part of the project. Use the time in between sessions to donate or throw things away. It will make packing much easier when the time comes if your household “inventory” is reduced.
4. If you don’t use it, lose it.
Even the most spacious senior living apartment can’t hold the contents of a whole house. These “rules” may help you let go of things:
- If you haven’t used it for a year, pitch it.
- If you still love your china, get rid of all but 4 place settings.
- If you’ve lost a loved one, keep one precious article of theirs. Take pictures of the rest.
5. If you don’t wear it, share it.
Clothes take up space, so you’ll only want to move what you’ll actually wear. If you have items in your wardrobe that are stained, torn, or just plain don’t fit, consider giving them to charity. You may also choose to donate incomplete outfits, such as jackets or pants in need of companion pieces.
6. If it fits, it goes.
Once you’ve gone through your clothes and your household items, it’s time to think about furniture. An LSS Move-In Resource Specialist can help. (S)he will help you measure and “place” your furniture in a floor plan grid to help you understand the natural traffic patterns in your new home and to help your movers on the big day. If, in the planning process, you discover some pieces won’t fit, you can give them to family members or donate them to Hidden Gems Resale through Lutheran Senior Services.
7. Use the three-sticker system.
If an apartment or patio home has become available and your move is imminent, you need to downsize using the three-sticker system. Label items to keep, to donate and to throw away. Throwing away as you go will help you keep areas clear so you can continue to work.
8. Use the help of family and friends.
Your loved ones can be a tremendous help as you begin downsizing your home. Not only do they provide company, they also sometimes take items off your hands that you no longer have room for! On the day of the move, however, it’s best to give LSS staff and movers the room they need to get you settled. The next day, you can invite family and friends to your new home to help you unpack!
9. Use LSS resources.
Lutheran Senior Services is in the move-in business! We put new residents in touch with estate sale professionals, buy-out companies, auctioneers, and professional organizers to help the move-in process go as smoothly as possible.
Downsizing is just one of the ways that Lutheran Senior Services simplifies life for older adults. Healthy meals, neighborhood activities and on-site services combine for a carefree lifestyle that can help you live life to the fullest! To learn more, please call 314.968.9313.