How to Downsize Without Stress: Guide for Seniors

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Real Estate

Seniors often downsize to simplify their life, address medical needs, move closer to grandchildren, or cut their costs of living after retirement. The process can be stressful and emotionally overwhelming, especially if you've been in the same home for decades. On the other hand, downsizing can also be an uplifting experience, giving you a fresh and renewed outlook on life. Here are some tips to help everything go smoothly.


Find Your Perfect Retirement Home


There are a few key things to look for when finding the right home for your retirement years. The Balance recommends avoiding low-population areas since these often have few human services available. Look for locations with a low crime rate, a full-service medical facility nearby and recreational opportunities. Before moving to a new town or city, visit the places you're interested in to get a sense of the neighborhood. Ideally, choose a home that doesn't have stairs since mobility can become a problem as you age. The house you choose should also be well-maintained so you're not stuck throwing money at costly repairs. Many seniors enjoy small patio homes for their low cost and various amenities.


Declutter Methodically


Going through all of your possessions can feel overwhelming, so it’s important to approach this task with a solid plan. Before you start, have an idea of the size of your future home so you know how much stuff you can hang on to. Aim to declutter room by room to keep it manageable. You could even organize each room by small sections so you can complete each one in an allotted time frame.


Note down a realistic time frame for each section so you can get an idea of how long the entire process will take you. That way, you can schedule breaks for yourself to prevent getting burnt out. For each item that you decide to hold onto, think about exactly where that item will go in your new home. What room does it belong in? In what drawer? This will ensure you have a place for everything after your move.


Decide What to Do with Your Possessions


When it comes to getting rid of the things you no longer want, you have three basic options: donate, sell or throw away. Selling your possessions takes a bit more work but is a great way to make some extra cash. There are many places you can find buyers including consignment stores, eBay, Craigslist or yard sales. Before selling things, make sure the payoff is worth the time and energy that goes into selling. Hire an appraiser to assess the value of your possessions so you get the most out of them.



Donating is another good way to rehome your possessions. Just make sure anything you give away is in good shape. If you wouldn't pass it on to a friend, don't donate it. Throwing items away is difficult because it feels wasteful, but it does expedite the process and is the only way to get rid of well-worn items.


Get Help on Moving Day


Before moving day, you must decide whether or not to hire someone to help you move. YourStorageFinder recommends assessing your physical health and what kind of time constraints you’re under. If you’re just moving across town, and you have plenty of time to move all your belongings, you may be able to get away without spending money on a moving company. However, you'll probably value the help of friends and family because moving can drain your energy pretty quickly.


To avoid injury, keep packed boxes on the lighter side and use proper lifting techniques. You should also keep pets away from the home during your move since moving is extremely stressful for animals. It’s easy for them to get overwhelmed and even injured in the hustle and bustle of moving day, so consider boarding them to protect their well-being.


Remember, making the transition to a smaller home and fewer belongings can be an emotional experience. Not only that, but couples often clash when deciding which items to keep and throw away. Be prepared to encounter various emotions during downsizing and remember that learning to let go is an important part of the experience.

Mike Longsdon

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