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These are the Ins and Outs of Managing Downsizing as a Senior

May 9, 2018

Today we have a guest post from Harry Cline, author of "The A-Z Home Care Handbook" and owner of newcaregiver.org.  He specializes in senior care, which often necessitates downsizing - something we are hired to deal with often.  Below he offers some tips to help navigate the process.

 

More seniors than ever before opt to downsize. After all, downsizing means less house to care for, decreased clutter, and lower utility bills. But, downsizing itself can be quite a large task. Our tips will make it more manageable.

 

1. Start Early

 

Once you decide to downsize, get started with your efforts sooner rather than later. Moving from a large family home to a smaller home means sorting belongings, decluttering, and organizing. The earlier you start downsizing your stuff, the better. You won’t feel as overwhelmed by the prospect of going through each room and closet, and you’ll get a better idea of how much space you will need in your new place.

 

Starting early also gives you time to involve your children in downsizing. Chances are, you have trophies, school projects, books, toys, and other items in your home that belong to your adult children. You likely hung onto them because of their sentimental value, but downsizing means that it’s time to pass them to their rightful owners. It is important to keep in mind, though, that your children may not want these items, or even some of the keepsakes and heirlooms you planned to give them.

 

According to the New York Times, many adult children don’t want family heirlooms because they consider them outdated, don’t need traditional status symbols, or have adopted a minimalist lifestyle. Having conversations with your children about what you intend to give them is an important component of downsizing, not only because you can get items out of your house sooner but because you may need some time to accept that your children don’t want your belongings.

 

2. Sort and Organize

 

After you know which items you children don’t want, you’ll be able to start sorting and organizing your remaining stuff. HouseBeautiful suggests that you keep important papers and files. Also, keep the most sentimental heirlooms so you don’t regret giving them away, electronics that contain personal information until you are sure they are wiped clean, emergency supplies, basic kitchen and bathroom supplies, photographs and frames, and unexpired medication and toiletries. As you determine what to keep, downsize them further by digitizing documents and photographs.

 

Then, go through each room and closet and make four piles: garbage, donate, sell, and keep. Trash broken items and those that no longer work. Donate extra sets of towels, sheets, cleaning supplies, and clothing to local charitable organizations. Hold a garage sale to sell large pieces of furniture, extra dishes, and other household items. An alternative to a garage sale is to sell your items online: The Balance shares tips for making extra money selling your stuff online and offers suggestions for the platforms that help people sell more quickly.

 

3. Make Moving More Manageable

 

Sorting and organizing your belongings is the toughest part of downsizing. Once you’ve done that, it is much easier to find a smaller home and sell yours because you’ll know exactly how much space you need, and your current home will be clean and organized to appeal to more buyers.

 

When moving day comes, make it easy on yourself by hiring movers. Hiring moving help is ideal because these professionals have the equipment and know-how to get your belongings safely to your new home quickly. You won’t risk falling or hurting yourself while carrying appliances or furniture that is too heavy for you, and you’ll be more relaxed knowing your items are in good hands. To ensure that is the case, research local moving companies and read reviews.

 

Be sure to ask your movers about the busiest moving times and avoid them. On average, most moves occur between April and September, with June, July, and August being the busiest months. The beginning and end of each month, morning time slots, and weekends have the greatest demand, so be prepared to schedule early to get the best availability.

 

Seniors tend to downsize to simplify life and save money. When you decide to downsize, start early and plan to spend the bulk of your time sorting and organizing. Then, hire movers to complete the downsizing process.

 

Image via Pixabay by JamesDeMers

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