Entering your senior years often means wanting to simplify your life. With that in mind, you may be looking to downsize. The process can be overwhelming at times, and you may struggle with how much you should handle. Preparing ahead of time will help you manage your transition wisely and reduce stress.
Let’s face it, we tend to accumulate “stuff.” One of the first things you need to do is take a hard look at what you own and decide what you’re keeping. Items you keep should be either necessary or loved, and items you don’t keep are those which are unnecessary or worn out. You can offer them to family members, donate them to charities, or discard them. And while it’s easy to say you’ll sort all your things into those categories, it’s much harder to do.
The AARP suggests starting with your kitchen, family room, and living room. Since we generally do the bulk of our living in these rooms, they tend to be the most cluttered. From these rooms, work your way outward and don’t stop with the interior. Make sure you sort through everything, even in the garage and yard.
If you can’t decide what furniture items to keep, one idea is to make a floorplan of the home you’re moving into and do some planning. You can create a mock-up of where your large pieces of furniture will go, moving things in theoretically before the actual move. You might even discover you need to reconsider pieces you thought you could keep and replace them with smaller items.
Once you’ve decided what to keep, start packing. It’s important to label your boxes as you go. You can note the appropriate room on each box and what it contains. You might also find it helpful to color-code boxes to know at a glance where they go. A pile of boxes can feel overwhelming, but by knowing what each box contains and where it should be, it streamlines the unpacking process.
Moving with a pet can be stressful for your furry family member. For pets who aren’t used to being in a crate or carrier, some professionals advise acclimating them ahead of time. Pack your pet’s items last and keep your pet in a quiet room away from chaos on moving day. Try to keep your four-legged friend’s normal routine throughout the moving process, and when you reach the new abode, introduce the space to your pet gradually. You should include familiar toys, beds, and other items among the first things you unpack so your pet can feel at home quickly.
Making efficient use of your new space will help you live comfortably in your smaller dwelling. Prepare your new home before you move in, starting life there fresh and organized. Clean thoroughly and set up any organizing or closet systems so you can begin putting your items where they belong. If you end up needing a closet installed, HomeAdvisor notes that in Atlanta, GA, the average price to build a new closet ranges from $1,357 to $2,846, and the project takes about three to four weeks to complete.
Throughout the process, it’s important to take care of yourself. You’ll need your strength and energy for the move, and some studies show allowing stress to take over can be detrimental to your health and well-being. Make time for relaxation, ensure you get enough sleep, and keep your priorities in order. Simple things like setting aside time for your favorite television show or engaging in meditation can reduce your stress levels. It’s important to take time daily just for you.
Recognize there is no point in wearing yourself down physically or mentally. If the downsizing process becomes too much, hiring a senior move manager may be the right choice for you. These professionals can handle the entire process, from sorting and packing your things, to setting up utilities in your new abode. If you’re unsure where to start, the National Association of Senior Move Managers can help you find screened and qualified professionals.
The first step toward downsizing is to reduce your “stuff.” Then do your packing and prepare your new home. Ensure you take care of yourself throughout the journey, and your downsize will be a big success!
Article by Bret Engle
Photo via Pixabay