Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same logic applies to downsizing to senior living: it takes time, a bit of patience, and a sense of humor—with a few pizzas thrown in! Whether you’re moving yourself, or helping a loved one make the transition, there are ways to keep the stress to a minimum.
Downsizing to senior living: easy does it
Get a feel for what you have
Living in a home for years, it can be easy to not even realize all the things you have. Furniture that’s been in the family for years. Unread books and stacks of magazines. knickknacks and décor that somehow has way too much dust. (Where did that ceramic pig come from anyway?)
First step is to just walk around your home, and really look at it. Maybe start a list of things you immediately know you don’t want to keep. Note if you have duplicates of items. What’s hiding in the closets? You don’t have to clean them out yet, just see what’s in there. And don’t forget the garage or storage building, or what’s stored in the attic.
It might feel overwhelming, but it’s a good way to start organizing your process for downsizing to senior living.
Some categories might be: Donate. Throw Away. Talk to Family. Must Keep. Maybe. Note any oversized furnishings you have and think about whether you would rather not take them, as your new space will be smaller and you don’t want to crowd it. Research some charitable organizations and write down their contact information so you can find out what they will and won’t accept.
Take it one step at time
Start small. Tackle one closet at a time. Or one room at a time. This will not only help you not feel lost in the process, it will help you make better choices as you go through the rest of your home. Rest often.
Download our free guide, Successful Transitions to Senior Living.
Start your piles
Be gentle with yourself: sometimes it’s hard to decide right away about something you’ve had for years. Consider a pile for clothing or small items you definitely do not want to keep. Make another for those things that you know you want to take with you. And let yourself have a “maybe” pile: downsizing to senior living is ongoing adventure, and you could change your mind a few times. That’s okay!
Make it a family affair
Invite your family over to help, and to see if they are interested in keeping something for you. Perhaps your niece has always admired your antique cabinet. Or might be willing to house your grandmother’s dishes for you.
Downsizing to senior living is a good time to share memories with grandchildren about the things that have brought you joy over the years. Put on some music and have some pizza or other refreshments. If you are relaxed and positive, those around you will be as well.
Let yourself let go
Remember, it’s not the item, it’s the memories behind it. So consider photographing that tea cup collection so you can look at it whenever you choose, and donate the items to a charity. Think about how happy someone might be to have it. Downsizing to senior living is a great time to pass on the joy!
Keep looking ahead
If you feel your enthusiasm dragging a bit, remind yourself what it’s all for: lightening your load for a new beginning in a carefree lifestyle. No more housekeeping, raking leaves, fixing worn-out appliances or boring afternoon. Instead, you’re headed to an easygoing lifestyle focused on your happiness and longevity.
Live the good life—and retire without worry!
Downsizing can be very liberating, especially when you are making a move to the right senior living community. At St. Mark Village, you can be as active as you want to be, supported in every way, with seamless access to future care options. We make retirement an exciting journey. Let us tell you more.