By Janet Campbell [firstname.lastname@example.org]
As a senior, there may be several reasons for wanting to downsize your home. You may want to move closer to loved ones, to a warmer area, or because of financial reasons. Whatever the case may be, there are certain steps that can ensure that a smooth and easy transition.
Finding the Right Home
Deciding on the right home for your golden years can take a bit of reflection and research. Before attempting to downsize your current home, make sure that it is a financially viable solution. Typically, if you can’t cut your living expenses by 25 percent, it may not be a suitable option in the long run.
If you know that it makes sense financially to downsize your home, there are many other things to consider; your lifestyle is an easy place to start. For example, perhaps you are still working and need a dedicated office space. Or perhaps you intend on having family or other guests visit, and need extra living space. Other factors to consider are purely practical: How easy is it to move around? Can you access all of the appliances? Is it in the right location for your needs? Is a condo or single family home more practical? Try to brainstorm everything you are going to require, and see to it that your new living situation meets those needs.
Once you have established where your new home is going to be, it’s time for the hard part: deciding on what to keep and what to get rid of. The floor plan of your new home is key: if you know what furniture and other possessions will fit and what won’t, it will make the decision process much easier.
An article published in the New York Times outlined some of the benefits of hiring a professional moving manager for seniors. These moving managers specialize in helping seniors make the tough decisions, such as what to store with relatives, what to sell at auctions or liquidate, and what to throw away. They also take the brunt of heavy lifting, which can be extremely hazardous for elderly people to take on. Furthermore, they allow you to separate yourself from the moving process, which can be a daunting and potentially traumatic experience.
Making the Move
A moving checklist can help make your move as organized and smooth as possible. This checklist includes creating a division of assets—a who gets what—among your family, friends and loved ones. This should be done well in advance of the move date to avoid any contention in what can already be a stressful time. Be assertive about re-homing your items, and don’t focus on what you’re losing, but on what you’re giving to someone else. Keep the belongings that are most sentimental to you, and be willing to settle for photos of anything you simply don’t have the room to keep.
Pack one room at a time and be strategic — put clothing, linens, and small accessories in suitcases instead of boxes, for example. Use small boxes for heavier items and large boxes for lighter items to make for easier transport. Labeling boxes for what goes where can also save time and improve efficiency.
The most important thing to remember when downsizing and moving to a new home is to be patient with yourself. Make extra time for you throughout this process by eliminating tasks you may not necessarily have to do. For example, consider a grocery service, dog walking service or dog boarding service. By employing such services, you will save yourself both time and hassle so that you can focus on the somewhat difficult process of moving.
Because moving from a beloved home into an unfamiliar one can be an emotionally trying time, so allow yourself space to grieve and don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, religious leaders, or a counselor for support. Once you’ve had time to heal, you’ll see the beauty in living a simplified life and be glad you made the change.