3 Tips for Smart Senior Downsizing

Posted by Danielle Doucet on Thursday, March 15th, 2018 at 2:34pm.

Tips for seniors downsizingNow that the kids are grown and moved away, do you really need all that square footage in your home?

While it’s nice to have a little extra space for entertaining guests, a house that’s too big just becomes a hassle to maintain. And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t want to spend your retired years racing to keep up with chores.

That’s one of the reasons downsizing in retirement is so popular with the Baby Boomer generation. Nearly 40 percent of adults aged 50 to 69 plan to move in retirement, and of those, 54 percent of those plan to downsize into a house that’s either smaller or cheaper than their current home, or both.

Despite the appeal of a more manageable home, many seniors are scared away from moving because of the effort it takes. Not only do you have to sell your home and buy a new one, but you have to sort through a house that’s been filling up with stuff for decades. It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth it in exchange for spending your retirement in the perfect home or retirement community.

If you’re facing the task of downsizing but aren’t sure where to start, these tips are for you.

1. Make a Plan and Start Early

Start your downsizing journey by developing a plan of attack, and give yourself plenty of time. In fact, Closetbox recommends that you “start as soon as you think about moving”. Draw up a blueprint of your new home, complete with dimensions for each room so you know what furniture will fit. Make note of any rooms you have in your current home that aren’t in the new place, and vice versa. Any room that doesn’t have a counterpart in your new house will have to be emptied more or less completely.Why choose a Realtor

Next, develop a schedule that lets you tackle one room per day. Spread the work out over the course of several weeks so you don’t get burned out, and give yourself more time than you think you’ll need for each room. It’s a good idea to start with an easy room, like a guest bedroom or linen closet, before moving onto bedrooms and attics.

2. Condense Memories

No one wants to part with memories, but over the years, a few sentimental items can grow into full-blown sentimental clutter. Older adults may feel like holding onto physical belongings is the only way to keep memories close, but there are a lot of creative ways to preserve the memory without keeping every photograph and tattered blanket.

When you scan photo albums and upload them onto digital picture frames, you can enjoy the images more often than if they’re tucked away in a bookcase. Turning a collection of baby clothes or old blankets into a memory quilt lets you appreciate all the cherished moments at once. Photographing trinkets and collectibles to create a scrapbook with the images makes it easy to look back fondly without worrying about dusting the china when you’re 70.

be decisive3. Be Decisive

As you decide what not to keep, avoid indecision as much as possible. It’s easy to think of hypothetical future uses for something you own, but if you haven’t already used it, you’re probably not going to. Don’t feel guilty about parting with things you paid good money for; if they’re just collecting dust, keeping them will only increase your sunk cost.

 Sort the things you don’t want according to whether you want to gift, sell, donate, or dispose of them. Resist the temptation to sell everything; selling secondhand goods takes a lot of time and rarely has a good financial return.

Downsizing your home is a tough process, and it’s even more challenging if you’re moving into a senior care facility. Most senior living facilities provide small apartments that are much smaller than a single family home. While the square footage itself isn’t a problem, because most care facilities offer a full suite of on-site amenities, it can be a big adjustment for new residents. If you’re transitioning to a care facility, these tips are even more important. With a smart downsizing strategy, you can maximize your space and make it feel like home.

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