Preparing to Downsize
At a certain point, because of retirement, health issues, or lifestyle preferences, many seniors consider downsizing their home. Sometimes, it is loved ones who initiate a conversation because of concerns for older adults’ safety or financial health. Being aware of the challenges you may face with this important decision can help you prepare for downsizing smoothly.
You’re Not Alone
Nearly 4 out of 10 retirees move, and just over half of those numbers are downsizing. Downsizing, even for positive reasons like moving to be closer to family, can be difficult because it represents how are lives are contracting, according to Gary W. Small, founding director of the University of California at Los Angeles Memory Clinic and director of the UCLA Center on Aging. Most of our lives we are building and growing, and downsizing represents a reversal of this trend.
Moving, as most of us know, can be stressful. For seniors who have spent a lifetime in one place, the emotional and physical stress of downsizing can be overwhelming. Besides having to make decisions about what to keep, what to give to family members, what to donate, and what to throw out, we have to process the emotions of attachment we have to our homes, our stuff, our loved ones, and possibly, our independence.
Downsizing can be less stressful with preparation. It is important to focus on the positive aspects of the change, and to get help navigating the more difficult parts of this transition.
Find A Good Reason
Graying With Grace is a website dedicated to “seniors, the elderly, and those who love them.” The author identifies 5 steps for planning a downsizing move, starting with a conversation about the benefits of downsizing. For instance, we could have more time available to do things we love if repair and maintenance issues are minimized in a smaller space. Identifying positive reasons for the change helps us set a goal for success and provides the motivation to begin.
It is also important to note that downsizing takes time, both for the physical aspects of sorting and packing a household and for negotiating the many feelings that result when we go through our belongings. One suggestion from the AARP is to start in a spare room or perhaps an office, a space that has the least number of important memories. Starting small helps us build resilience so we are more prepared for tackling places like the kitchen where many family memories live.
Find Some Help
Tackle decluttering with a friend or family member. They can provide a listening ear as you sort through your feelings. They can also be objective and help you stay focused on the task at hand. When you come across items that you don’t know what to do with, or what their value might be, both the AARP and Graying With Grace agree that trusted professionals like appraisers, movers, and organizers can provide useful insight to save you both time and energy.
Find the Right Professional
When you search for your local professionals, seek out those with positive reviews and testimonials.. Find those who are not only knowledgeable and efficient, but who treat their customers with respect. Queen B Organizing has successfully assisted clients with downsizing for the last 10 years. A recent client had this to say:
“There is a great deal of emotion that goes with emptying and selling a family home of so many years. Queen B Organizing really made a challenging task survivable. And they did it with respect and consideration. I recommend them without reservation.”
Queen B Organizing can help you prepare for the challenges of downsizing your home so that you can focus on the people, places, and things you enjoy. Consider calling us at (541) 231-6964 to plan for the move ahead.