As the golden years approach, many individuals reconfigure their living spaces to suit their evolving needs better. The idea of downsizing can be overwhelming, especially when considering which possessions to part with and how to effectively organize a more compact space. Yet, there’s a silver lining to this transitional phase.
By embracing the process, seniors can create an environment that’s more manageable and aligned with their current lifestyle and aspirations. Enter the realm of senior movers – professionals assisting the older generation in their downsizing journey.
In this guide, we’ll delve deep into the expertise of senior movers, offering insights, tips, and proven strategies to make the process smooth and stress-free. Whether you’re contemplating a move or are just looking to declutter, this guide is designed to help seniors embrace a simplified, enriching living space.
Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Most older adults consider downsizing their home or moving into a smaller area as they age. Around 51 percent of retired adults aged 50 and older move into smaller homes following retirement1, but many older people don’t wish to move. Sixty-four percent of seniors plan to remain in their homes. Housing is a major topic for seniors, whether they move or stay in their current home.
Even if you are not moving, downsizing and cleaning up can make your life safer and easier. This can be a stressful and emotional process, especially if your family has lived in the same place for some time. Use this guide to smooth the transition, whether you are planning to downsize your home or not. We will cover tips on preparing for downsizing, a checklist for decluttering, and ways to stay sane during a difficult and bittersweet period.
- Reduce costs. Even though most retirees have a fixed or limited income, there are still unforeseen expenses, such as healthcare, home repairs, and travel. By moving to a smaller space, you can save on your mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. This can mean lower repair and utility bills.
- Simplify your lifestyle. Less is more. You may have a pool and a sprawling lawn that your grandkids love, but it becomes more difficult to maintain as you age.
- Logistics. Things like stairs, multi-levels, outdated bathrooms or long driveways, walkways, and drives become more dangerous as we age. You can age longer in a space that is easy to navigate and accessible.
- Family. Moving to a new location later in life is possible to be nearer to your grandchildren and other relatives who can help you age in the place.
- Medical needs. Seniors with chronic illnesses or requiring more frequent medical attention may need to move closer to their doctor or an adult daycare. They may need to relocate to an area that can accommodate medical equipment.
- Better weather. According to one study, 25 percent of older adults plan to move to warmer climates.
What Questions Should You Ask for Senior Movers
It can be difficult for older adults to decide where and when to move. There are a few basic questions that you can ask to determine if it is time for you to relocate.
- Do you have unoccupied rooms?
- How long can you afford to live in your home?
- Your yard is easy to maintain.
- Feeling lonely?
- You have too many things to manage.
- Have you got a large amount of equity in your house?
Consider downsizing if you are wasting space, have too much clutter, or need more social interaction.
Prepare to Downsize
Over time, you can continue to reduce your possessions. We’d even recommend it to prevent getting overwhelmed or burned out. It would help if you made important decisions before downsizing for a planned relocation.
- Plan early. Some people begin the “Where will you move?” process. The decision-making process can begin more than a year in advance. You’ll also be able to adjust more easily if you have had time to adapt to the idea. Rushing to decide on relocating or going through your belongings at the last moment only adds more stress.
- Where you move depends on what and how you downsize. Your new home’s location, size, and layout will majorly impact what and how you choose to downsize. Apartments and facilities, for example, have much less space than detached houses.
- Establish goals and a timetable. When are you moving? Sometimes, if you are moving out of state, trucks must be loaded a few weeks before your move-in date. Consider the time needed to pack, downsize, and time for your family if you plan on “gifting” anything.
Checklist for Downsizing & Decluttering Your Home
Keep this list handy as you begin your downsizing project.
- Plan for at least three months. It always takes longer to process and pack than you expect. Moving companies often require several weeks’ notice before transporting your items, especially if you are moving out of the state.
- “Gift” early. It’s a great time to begin earmarking items for loved ones. It would help if you tried to give them out before moving.
- Create a floor plan. This will help you determine what you can and cannot fit and where everything goes.
- Room by room. Take on one room at a given time. Save the room for the last, and only bring what you need. If you only have one bedroom in the new place and two bedrooms at your old location, bring only the necessities (bed, dresser, etc.) for one room.
- Start small. Start with the practical necessities first—for example, kitchen and bathroom items. Keep the emotional items (art, family heirlooms, and photos) until later. It will take more time for you to decide what to do with the big, emotional stuff (art, heirlooms, photos).
- Prioritize the problem areas. Start small, but try to tackle one difficult job, like the garage, attic, or closet. Ask for help! You’ll need help prioritizing and letting go of heavy or bulky items.
- Sort your items by keeping, throwing out, and giving away. No maybes. This is what professional organizers refer to as “processing.” Label containers and set up a system for what you’d like to keep, give away (or donate to family members), or donate. Try to resist the temptation to create a pile of “maybes.” Keep it to a minimum or at least limit the number of items. By eliminating the “maybe” option, you can stay on track and avoid “analysis paralysis” when you spend too much time on one topic.
- No duplicates. Try to keep only one item of each type, except for clothing. Three whisks are not necessary. Set a limit for large items like clothing. You may have 20 T-shirts, but only wear three of them. Choose your five favorites, and then move on.
- Create a labeling system. Label the boxes with room and content when you are ready to pack. You can then put each box in the room it belongs in, knowing exactly what is inside. Label each box with the number of the room and the total boxes. You can then see if anything is missing. Here is an example of a label: “Kitchen-Daily plates and bowls.” Box 1 of 10. Numbering comes last. You’ll need to renumber all your work if you change anything.
- Digitize it! Memory items like letters, photos, and artwork from the grandchildren take up a lot of space. It’s not necessary to throw everything away. You can take photos or have a company digitize all your favorite videos and pictures onto a device you can plug into and view anytime.
- Pack an “essentials bag.” You’ll always need certain things with you when you move. You can prepare a bag or container for essentials so you won’t need to search through boxes the first day. The “essentials bag” should include the following:
- Some outfits
- Toiletries, medications, and eyeglasses
- Important documents
- Basic supplies for the kitchen (disposable cups, plates and utensils, snacks).
- Cleaning Supplies (sponges, soap, and paper towels)
- Payment to movers and a small cash amount just in case
Keep Positive When You Downsize
- Spend time with your treasures. While you are decluttering, take the time to enjoy your treasures.
- Try it out. Many 55+ communities or assisted living facilities will allow you to stay for a couple of days to test it out. You can adapt faster if you know where the common areas and amenities are.
- Do not focus on the losses but rather on what you are gaining. There will always be days of difficulty, as change is never easy. Think about the improvements you will experience due to these changes. Imagine all the time you will have to spend with your family and friends instead of cleaning or working.
- Help is available. Even if your move manager is a professional, you’ll still need to pay attention to the details. You may need assistance reviewing contracts, negotiating prices, site visits, or vetting storage facilities. You can create new memories and laughs by reorganizing your things with family and friends.
- Plan to meet people—set dates for friends to chat or meet if you are moving. Staying busy and seeing familiar faces can speed up your acclimation.
- Enroll in classes and clubs before you leave. Joining a group with similar interests can help you avoid loneliness and anxiety. Be proactive if you have signed a contract and sign up for activities you enjoy.
Moving and packing, especially during the golden years, often evokes a whirlwind of emotions, from nostalgia to anxiety. However, the journey of downsizing can be manageable. When approached with a structured plan and a positive mindset, the process can bring about a newfound sense of liberation and simplicity, enhancing the quality of life in senior years. Remember, the essence of this journey is not about letting go but rather about creating a space that resonates with current needs, minimizing risks, and maximizing joys.
If you’re a senior or have elderly loved ones contemplating a move, you must have the proper support. Get assistance from the best in the business – Buy The Hour Movers Brooklyn. They bring moving expertise and a deep understanding of seniors’ unique needs and concerns during the moving and packing. Make the transition smoother and stress-free by choosing the experts who care. So, why wait? Simplify your space today with Buy The Hour Movers Brooklyn!