Downsizing for Seniors

Downsizing for Seniors: How to Make Your Move Less Physically and Emotionally Draining

It’s tough to leave the home you raised a family in, or one where you spent decades making memories. It’s equally tough to part with things you’ve been holding onto for years. Tougher still is the physical and emotional toll the actual packing and moving processes take on seniors. If you’re about to go through the downsizing process, make sure to take this advice.

Prioritize Location in Your New Home

The goal of downsizing is to make your life easier and more comfortable, and with that in mind, there’s no better way to do that than to prioritize location over almost everything else. Your new, smaller home should give you easy access to whatever you choose as most important. This could be friends, family, church, parks, or any other form of recreation and socialization. Being close to people and things you love is vital to healthy aging.

Go Minimalist, Both Financially and Spatially

Overextending yourself financially and leaving yourself with too much space to comfortably deal with is a surefire way to negate the stress-relieving benefits of downsizing to a smaller, more manageable home. Consider buying at least 10 percent under budget (to give yourself room to make modifications) and sizing your home for ultimate simplicity (no extra rooms, etc.).

Make Donation and Bequeathal Your Go-To Downsizing Moves

No matter how you go about it, getting rid of your belongings so that you can a) fit it all in a smaller home and b) streamline your life and make it easier-to-manage is going to be hard. This is because our stuff is tied to memories, and we naturally feel that the past is better than the present or the future (it’s our brain’s wacky wiring). You can make it at least a little easier (emotionally speaking) by being smart about how you get rid of stuff. Take the time to donate items you no longer need or give them to a (willing) friend or family member. It will be easier for you to part with something if you know it’s going somewhere other than a landfill — that’s a fact.

Ask Yourself Tough Questions About Your Possessions

Do you have to go through every single thing you own when downsizing? Yes. And every single thing needs to be kept or disposed of at the moment of inquiry. You can help yourself better decide what stays and what goes by asking smart questions about each individual item. This smart decluttering formula is a good place to start. Ask yourself questions like “When was the last time I used this?” and “How much does it cost if I had to buy it again?” By doing so, it will help you make smart decisions during the downsizing process.

Pack Carefully and Deliberately

Smart packing is a vital part of moving. Haphazardly throwing stuff in boxes and trying to move them around is a recipe for disorganization, stress, and injury. Pack small boxes full (instead of large boxes); this will make lifting them easier. Make inventories of each box, write it down, and tape it to the outside. This will help you find what you need later one. And finally, learn how to properly lift and carry boxes. Don’t lift in a hunched-over position — your back will thank you.

Hire Moving Help

Want to lower your stress and injury risk? Just hire moving help. Don’t try to do it yourself. Take your time and do it right, though. It’s important you not only hire quality movers but hire them at the right time. Pro tip: Research busiest moving times and schedule your big move during off-peak days if you can. Preparation and planning are essential in making things run smoothly. 

You can’t make downsizing completely devoid of stress and emotion, but you can make it easier. Heed these tips for an all-around better process and enjoy your new, simpler life!

Photo by Monika Rams on Unsplash