Keys to Downsizing

Keys to Downsizing


I have too many things, I don’t want to get rid of them.
What am I going to do with my pets?
What if something happens to me in a few years, will I get the care I need?
If I can no longer drive, how will I get around?
No other place can feel like home.

These are some questions and thoughts that seniors close to retirement may be having. As they start to think about the future, downsizing and a stress-free lifestyle are top of mind. When looking at your road to retirement, it is hard to predict the future, which makes it difficult to know what you will or won’t need. Here are some keys to downsizing:

  1. Avoid tackling the whole house at once. Tackle one room at a time, this will be much less stressful for you.
  2. Frame decisions as yes-no questions. Avoid asking, “Which pots and pans do you want to keep?” Presort the items first to the things you know you don’t want to get rid of, then present a more manageable yes-no option: “I’ve got my best frying pan, a large pot, and a small sauce pot. Do I need anything else?”
  3. Use the new space as a guide. Measure exactly how much closet or cabinet space the new place has, this will give you a better idea of what you will or will not have space for.
  4. Banish the “maybe” pile. Relocation experts call it the OHIO rule: Only handle it once. Remember, yes-no questions.
  5. Focus on most-used items (and let the rest go). Don’t go by the newest and best; go by what they use.
  6. Pack representative bits of favored items. There are collections that may take up more space than you will have in your new place. Pick key prints to display on the walls. Take photos of the rest and put them in an album.
  7. If it’s meant to be a gift or legacy, think about giving it before you move. You could enjoy the feeling of giving it to them now and see their reaction.
  8. If there are several items of high value you are thinking of selling, consider an appraisal. An appraiser will generally only come to the house once, so wait until you’ve gone through everything.
  9. Donation. You have Goodwill and Salvation Army, but there may be other places in your area that need items you wish to donate, like local hospitals.
  10. If it’s chipped, broken, or stained, toss it. Many places will not accept items like this and they are hard to sell.
  11. You don’t have to move everything. What can be replaced? Things like spices, unused toiletries, Tupperware, candles, stuffed toys and the contents of your junk drawer. Make a list of what you think you may want to purchase and then toss it.
  12. For a price, you don’t have to haul it away yourself. If you think you will have a lot that you are tossing, it may be worth looking into having someone bring a dumpster to you and take it away.
  13. Consider bringing in the pros. They do what they do for a reason. If you think you will have a hard time parting with your things, give them a call. Meth-Wick enlists the help of Get Organized! to help seniors get through the process of downsizing.

Check out these testimonials from Meth-Wick resident who shared a lot of the same concerns about downsizing and leaving their homes that other seniors may be having.

Questions about downsizing for a retirement community? Contact Julie Farmer.