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Senior Living

How to Make Downsizing in Your Senior Years an Easy Transition


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Moving can be an overwhelming process, especially if you are packing up a lifetime and trying to squeeze it into a smaller dwelling.  Making wise choices will help you through the process.  Here is the best advice for how to make that happen.


Downsizing.  Most of us look for a smaller, more manageable home for our senior years.  Having less to keep up with is a right you’ve earned, and you no longer need elbow room for raising children.  However, a smaller home means less space for belongings.  As experts cited by the Chicago Tribune note, reducing the items you own can be the hardest part of your move.  


How much should you get rid of?  One opinion is to compare the size of your old home to that of your new home.  If your new home is half the size of your old home, you want to reduce your belongings by half.   


Begin the elimination process by listing your existing furniture and creating a floorplan of the new home to see how your furniture will fit.  Items that don’t fit in a manner that is both functional and comfortable will need to go.  


For the furniture items you are keeping, investing in new upholstery can be an exciting way to celebrate your move.  Choose a fabric that works with your new surroundings and simplified lifestyle, and try to keep the number of colors at a minimum to keep rooms feeling less cluttered.  


Eliminate other items that you own in multiples, keeping only the newest, most sentimental, and most used items.  Give items to family members, donate them to charity, or throw them away.  Some experts suggest this phase can begin with your absolute musts, like photo albums or wedding mementos, and go from there.  This may be the hardest part of your transition, but downsizing your belongings will make you more comfortable in your new home.  


Moving.  Once your items are sorted and packed, you’ll need to decide how the move will be accomplished.  This is the perfect time to reach out to family members and friends to request they lend a hand.  Carrying boxes and hauling furniture are an opportunity for your loved ones to provide support.  If you don’t have family and friends close by, you’ll need to hire a moving company.  Real Simple advises doing some research before deciding what mover to use.  Ask around for recommendations and check with organizations like the Better Business Bureau.  Make sure potential movers have proper credentials.  After you narrow it down to a few companies, ask each to give you an in-home estimate and show them everything that you’re taking.  Compare bids before making your selection.  


In the course of moving, make sure you accommodate your pets.  Animals can be stressed by the chaos of transitioning into a new home.  Set a routine before the move and keep it throughout the process to help pets feel secure.  Move your pets’ things last and unpack those items first so there are familiar objects for them.  Be sure to get tags with new contact information in case your pet should slip out, and provide pets with structure and quiet on the day of the move, such as in a back room away from the movers.  Some professionals advise establishing a relationship with your new veterinarian as soon as you can so you are ready in case an emergency arises.  


Note that your pets aren’t the only ones who need protection from stress during this process.  Be sure to tend to your own needs and maintain a self-care program.  This can mean a number of things, including getting enough sleep, eating right, and meditating. According to some experts, it’s important to discover what self-care techniques work best for you and incorporate them into your daily life.  

Welcome home!  Downsizing and moving are challenging.  With wise choices, you can make this transition go smoothly.  Take care to reduce stress throughout the process and enjoy your new abode! 



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