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7 Downsizing Tips To Make Moving to an Independent Living Community Easy

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Downsize. Organize. Revitalize! Downsizing can feel liberating, especially when you are moving to a maintenance-free independent living community. It’s an opportunity to cherish the memories that matter most to you, while freeing you from the stress of hanging onto things you no longer need or want. 

Less to pack. Less to unpack. Less to worry about. Start off your retirement living on a lighter note!

7 downsizing tips that can help ease your move to independent living: 

1. Ask yourself how much space you really live in now. Walk around your current home and be honest about which rooms you spend the most time in, and what activities you do there. For example, if you have a home gym, you can easily sell or donate that equipment knowing you’ll have access to fitness equipment anytime you like in independent living. Or maybe you have a sewing room. Or a studio for art projects. Consider whether you will continue those activities, and what exactly you need to take with you, and what you can leave behind. 

Most retirement communities have designated spaces for arts and crafts, woodworking projects, gardening, and more, so you don’t have to store the supplies—you just get to enjoy. 

2. Start early. When you first begin considering independent living, that’s the time to also start to comfortably downsize. Clean out the garage. Or measure your furniture so you’ll have an idea later of which pieces will fit in your new residence. Tackle a closet and start a donation pile. Of all the downsizing tips you’ll hear, starting early might be the most important. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if you start early, you won’t be stressed later.

3. Give yourself the gift of being organized. We all do it…hang on to documents, papers, invoices, warranties and more … long past their relevance. One of the best downsizing tips is to look at this as a perfect time to get a handle on that exploding file cabinet. Go through the stacks and make a pile of what you could shred, and what you want to keep. Then consider a bank safety deposit box as a way to keep your most important papers without having to make room for them in your new apartment. Keep in mind that many documents, such as information about your television for example, are available online.

4. Take it slow. Don’t let the idea of paring down your possessions for your move to independent living become overwhelming. One room at a time. One closet at a time. As you begin, consider creating three piles:  yes, no, maybe. Then after you’ve made some progress, go back to the “maybe” pile and see if you can make that one smaller. Involve friends and family and ask their opinions. If you know the dimensions of your new apartment, you’ll find it much easier to know what you want to take with you and how it will fit. A move-in coordinator at a retirement community like Peregrine Senior Living can be a great resource for helping you think through how your new space will flow as well as offer other helpful downsizing tips.

5. Find out who wants what. Many times older adults who want to downsize to independent living are surprised to discover their adult children don’t really want items such as that set of china or the patio furniture. Then again, you might have a family member who would love to have your dresser or antique mirror. Have a conversation early and be sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to whether anyone will be taking something as their own.

6. Decide who you’d like to help. One of the best downsizing tips is to think about the “second life” many of your possessions could have. Granted, letting go can sometimes be hard…but there is always joy in giving! Your worn easy chair might be a delightful find for a favorite charity. Don’t forget museums and schools for things like camera equipment, artwork, woodworking materials, and more. Remember, you’ll be moving into a lifestyle with a busy calendar of activities and events so you won’t have to look for ways to keep busy and entertained!

7. Look forward to the future. It’s only natural to feel pangs of emotion during the downsizing process. After all, you have lots of memories that mean a great deal to you and some items trigger that more than others. But the upside is you can enjoy those moments again, and realize that it’s the memory, not the thing, that matters. A few downsizing tips that can help with this: if you can’t take a collection of English tea cups with you, choose two and photograph the rest. Ask your tech-savvy grandson to help digitize your favorite photos so you can still enjoy them without having them in boxes. 

Remember, downsizing to independent living is the beginning of a lifestyle filled with new freedom—freedom to live a lighter, more carefree retirement!  

Savor the freedom of an active, connected retirement life with an inspiring new outlook on agingContact us today to learn more. And please download the free guide, Just The Facts:  Your Guide to Independent Living. We are here to help you!

Written by
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

More Articles By
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

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