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Make It Easy on Yourself: How to Downsize

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It’s a word that makes some people flinch, yet it can open the door to a lighter, more organized, and promising future:  downsizing. And the best surprise is it doesn’t have to be an exhausting and painful endeavor—it actually can be a liberating experience that can also be fun. Really! Take the easy route and see for yourself.

How to downsize:  be proactive, positive, and prepared.

What does this mean?  

Be proactive.

Think ahead. Before you even start considering separating the items you want to take with you when you move, from the ones you know you want to leave behind, make a timeline. You can always adjust it later. But start with a plan. It might be something like how to begin (for example, tackle the closets first. Go through the laundry room cabinets next. Then review the titles in your bookcase. And so on). 

Consider who you want helping you—friends, family members, or a professional senior moving specialist who can offer you valuable tips. Make those calls early. Contact some charitable organizations to get a feel for what type of items they take, and their policies on picking up furniture. Purchase an organizing file that you can easily carry, so that you can put all your most important documents in it and be able to access them immediately. Also, take photos of keepsakes you want to remember, but don’t want to keep. Taking care of similar details in advance can reduce anxiety and is a great suggestion for how to downsize and enjoy it. 

Be positive.

Resist the temptation to look at downsizing as loss. See it as gain:  gain of more space when you relocate, gain of freedom from having to fuss over so many items that have long-since worn out their purpose, and gain of the excitement of a fresh start. When you get rid of something, you make room for something else in your life. Are you wanting fewer possessions so you can have more open space in your new home? Are you eager to lighten your load so you can instead focus on more travel, or the pursuit of new hobbies? Do you look forward to being generous to a charitable organization and knowing your duplicate items and gently worn clothing will be welcomed by those in need? Letting go can be very rewarding! 

Be prepared.

When thinking about how to downsize, some of the best advice is to start early and take it slow. You want to begin at a comfortable pace, so think in advance of what will make that easier. Have conversations with family members early regarding whether they will want any of your furniture or other items when you move. If your children still have childhood possessions in your attic or basement, have them come over and clear those out before you tackle yours. Go ahead and designate a “maybe” pile area and a “no” pile area. If you’re really not sure about an item, put it in the “maybe” pile but set a deadline for deciding if it’s a yes or no. 

Remember, sorting will be easier if you’ve carefully considered your new space, both in terms of size and how you want it to flow. You want to sort before you pack. And be sure to stop ordering items well in advance.   

Downsizing, rightsizing, whatever term you use…let it be a positive experience that propels you to a carefree lifestyle with more breathing room!

At Peregrine Senior Living, we are here to help you.

Contact us today with any questions you might have about downsizing, senior living, or any other concern. Download our free guide: Motivated Living – What are the “Blue Zones” and how can they help you live a more independent, happy life.

Written by
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

More Articles By
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

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