One of the most potentially overwhelming parts of the transition to a senior living community can be downsizing your things. Moving from living in a house (sometimes for decades) to a new apartment is intimidating and a lot of work if you don’t have a plan. We accumulate so many things over the years, and sometimes that can weigh us down. But the move to a new space and community comes with the opportunity to spend time on hobbies and activities and make new friends. Downsizing can be hard, physically and emotionally, but rewarding in the end. We’re here to offer some tips to help you downsize your things without downsizing your life.
Plan ahead of time.
It can be tough to know where to begin when going through your things. Writing out a plan and timeline for sorting through each room and a general idea of items you want to keep or donate will help you stay on track and hold yourself accountable. It’s also important to factor in time to go through and enjoy old memorabilia and keepsakes. This process should be a fun time to look back and reminisce on fond memories.
Waiting until the last minute to begin consolidating your things is a recipe for stress. It’s best to assume it will take you at least a couple of months, especially if you are only able to work on it a little bit at a time. Starting early and spreading out the work can make it less overwhelming for you, too.
As Marie Kondo would say, “Does it bring you joy?”
After you’ve narrowed down the things you need for your new space, it’s time to decide which additional items reflect your style, carry sentimental value and will make your new space feel like home. A good way to think about it is “How do you feel when you hold it or look at it? How does that item serve you?” You should bring with you the items that bring you immense joy and invoke special memories of years past.
Take your hobbies with you.
This next chapter in your life comes with more time than you’ve ever had to spend doing the things you love. Be sure to bring any items that go along with your favorite hobbies, such as golf clubs, art supplies, instruments and games. You can always utilize libraries and digital options like movie streaming services and Kindles to save space on books and DVDs. This is also a great time to pick up a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. The options are endless.
Make it fun!
Downsizing, although challenging, can still be a fun process. Call your family and friends to see if they’re willing to help you go through things. You could even incentivize them by giving them first dibs on your donation pile! Play your favorite music, have some snacks, and make a day of it. This is an exciting step into a new season of life.