As you get older and your needs change, downsizing makes more sense. Whether it’s to save money, move closer to family, or to age in place, moving to a smaller home can have many benefits for seniors. Downsizing and decluttering can take a lot of work, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. Check out these tips to help make the process easier.

Start Early

Planning ahead is vital for downsizing. There are many variables you need to consider, so waiting until the last minute is nearly impossible and will only cause unnecessary stress. Downsizing takes longer than you think, therefore it’s important to start a few months ahead of time to properly prepare. Planning ahead will also give you the flexibility to get help from family and friends as needed.

When planning, take things day by day and split up tasks over a few months. Dedicate a few hours each week to begin organizing your home and sift through items to make steady progress. When you actually start the process, go room by room to better organize your time, and take breaks. Start with smaller, more manageable rooms like a laundry room or bathroom, and work your way up to larger spaces, like basements and attics. Also, keep in mind that you need to search for a new home to move into while also selling your current home, so make sure to account for this time in your schedule.

Take Time to Reminisce 

Downsizing can be overwhelming and emotional, especially if you’re moving from a family home. It can be difficult to let go as seniors, so take time to reminisce on old memories and items so you can properly move on.

Many items have memories attached to them, so it can be difficult to part with them. It’s okay to keep items with high sentimental value, but obviously you can’t keep everything when moving to a smaller space. When it comes to nostalgic items, determine which pieces are most important, and do your best to get rid of the rest. If you have family heirlooms or sentimental antiques, you can also gift them to family members to maintain a connection with them.

Moving can be emotional, but try not to get too caught up in your feelings. Once you get closure with your old home and items, you’ll be able to appreciate your new home even more.

Have a Plan to Sort Through Items

One of the toughest steps in downsizing is decluttering your home. Having lived a long and full life, you’ve acquired a lot of items over the years. So how do you decide which items to get rid of?

First, consider the size of your new house and what you can actually fit there. What is the layout of your new space and what rooms will you have? If you’re downsizing from a large family home to an apartment or townhouse, you’ll need to get rid of extra bed frames, mattresses, and dressers. You also might not have extra rooms like an office or garage, so keep that in mind when sorting through items.

Next, decide what items you use the most or have sentimental value. A good guideline to follow is if you haven’t used something for a year, get rid of it. You should also clear out any duplicate items such as kitchenware or office supplies. While sorting, try to divide your things into concrete keep or trash categories to keep everything organized.

If you’re concerned about throwing away items, you can try selling them online, holding a garage sale, or donating them to a local charity. This way, you can make some extra money or donate to a good cause, while ensuring your pieces will be taken care of.

Prepare to Sell Your Home

Another important part of downsizing is getting your current home ready to sell. To make this process easier, make sure your home is in the best condition to sell by doing a deep clean, depersonalizing the space, decluttering, and making necessary repairs. The good news is you probably did most of these things already while preparing to downsize, so you’re on the right track.

Depending on the condition of your current home, you may also need to do some home improvement or renovation projects to make your space more appealing to buyers. Updating an outdated kitchen or bathroom can not only increase the resale value of your home, but can also help expedite the selling process and act as a valuable selling point. While beneficial, these projects can be expensive, so if you need some extra money to fund these improvements, consider using your home’s equity for assistance. This type of loan is a great financing option for renovations because you can deduct the taxes for home improvements and can use the money however you want.

Downsizing for seniors can be a difficult transition, but as long as you plan ahead and stay organized, you’ll be able to have a successful move. Reflect on the memories from your old home, but also prepare yourself for the exciting opportunities and changes ahead.

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