If you’ve made the decision to move into a senior living community, you’re already looking forward to a life full of benefits:
- Private residence
- Independent lifestyle
- Maintenance-free living
- Dedicated care team
- Activities and social events
- Opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Delicious dining options
- Scheduled transportation
But there likely is an important task that you’ll want to complete before your move-in date.
If you’re not sure what all that entails, here are a few suggestions so you can launch your new lifestyle off right.
10 downsizing tips
Consider these downsizing tips to simplify the process:
- Get organized
As soon as you know you’ll be moving, even if you haven’t yet chosen a specific community, you can start the downsizing process.Purchase a brightly covered notebook that will stand out in a pile of papers or amidst boxes. Dedicate it solely to your downsizing project. Keeping everything in one place, including important phone numbers, schedules, and notes to self will save you much needed time.
- Create your schedule
After selecting your community and home, you’ll be choosing a move-in date. Once you have it on the calendar, begin working your way backward and scheduling tasks.Estimate what needs to be accomplished (consulting this list can help) as well as the amount of time each step will take. Make a commitment to stay on schedule. If you see yourself falling behind, take steps to catch up.
- Assess what you have
Tour the rooms in your home, including any storage spaces, to assess what possessions you currently own. Bring along your notebook and jot down comments about which ones will automatically be donated or kept.Is your sofa or chairs too large? Do you have a king-sized bed that would overwhelm your new bedroom? Any initial thoughts can help as you begin choosing what you’ll take and leave behind.
- Decide what you’ll need
A great benefit of a senior living community is its efficiency. You’ll have enough space for what you need but you’ll want to leave behind the accumulated clutter.Your floor space may be smaller so measure when deciding which furniture to take with you. Will you need to purchase new pieces that are a better size? You’ll also want to decide what fits your new lifestyle best, not only the floor space.
- Create categories to help declutter
Create at least four options: what to keep, donate, throw away/recycle or pass down. You’ll also want to designate a room or area in your home where you can organize these different groups.The best downsizing tip may be not to have a “maybe” or “decide later” pile. It will become too tempting. It’s better to make the decision now. If you absolutely need more time to consider an item, that’s OK but minimize the number that fall in that category.
- Invite your kids to come home
You may have been storing childhood memorabilia for your kids. They likely never got around to retrieving their mementos, especially if you had the extra closet space.But now it’s time for them to go through what they would like to keep or take. It’s also the perfect opportunity to discuss any heirlooms or items you’d like to pass along.
- Set guidelines and rules
Even though you’re in charge, it’s still very helpful to set some guidelines up front to help you keep the downsizing process moving forward. Or get you back on track if you detour.Along with staying on schedule, try to accomplish progress every day. Don’t spend too much time in angst over what to do with an object. Make a decision and move on.
- Start where it’s easiest
Begin your downsizing efforts with the easier rooms. A garage filled with tools and storage boxes can seem overwhelming and thwart your best efforts. Deciding what to do with sentimental objects can get you stuck in reliving memories.Start by packing up duplicates you won’t be taking, such as holiday platters or extra sets of dishes, pots and pans or cutlery. Tackle your linen closet and the unused sets of sheets and blankets.
- Schedule more time for sentimental items
Schedule an extra day or two when it comes to your sentimental possessions. This can be one of the more challenging downsizing tasks. Memories will naturally come to the surface. Take the time to enjoy them. You deserve it.Talk to your children or other family members about what items they might like. Remember you can let go of the actual object and take a photo. The memory is not in the object and is yours always to keep.
- Ask for help
Downsizing can initially seem like a monumental task but if you plan ahead and get organized, you’ll see it is not really that difficult. However, you should always ask for help if needed. It can also be a great time to bring the family together and remember all of the great memories you’ve shared.
Discover life at a Northbridge community
We understand the challenge that downsizing can bring but we also know you’ll appreciate the benefits of de-cluttering objects that have been accumulating over the years. We believe our residents feel it was well worth the effort so that they can enjoy a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle.
If you move into any of our Northbridge Senior Living communities, you’ll discover the many benefits, including our Signature Programs, such as our S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
- Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Tai Chi & yoga
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Genealogy Generations
If you’re considering senior living to support your wellness goals and desired lifestyle, we hope you’ll consider one of our communities.
We’re here to answer any of your questions about our senior living communities. If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, we also invite you to download our complimentary guide, the Family Decision Toolkit.