Tips For Downsizing to Independent LivingFebruary 10, 2023
When you have a family home to fill, it’s easy to accumulate everything from furniture to trinkets, cutlery to cookware, and all things in between. And when you don’t have any real reason to get rid of anything, it can quickly pile up.
But if you decide to move to an independent living community, you might have too much stuff for your new space. Even if you can fit it all in, you won’t be able to enjoy the convenience of your smaller living area if the new space is too crowded.
Downsizing can be emotionally and physically challenging, but it’s worth the effort of doing it right. By following our downsizing tips, you can keep the things you love, get rid of the things you forgot you owned, and enjoy a comfortable life in your new community.
Sort Through Your Belongings and Get Rid of Anything You Don’t Need or Use
It’s easy to start accumulating furniture and belongings when living in the same space for a long time. While packing up your possessions, you may find things you kept just in case, something you were still finding a use for, or things that never seemed worth the effort to get rid of.
If you’re moving or considering moving to independent living, and you’ve previously lived in a single-family home or something larger, there may not be space for everything you own. Even if there is space, moving everything will still cause a lot of unnecessary hassle.
Start by making a plan. It’s often easier to work one room at a time, making sure the space is cleared before moving to the next. Decide on an organizational system for working, and consider ways to dispose of the things you don’t want.
Divide your belongings into four different categories (you can use bins or vacuum seal bags to keep things organized while sorting):
- 1. Keep – items you need or want to have in your new senior living space
- 2. Toss – items that you no longer need, but aren’t nice enough to donate or consign
- 3. Consign – items that can be re-sold at a consignment store
- 4. Donate – items that are too nice to throw away, but aren’t nice enough to resell or items you would rather donate instead of reselling
If you can’t remember the last time you used something (or thought about something), avoid putting it in the “keep” pile. The only items you should bring with you are items you absolutely need, items that hold sentimental value, or items you truly find joy in looking at or holding.
Moving to Independent Living is a Give and Take
Independent living puts you at the heart of a close community. You’ll have people nearby who you can turn to when you need help or just someone to chat with. In addition, independent living communities often offer activities and amenities designed to foster connections between the residents.
But because of this community aspect, independent living communities typically provide smaller housing options. At first, this can be hard to get used to, but there are many benefits to choosing a smaller apartment or condo.
Smaller spaces are easy to navigate, so there’s less risk of injury. They’re also easier to clean, which is a benefit for everyone! Choosing a smaller unit allows you to create a cozy and comfortable space without unnecessary clutter.
Find Multifunctional Furniture That Doesn’t Take Up Lots of Space
One of the hardest things about any move is dealing with the furniture. Because it’s big and bulky, furniture can require a lot of hands-on work, helpful family and neighbors, or a large payment to a moving company.
Instead of moving multiple large pieces of furniture that all serve the same purpose, look for multifunctional furniture. Tables with shelves, racks adapted for different uses, wardrobes with drawers built in — there are many ways to make your furniture go further. Try to create the most storage space possible in the least square footage possible.
Get Rid of Cable TV and Other Unnecessary Expenses
Moving to a vibrant senior living community is an excellent reason for cutting unnecessary expenses, such as cable television. Create a list of subscriptions and other entertainment expenses, and consider how much you will use them in your new environment.
Once you’ve cut out unwanted costs, you might be surprised at how little you miss them. And, of course, if you find something you can’t live without, you can always re-subscribe.
As with physical items, collecting expenses is easy when you’ve been living in the same place for a long time. Downsizing is an opportunity to reflect on where your money is going and whether it can be put to better use.
Connect With Friends and Family Members Who Can Provide Support
Saying goodbye to a home you love and the possessions you’ve had for years (even decades) can be an emotional struggle. It’s easy to find yourself hanging on to things you don’t really need, because you’re feeling sentimental. The problem is that you can start feeling sentimental about everything in the middle of a big clean-out!
You can get physical and emotional support by involving your family and friends. Younger family members can help you to box everything up and carry heavier objects. You may even have some family members who are storing things at your home, so now is the best time for them to sort through their belongings.
Working together will make the job quicker and more enjoyable. Enlist some people to go through the things you know you don’t want while you start on the hard decisions.
Stay Active and Involved in Your Community
Moving into an independent living facility doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your old life. On the contrary, staying active and engaged with the people you love and the things you care about is important.
At the same time, you can start to get involved with the independent living community. Check out the amenities they offer, and get to know your new neighbors. If you’ve yet to choose an independent living situation, prioritize the available activities when making your decision.
With your living situation streamlined and your unnecessary subscriptions removed, you’ll feel more motivated to make the most of the activities available. Independent living can be an excellent opportunity to connect with an old hobby, or take up a new one! Become an active member of the community, and you won’t have a chance to miss anything.
Independent living is a great way to become an active community member, but it often means downsizing. However, don’t think of it as being forced to empty your home. Instead, downsizing is an excellent way to streamline your living situation and create a space you can be comfortable in for years to come.
Our independent living options are inviting, spacious, and so well-appointed that they never feel like a downsize compromise. Explore our floor plans, and contact us today. We’d love to welcome you to our neighborhood.