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How to Decide What to Keep When You Downsize

Happy senior couple moving boxes

You’ve decided to treat yourself to a great new lifestyle in a senior community. Good for you. Now comes the next challenge: working through the downsizing process. This article details some great strategies for deciding what stays and what goes.

 Regardless of how long you’ve been in your current residence, you’ve accumulated a lot of things (just open that storage closet!) and not all of them will be able to join you in this transition. That’s where the act of engaging in a well-organized and thoughtful decluttering exercise comes in.

 Thanks to home management experts like Marie Kondo and Martha Stewart, many tried-and-true suggestions have been compiled into formal “how-to” advice to help you pare down like a pro. To help you out, we’ve collected 6 of the best downsizing tips to keep in mind:

 

 6 Decluttering Tips to Try

 

1. One Room at a Time Please Regardless of the size of your current home, that first step toward decluttering can feel overwhelming. Your best strategy is to begin with a room that has little emotional attachment, like the kitchen cabinets or linen closet. Do you really need 20 coffee mugs or more than two sets of towels?

 

2. Be Choosy with Collectibles Dolls, dishes, coins … we love our collections. They’ve made us happy for years, so why not spread that joy around and pass some of them to loved ones? Or sell them and be rewarded for the care you’ve given them. Experts suggest taking photos of collectibles you choose to part with and then creating a photo album to display with the few you do keep.

 

3. Don’t Wait on Heirlooms People often think heirlooms are things to pass along only after you’re gone. But let’s put that rule to rest. Why not be there to see the smile on your grandchild’s face when you gift them a treasured piece of jewelry? Same goes for your great-grandmother’s china or that antique mirror. You get to experience the joy of giving and the bonus of paring down. (Be sure to ask first if the item is wanted, of course!)


4. Compile Your Piles This is where it helps to bring in objective reinforcements like a friend or family member. Create four piles for donate, sell, gift, or toss, and get down to business. If you waver, you’ll have someone on hand to talk you through the decision tree. Resist the temptation to make a “maybe” pile. Be strong!


5. Take Measurements Your new space will hold everything differently, so get as many measurements as possible in advance. Consider what rooms you will and won’t have so you can determine what will fit and where. Get a look at the size of your resident storage unit to decide whether you’ll want to rent your own self-storage unit. Many seniors find this to be a huge lifesaver for seasonal items, and for things you’re not sure about parting with quite yet.


6. Plan a Furnishings Refresh While you may be able to fit big pieces in your new apartment, it may not be the best plan. The goal is to make your new place light and airy, so simple and smaller is your mantra. For example, keep the king-size mattress, but choose a bed set with a more minimal design.

 

If You Can’t Part with It, Store It

Self-storage units have become very popular for seniors on the move. As mentioned above, renting a self-storage unit can be the ideal place for storing seasonal items and holiday decor. It also solves three other downsizing challenges:

 

1. Store the Keepers It can be used to temporarily stash beloved items or heirlooms, small or large, that you may not be ready to part with or plan to take with you but prefer to store elsewhere.


2. Buy Some Time It’s perfect for buying extra time to decide whether to sell, donate, or give away items to family members, which may require discussion and research.

 

3. Setting the Stage It’s a big help when you’re staging your home to sell and need to “lighten up” each room, e.g., fewer books in the bookcases, less out-of-season clothes in the closets, etc.

 

Your Wonderful New Life Awaits

Our independent living options are inviting, spacious, and so well appointed that they never feel like a downsize compromise. Explore our floor plans, and then let’s talk! We’d love to welcome you to our neighborhood.