Downsizing Tips for Older Adults

March 06, 2018 | Blog | Reading Time 5:00 Minutes

Is your house getting too big for you? Are the rising costs of maintaining a house getting you down?

It may be time to consider downsizing your living space but upsizing your quality of living.

While more than 70 percent of Americans ages 50 and older want to “age in place,” according to AARP statistics, many end up downsizing because of financial considerations, the work involved in maintaining a home or health problems. In one AARP survey, 15 percent of respondents aged 65 to 69 said that they moved into smaller homes within the past decade to make home maintenance easier.

At first glance, downsizing may seem like more work than just staying put – even the mere thought of packing boxes might be exhausting. Downsizing sometimes means letting go of treasures, essentials and memorabilia, and that can be hard too. There are benefits to downsizing, including potential profits from the sale of the home and savings on home maintenance costs, and freedom from the time-consuming work of maintaining a home.

Moving to a smaller place is easier than you might think, especially if you make a plan and have lots of helping hands. Here are a few tips to make downsizing as simple as possible.

Tips for Downsizing

Enlist the help of family and friends

Schedule dates and times for downsizing, and ask your friends, neighbors and family members. Not only will an extra set of hands help you get rid of clutter, it is also a great way to spend valuable time with the people you care about most.

Make a plan

While you might be tempted to just jump in and start packing, it is actually more efficient to create a downsizing plan. Try to think in terms of weeks or months, rather than days.

Tackle one room or area at a time. Schedule one or two work sessions in a day. Plan to work for about two hours at a stretch – working any longer can leave you fatigued.

Create lists

Lists help keep you organized and prevent downsizing from becoming chaotic; they can also help you make decisions early, before the real work of downsizing begins. Make to-do lists to remind yourself to shut off utilities and cancel subscriptions, for example, or create a list of belongings you would like to keep.

Gather some moving supplies

Secure moving boxes or plastic totes, packing paper, tape, masking tape, markers, garbage bags and other moving materials. Make sure you have a place to sit in each room too, as you can do a lot of the work from the comfort of a chair or couch.

Separate the stuff

Create three piles: Keep, throw away and donate. Select an item and put it in the appropriate pile. Put garbage directly in bags. When the “keep” and “donate” piles get large enough, wrap the items as needed and put them in appropriately marked boxes, bags, or totes.

Be decisive

Use the OHIO rule, which means you “Only Handle Items Once.” Avoid moving items from the “throw away box” to the “keep box,” for example, as indecision takes a lot of time and emotional energy. If something is nice enough for someone to enjoy, donate it.

Give things away

Make others happy while you downsize. Has a friend or relative always admired a painting, for example? Does a helper seem to admire a particular item? Give it away!

Take pictures

Do you have a collection of teapots but are unable take them all with you when you move? Choose one or two that mean the most to you, and take pictures of all the rest.

Keep your favorite photographs

You may not have room for your picture albums in your new place; pare down your pictures or digitize them. Run your favorite prints through a scanner so you can see them on your computer or phone. Invite a child, grandchild, or other young family member to help – going through old pictures it is a wonderful opportunity to share memories and family history.

Have a yard sale

Sell unwanted items. You can haul your stuff outside for a yard sale during summer months. After removing all the items you want to keep, you could also hold the sale indoors.

Clean as you go

Dust and vacuum each area of your home as you go. Cleaning small areas is much less stressful and exhausting than cleaning the entire house the night before you move.

Pack a “First Day” box

Develop a “first day” box that contains toiletries, prescriptions, personal belongings and other essential items you will need on your first day at your new place.

Imagine your new home while packing up the old place

Think about the layout of your new home when deciding which items to keep and as you pack. You may wish to leave the china cabinet behind, for example, but bring your favorite recliner. To make the most of your new living space, you may even want to opt for a furnished place. Just bring your clothes and cherished belongings, and you’re ready to pursue an active, vibrant lifestyle.

The Brielle offers three apartment floor plans to match your lifestyle. Move into a thoughtfully-designed studio for one, a one-bedroom apartment for couples who want additional living space, or even a two-bedroom companion suite for couples who want both companionship and privacy. Each floor plan provides a comfortable living space with the features you desire, such as a kitchenette with a small refrigerator, sink and option to bring a microwave. Choose from a fully furnished living space or bring your own furnishings. The Brielle also offers various amenities and services including a library, religious services, a therapy gym, movie room and more. Contact us today to schedule a tour.