Simplifying the Transition to a New Home for Seniors
Decluttering & Downsizing
Have all of your children left the family home?
Are healthcare issues preventing you from keeping up your house and yard?
Do you want to spend more time relaxing?
Do you require some care as you age?
Has your spouse passed away?
If so, it might be time to downsize from your existing home to your next home.
Here are some tried and true tips to make this process smoother and less painful.
Craft LifeStyle Management has been helping clients transition from one home to another for over 30 years.
Please let us know how we can help you.
Where is Your Next Home?
In a perfect world, you know where you are moving to and answers to these questions are a great way to begin downsizing and decluttering:
⦁ What is the floor plan?
⦁ How much space will you have?
⦁ How many closets? What size?
⦁ What is the square footage of the living space and the bedroom?
⦁ Is there a garage? Are there shelves in it?
⦁ Are there rules for what items you can bring into your next home?
⦁ Will your furniture fit the living space? Measure everything with a tape measure. Avoid eyeballing and estimating.
⦁ Does your furniture fit through the doorways?
⦁ Is the kitchen much smaller? How many cabinets are there and how many drawers?
Try to appreciate the sentimental value of items as you sort. For example, fondly recall the memories of your wedding dress and/or your military uniform. Ask yourself if you can release these items now.
Can you take a photo of them as a keepsake memory? If so, upload photos, videos and irreplaceable mementos to a hard drive or cloud storage.
Seriously ask yourself what your children will do with these sentimental items after you are gone? Keep in mind what is sentimental to you may not be to them.
It’s okay to be disappointed if they do not want your “treasures.” However, try not to let this disappointment affect your relationship with them, adding stress to an already challenging time.
HINT: The more sentimental an item is to you, the higher value you will place on it.
Here’s an idea that makes sorting and downsizing less painful.
Take a video or photo of each room in your home before you start. This way you have a record of everything, especially anything you have a tough time releasing.
Sorting takes time. It can take countless hours to thoughtfully go through items you’ve been accumulating for decades.
Enlist help, if needed. Keep in mind family will often suggest ‘you don’t need this’ or ‘throw that in the trash.’
Know what you value and stand your ground. If you truly treasure something, keep it.
HINT: Do not ask the family or friends whom you know will give their thoughts before you have your own moment to decide.
By room, place items one-by-one into one of five piles:
1. Keep-take to my next home. A good rule of thumb is one of each item. This rule is especially helpful when sorting a kitchen. For instance, one water pitcher, one cake knife and server, one corkscrew, etc.
HINT: Craft LifeStyle Management places emphasis on the “Keep.” This will be opposite of many helpers, including family.
We believe focusing on the Keep will help you quickly see what’s important to you-what you value.
HINT: Bulk items like laundry detergent and shampoo may no longer be a good fit for your smaller, downsized space.
2. Donate to one of many local charities happy to pick up your items. Or, ask family members if they need an extra bedroom set or kitchen appliance. Again, try not to be upset if they are not interested in your ‘discards.’
Do you have a collection of, for example, musical instruments or books? Find an organization that will make good use of these items. It makes the releasing less painful knowing your items will be deeply appreciated.
HINT: Over time, Craft LifeStyle Management has developed many creative ways to release to organizations. Let us share those with you.
3. Trash. Craft LifeStyle Management can recommend ways to downsize and prepare for a move without the obvious driveway dumpster.
4. Sell. Some items, including vintage clothing, might be worthy of selling online. Also consider selling items at a local consignment or antique shop.
HINT: We suggest “testing the market.” If your children, extended family, friends and neighbors are not interested in the items you aren’t taking to your next home, then it’s not likely they are worth the time it takes to try to sell them. Instead, donate or discard the items.
5. Maybe. If the “Maybe” pile is almost everything, then it is time to enlist professionals to help you walk through this challenging journey. Finding out “why” you are not releasing items will help you get going again.
Downsizing involves making tough decisions. Each item goes into one of these five piles.
The goal is to touch each item only once as you place it into one of these categories and then release it.
If you can see the things you want right in front of you and feel at peace, then you are on the right track.
Craft LifeStyle Management likes to call it “comfortable peace.”
If, instead, you are anxious or feeling upset, it is time to ask for a little help. Craft LifeStyle Management is glad to work through this process with you.
HINT: Plan to take breaks. Downsizing can be emotionally and physically overwhelming. If your ‘helpers’ are planning to show up early and stay late, this may not be the most productive plan for you. Once we are tired, we can’t make clear choices. You don’t want to regret a release because ‘you couldn’t think straight any longer that day.’
Craft LifeStyle Management can help guide you during this process and ensure you aren’t throwing away or donating valuables and that you are at peace with all of your transitioning decisions.
Paper & Storage Units
You may have storage tubs or file cabinets in your home full of paper. Paper like utility bills, bank statements and/or tax filings from decades ago.
You don’t need to move all of this to your next home.
Before you shred everything, reach out to an accountant or financial advisor and ask how long you are required to keep certain documents.
Keep those and shred all others.
HINT: Today most statements can be found online, making the accumulation of paper unnecessary.
If you have “treasures” in a storage unit. Go through these items as you would the possessions in your home. Keep, Donate, Trash or Sell.
How Can We Help You?
Transitioning to your next home requires decluttering and downsizing.
Yes, it can be difficult. It is also exciting.
Let us know how we can help you as you prepare for this transition.