Making the Most of Downsizing
Downsizing: it’s a big decision to make. According to a recent report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement, almost 4 in 10 retirees are making the move. Our homes are often filled with 20-30 years worth of possessions and memories. So understandably, this can be a difficult decision for seniors.
Thankfully, the AARP has these great guidelines for a smoother transition to a smaller home:
- Recognize your feelings, whatever they are. “Talk to a friend or if that doesn’t work, speak to a counselor,” Small says. The feelings that surface could be some unresolved conflict from your past, he says. Maybe when you were a child your family was constantly moving, and you lost friendships in the process. While downsizing, that unresolved conflict can resurface. “Identify it and understand it.”
- Focus on what you’ll gain rather than what you’re losing. For example, if you sell your home, and move to an active lifestyle community with a pool, shuffleboard courts, and an art studio, become involved in new activities and interests rather than dwelling on the past.
- While sorting, enlist help from a family member, trusted friend or professional. “They’re more objective,” says Mischoulon. “They don’t have the same sentimental attachment,” and can help you stay focused on the task rather than just the memories and your feelings.
- Start with the least emotional area of your home first. “The kitchen can be a well of emotions,” Buysse says. Leave enough time. “You don’t want to have any regrets,” she says. You want to touch everything. People find money in “all kinds of nooks and crannies” when they sort their possessions, she says.
If you want help downsizing and are having trouble knowing where to start, you might also want to contact Organize Senior Moves. Our conversation with Michelle Kavanaugh is filled with great advice, you can read our blog post here.