March 2, 2023 —
While downsizing your life for retirement can be exciting, it can also be stressful. Ultimately, you’re working towards creating a simpler life for yourself, but if you’re preparing to sell a home or move out of a large family apartment you’ve lived in for what seems like a lifetime already, it can be overwhelming.
It may seem challenging now, but in the long run, downsizing and decluttering will actually help you live a less stressful life. You’ll have fewer possessions to maintain, clean, repair, and, potentially, stumble over.
Are you ready to get started?
6 Methods to Downsize with Less Stress
#1 Focus on the positive.
Maybe you’ve lived in a home with a large yard you’ve had to care for. Downsizing and moving into a retirement community means no more mowing the lawn, raking leaves or shoveling.
A smaller living space means less cleaning and maintenance. Some retirement communities offer free maintenance, house-cleaning, and even linen service. Doesn’t that sound glorious?
After all these years, you deserve a break. While you may miss the house you made your home for many years, try to focus on all the great benefits that will come with the change.
#2 Start small.
Don’t try to tackle it all at once. Take deep breaths and start small. Pick the smallest room in your home to begin with or maybe one that’s not used as often. Starting small will help you get into the groove of decluttering. Once you start feeling as if you’ve accomplished something, you’ll be motivated to move on to bigger areas.
#3 Make it a family affair.
If you’re looking for an excuse to get the kids and grandkids together, this is it! Get them involved in the process. Once you’ve done some initial organization into categories of KEEP, GIVE AWAY, and TOSS, invite them over for a day to narrow down the clutter even more.
Furniture you don’t need, collectibles that are hard to part with, too many pictures to take with you? Pass on the memories to the next generation. They’ll appreciate such mementos, and you’ll feel better knowing that they are going to good use and being cherished.
Don’t forget any childhood toys, drawings, etc., they’ve left behind. They can take those too or decide for themselves to trash them and take the pressure off you. Not only will getting them involved help you, but it creates a great bonding experience. Consider the laughter when your grandchildren see their parents’ school projects or grades!
#4 Donate and make a difference.
Once your family has taken what they need and would like to have, consider donating the rest and giving back. It’s hard to let go, but by donating them to a good cause, you’ll know that they’ve gone on to serve others as well as they’ve served you. Many organizations and causes need donations of clothing and home goods, and they’ll pick up the items right at your doorstep. It couldn’t be any easier. It will feel good to let go, donate, and do good.
#5 Sell your no-longer-needed valuables.
If you have antiques and other valuable items that your family members can’t use, and you’re uncomfortable with donating them to charity, consider selling them. Contact a local antique dealer or high-end consignment shop for your treasured items. If you don’t have the time or patience or you have too many valuables to sell on an individual basis, ask friends or family to refer you to an auction house.
Do beware: So-called “brown furniture” is becoming a glut on the market. Even if your furniture is antique, today’s changing tastes may devalue it.
#6 Let someone else do the work.
Senior move managers and professional organizers can’t make all the decisions for you, but they can do almost everything else but make the decisions. Depending on how much assistance you prefer, they can pack up your items to move, contact a charity to pick them up, and help you with suggestions on parting with memorabilia that doesn’t suit your new lifestyle.
Downsizing is a big life change, but there are so many exciting experiences that will come out of it. Take a deep breath and get ready to downsize, de-stress, and begin living your simpler happily-ever-after.
At Kendal on Hudson, we can’t help with downsizing but we can offer you advice and, perhaps, some incentives. Contact us online or by calling 914-922-1000 to find out more about Kendal on Hudson or schedule a tour.