Many older adults live in the same house where they raised their family. While this can be a cherished and sentimental home, many people begin to realize that it’s no longer the most convenient living situation if the kids have all moved out. There might be three or four bedrooms that lay unused, excess space that needs to be heated and cooled, and endless clutter filling the rooms. As cherished as this house is, it’s most likely much larger than you need and potentially causing unwanted stress and effort. So, what should you do? The answer could be downsizing. There are many benefits to downsizing, such as reducing your home workload and relieving stress. While many people often hesitate to downsize, it can be quite a relaxing experience.
Whether you're downsizing because you’re moving into a smaller home or moving into a retirement or independent living community, we know that it can be challenging to get rid of things that you cherish. Giving up the home you’ve lived in for years or the furniture your children gave you isn’t easy.
HarborChase Senior Living has resort-style independent living communities throughout the United States, and we know the benefits of downsizing. We want to share some downsizing tips to help you get started!
When Should I Consider Downsizing?
Knowing when to downsize is an essential first step to this intimidating process because it needs to be a time when you’re comfortable doing it. Although moving can be stressful, waiting until you’re overwhelmed is the worst thing you can do. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether now is the right time to downsize or not.
Some questions you can ask yourself are:
- Do I still need this much space in my home?
- Is maintaining my house becoming too time-consuming?
- Would a smaller living arrangement reduce some of my stress?
- Is it more practical for me to move somewhere smaller?
- What does my family think about my living arrangements?
- Do I really need all of this stuff?
Everyone’s situation is unique, and it will be up to you to decide if you’re ready to move. If you’re unsure about moving, it’s a good idea to ask some of your family members what they think about it. You may find that they have similar stories about moving into a smaller home or what they did to make their lives more convenient.
Tips for Downsizing
Once you’ve decided that downsizing is the best option for you, it can be confusing and overwhelming to know where to go from here. At HarborChase, we’ve come up with a few downsizing tips for you to keep in mind as you navigate this journey.
Find Your Next Home
Once you’ve decided to downsize and move, you need to answer a critical question: where are you going to move? While researching potential options, make sure to look into a diverse group of housing options, including smaller houses, senior-only apartments, or independent living communities. Doing this will allow you to make a better decision on what is best for you.
While doing research, think about the pros and cons of each option and what would best accompany your life. You could simply move into a smaller house than you have now— which would offer more privacy, but you would still have to worry about maintenance and repairs. Or you could look into the all-inclusive lifestyle offered at many independent living communities and assisted living communities.
Because of the attractive, maintenance-free lifestyle of peers offered, these neighborhoods are often among the most popular choices for those who are downsizing.
Make a Plan and Follow It Through
The downsizing and moving process can become overwhelming if not managed properly. Once you have chosen where you will move, schedule a firm move-in date that can’t change. Mark it on your calendar and honor it like you would a doctor’s appointment.
From that moment until the move, it’s best to come up with a plan and execute it. Some people like checklists, others prefer calendar grids—whatever works for you to accomplish everything that needs to be done before moving day. When you have an idea, it’s easier to envision your next steps and determine how much you’ve accomplished already!
Some things to consider adding to your checklist before moving are:
- Finding and hiring a moving company if you have heavy furniture
- Setting up forwarding of address with the USPS
- Canceling all utilities and subscription services
- Considering storing family heirlooms and expensive items in a safe place or give to family members
- If moving to a senior living community, communicating with them about what you will and will not need to bring
Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
When you move into a smaller home or a senior living community, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll need to get rid of a few things. If you’re moving from a larger house into a smaller space, you’ll most likely need to get rid of furniture, extra appliances, and many other things that you’ve accumulated over the years.
This process can seem intimidating, but again, making a list and sticking to it can make it a lot smoother. Separate the list into categories:
- Things that are necessary to bring to your new home
- Things that you want to keep but won’t have space for in your new home
- Important items or heirlooms that can be passed on to family members
- Items that can be sold or donated
- Items that can be thrown away
Once you have the categories, designate a box or area of the house for each one, and start sorting! If you have a big house, it can be more manageable to go room by room, clearing out items. Be sure to keep the things you are bringing with you in a separate area so they don’t get mixed in with everything else.
Look Forward to a New Beginning
Moving is undoubtedly hard, and it can be especially hard to see your beloved family home empty. While it’s okay to mourn the loss of your home, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re doing this for a reason and to look forward to all the new memories to come.
If you’ve chosen to move into an independent living community, like HarborChase, you have an especially exciting change to look forward to. You’ll go from living in an empty house to living in a lively and engaging community of your peers, dining opportunities, and scheduled events. You’ll never have to worry about maintenance, can come and go as you please, and will simply be living a life of ease and comfort. In not too long, you’ll be wishing you decided to move sooner!
Downsizing with HarborChase
Although complicated and intimidating, moving and downsizing is not impossible and is truly the right option for many people. If you feel that you are in a time in your life when downsizing would benefit you, we encourage you to follow your instinct and go through with it. We also encourage you to use these downsizing tips to guide you through the process.
HarborChase Senior Living communities are great solutions for those looking to downsize. Our resort-style communities offer various floor plans, so you can find the space that’s right for you. Plus, our daily activities and luxury amenities keep residents fulfilled and engaged.
If you’re interested in learning more about independent living at HarborChase and if it’s right for you, visit our website!
Updated on April 22, 2021