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Seniors Downsizing and Moving Homes

Jul
30

Downsizing and Moving Homes for seniors

Most seniors citizens understand that there will come a day, probably soon, when they will have to downsize.  Whether it is to simplify their lifestyle, cut costs, be closer to their grandchildren, or address medical needs, the decision will need to be made.

It is often a stressful and tolling process, both physically as well as emotionally.  However, experts in this area suggest that it does not have to be an overwhelming experience. 

How to Downsize Your Home

  • Start Decluttering Early
  • Stage Your House Before You Sell
  • Bust Out the Tape Measure
  • Determine Your Lifestyle Needs
  • Create a Moving Checklist
  • Keep your insurance top of mind when you move

Things to Consider Before Moving

  • Are you willing and able to round up family members to help pack and drive a moving truck? 
  • Do you have the means to hire a full-service moving company to pack, ship, and unpack your things? 
  • Something in-between, with the mobile storage option, where you pack a container, and then the storage company does the shipping?

For seniors, there happens to be another option. Companies known as senior move managers are springing up all over the States that specifically cater to seniors moving. Whether they move to smaller homes or into senior living or nursing communities, they will usually do as much or as little as you want, from packing and moving to home cleaning and estate sales.

4 Reasons to Downsize Your Home

  1. Maintenance is too much 
  2. Retired or retiring soon 
  3. A lot of unused space 
  4. Desire to travel

A few more tips to make the downsizing process a little bit easier:

1. Start early

Plenty of time for this process will be needed because it will inevitably take longer than one would expect. Take time and do not try to sort through the entire house in one day or over a weekend. A few weeks to a month is a realistic timeline, taking it one room at a time with many breaks throughout the process.

2. Start small

Start in an area that has little emotional attachment, such as the laundry room or linen closet.  Take time to really understand what your future needs will be.  If you are moving into a two-bedroom house, four sets of sheets should be plenty; the rest can go.

3. Eliminate the rooms that will not be in your new home

These areas also might be good items for consignment or garage sales.  For example, nice office furniture and outdoor tools are more valuable than an old sofa or mattress.

Organize backward and try the opposite by packing the keepers. Then, what is left can be looked at freely to decide what will be donated or shared.

4. Eliminate duplicate items

This is especially true in most folks’ kitchens. So if you are feeling wary of handing off that second roasting pan because you use it every Christmas, consider handing it down to a family member who shared in those moments.

5. Yes or No piles only (leave out the “maybes”)

When going through years of belongings, some things are going to tug at your heartstrings. Many of us will be tempted to start a pile to keep just in case we have enough room. Try not to fall for it! Typically, we end up with more in that “maybe” pile than we do the other two.

6. Reduce those lifelong collections creatively

Sometimes it can be particularly hard to let go of those collectibles we found on vacations or received as gifts over a lifetime. Unfortunately, this type of item will take up more space than there is available. One creative idea would be to pick a couple of your favorite collectibles to keep and then take high-resolution photos of the rest, have them made into a photo book to share and view either on your coffee table or mantle.

7. Do not be scared to sell things on your own

Craigslist, Ebay, smartphone apps dedicated to this stuff, yard sales, and an overabundance of consignment shops make the sale of goods amazingly easier. However, it is probably not a huge money-making venture, so consider how much time you want to invest and do it ahead of time.  If that sounds like more than you want to deal with, hiring a firm to run an estate sale just might be exactly what you need.

8. Consider giving legacy gifts early

Certain heirlooms or earmarked pieces to leave to your family in your will; consider handing them down now.  This idea holds two valuable benefits: the items are out of the way, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy the feeling of giving those items to your loved ones now. Also, find out if there are any items anyone else wants.  You will get to make them happy as well as lighten your load at the same time.

9. Do allow some time for reminiscing

When you are cleaning and sorting, anticipate that some of those days, you will want to stop emptying the kids’ boxes and just look through those kindergarten drawings, baseball trophies, and once “can’t live without!” stuffed animals. It is OK to pause and let the nostalgia take over for short periods; just don’t live there.  Let the tears fall if you need to, or move on to something else and come back another day. This is why you started early.

“I always ask my clients how the item at hand makes them feel,” says a senior move manager. “If it brings up negative feelings, let it go. On the other hand, if it brings joy, then, of course, it is a keeper! The idea here is only to be surrounded by things you absolutely love. Now, doesn’t that sound like a great goal?”

10. Use this as a chance to bond

Try inviting the grandkids over for a few days. Talk to them about where you bought your favorite items. Share stories about the family heirlooms. Let them help pack, ask questions, and spend time with you. While they are there, have them help post items for sale online.

At what age should seniors downsize?

Wondering when to downsize? When your peers move may matter. According to recent studies, forty-two percent of Baby Boomers want to move or downsize.  This data shows that retirees are likely to change their living situation if they have not already. However, that does not mean that they are moving into senior communities. So where are they going?

  1. Twenty-five percent are moving to warmer climates
  2. Seventeen percent plan to move closer to family
  3. Six percent plan to move to a senior living community
  4. (the rest are still undecided)

What are reasons why older adults may be likely to move out of their homes?

Here are some main reasons seniors leave their homes for senior community living:

  1. Concerns about falls and accessibility issues
  2. Medical needs and help with daily living
  3. Isolation and socialization
  4. Cost