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Tips for Downsizing for Seniors

If you or a loved one have decided to downsize, it could be difficult getting rid of possessions that you have held onto for many years. Sometimes we put so much emphasis on owning rather than using, that we have accumulated a house full of sentiment and gadgets that may not be useful to us any longer. Finding new homes for these items can be very emotional since we feel attached to the items we have collected. If downsizing is in your future, consider the following tips to streamline the process and make it as painless as possible.

Start Soon and Start Small

Getting started can be the most difficult. As soon as you know you will be moving, set aside time to start sorting your belongings. Pick an area that is well contained has the least amount of sentimental attachments. For example, start with the closet in the guest room, or the backyard storage shed. Determine how much time you can allot to sorting through that area.

Take your time. It's okay to spend time with your treasures. Share the stories with loved ones. Focus on what you are gaining, not what you are giving up. 

Ask for Help When Downsizing

Ask a family member or friend to help with sorting. If your helper does not have the same attachment to your things, they can look at it differently and more objectively. Your helper must appreciate and respect how difficult this could be, so choose someone that is compassionate, yet helpful. 

If there is heavy furniture or large containers, get help in moving these items to prevent injury. Many moving companies can assist with staff that can move and pack items when you are ready.

Determine How Much Space You Will Have

Obviously, if you are downsizing from a three-bedroom home to an apartment or room in someone's house, you will have to get rid of some of your things. If the move is to assisted living, is the area furnished? Will you have a yard or garden area? This will help you decide how much to keep.    

Think About Technology

Regardless of your knowledge about technology, it can help preserve some of your belongings. If you need help, ask someone to assist in digitizing photos and important papers that will otherwise take up precious space. You don't want to lose the drawings from the grandkids, so why not digitize them as well? Digital images are much better than having papers stored in boxes that you will never see.

Keep It or Get Rid of It?

Now is the time to decide if you should keep the item or find a new home for it when downsizing. Think through the following questions:

  • Do I need it in my new home?
  • Is this a duplicate?
  • Do I use it now?
  • Do I have room for it?
  • Does the item have sentimental value?

Look at your closet too. Do you have clothes that no longer fit, shoes that are uncomfortable, or snow boots that will not be used if you are moving to Phoenix? 

Find a New Home for Items When Downsizing

Once you have sorted the items, there are a number of ways to relocate them. If you have a family member that would be interested in some items, let them select from the items you have decided to get rid of. Use this time to present your children or grandchildren with legacy gifts, taking time to tell them the story behind it. 

Have a yard sale. You may be able to pocket a bit of extra cash by selling that bedroom set or that extra television. Even clothing and housewares are great sellers at yard sales. For big-ticket items, you could also sell on sites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Craigslist.

Donate to your favorite charity. Many charities and churches use thrift stores as a way to help people in the community. Some charities offer pickup at the curb, and many donations are tax-deductible.

Learn More About Downsizing

Downsizing can be tough. Instead of feeling like you are giving up your things, focus on the new chapter that you are beginning. It's okay to share with your family the uncertainties you are feeling. Surround yourself with your loved ones who are not judgmental, are supportive, and compassionate. This new chapter can be exciting and fulfilling.

If you or your loved one is considering downsizing and are in need of home health care services, Elite Home Care can help. We offer a full range of in-home care services, with personalized care plans. Contact us today for more information. 

Written by: Leah Ganz
Director of Patient Services

Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.