Helpful Tips for Downsizing in Retirement

older couple going into retirement and downsizing

One of the main reasons you may be putting off downsizing or moving to a retirement community is dealing with all the “stuff” that has accumulated over the years. Yet, if done right, the process of downsizing may not be as daunting as you think. It may even be enjoyable or refreshing at times. A lot of the physical work can be done by others, so your main role is to categorize, organize and direct.

Use these 6 helpful tips to get started with downsizing in retirement.

Start now

If you are thinking about moving, whether to a retirement community like Christwood or to a smaller home, then now is a good time to start the process of downsizing. Do not wait until you are ready to move because it can be overwhelming at that point and you will have other things that require your attention. Even if you ultimately choose not to move, you will still have done your family members a big favor because there will be less stuff for them to go through one day.

Recognize that you cannot keep it all

In order to know what items you can and should purge, you first need to know which items you absolutely cannot part with. But here is the key: after you have created the initial list, pare it down even further. This can be a tough exercise, but the reality is that some of the things you think you need to save may not be necessary to keep after all. For example, that sports coat or blouse in the closet that you have held onto for 15 years because you are sure you will wear it again…it’s probably time to part ways. That stack of magazines with holiday recipes dating back 10 years? … Those can go too. Your most cherished recipes will not be hidden in a tall stack of magazines anyway, right?

Your kids may not want your stuff

Another popular reason for hanging on to various items is the idea that the kids or grandkids will want them. But many people eventually discover that the things they thought would be coveted by their adult children were not so desirable after all. To help sort this out, consider inviting your children over for a day to go through your things and find out what they actually want.

Sort by large and small

Once you know what you want to keep, make a list of big and small items. The big items are anything that will not fit in a regular size moving box, such as a sofa or table. As you consider these items, be sure to think about the dimensions and style of your new home so you will know if they will fit. Many CCRCs have move-in coordinators who can help you with this.

Obviously, it could be tough to list out every single smaller item, but you want to think about your most utilized items first. Consider things like silverware, pictures, kitchenware, books, etc.

Sell, donate, or discard?

Once you have decided what items are no longer needed, it is time to decide what to do with them. Create a separate list with three columns: sell, donate and trash. As you consider what you want to sell, remember that items rarely bring in the amount of cash that the owner thinks they will. In some cases, it may simply be easier to donate or discard an item than to go to the trouble of trying to sell it.

However, if you feel sure it would be worth the time to try to sell some of your belongings, then there are a number of ways you can do this. You could try to sell them online with sites like eBay or Craigslist. (Please take caution if you use Craigslist or a similar website. If possible, meet the buyer in a public place and take someone with you.) Sometimes a good old-fashioned yard sale could do the job, but you will want to get someone to help you with the setup and break down. Alternately, if you have more than a few valuable items, there are sure to be any number of local companies that will administer an estate sale for you.

Hauling the junk

Finally, after you have gone through the above-mentioned steps, there will probably be a lot of junk left over. This would include things that have piled up in a garage or crawlspace over the years, such as old paint cans. There are many national companies that will come by and haul these things away for you. All you have to do is point to the items you want removed, and they will recycle or trash the items accordingly.

Next Steps?

While the process of downsizing can be time-consuming, we hope the above steps give you a great place to start. And once you’ve started, hopefully, you’ll feel the excitement of planning your next steps in retirement too.

At Christwood, the possibilities for a purposeful lifestyle are endless. Our 117-acre setting offers plenty of space for nature lovers to explore, while our full list of amenities and activities provide the energy and camaraderie of those looking for friendships and community.

Our various apartment homes and cottages offer great residence options for a downsized lifestyle but with even more amenities and activities than you currently experience in your home. We have over 17 residence options, so you’re sure to find one to fit your needs and belongings. Explore our independent living residences at your leisure. And when you’re ready to discover them in person, we’d love to take you on a tour of our community.  Just fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch.



The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

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