If you asked our residents what part of moving was the most challenging, the majority would likely say downsizing. Many people choose to move to active adult living from a larger space, whether a single family home, townhome, condo, or even another apartment. And if you’re like most of us, you’ve collected a fair amount over the course of your life. So how do you downsize as you’re getting ready to move?
First, reframe your thinking. Rather than thinking of downsizing, think of it as rightsizing. You rightsized into your current space – enough beds for each kid, dishes to host dinner parties, a toybox full of treasures for when the grandkids come visit – and now it’s time to think about rightsizing into a different space.
Throw out traditional ideas of how to utilize your new space. Who’s to say that the living room needs to have a TV? If you only watch TV at night as you’re going to bed, consider only having a TV in your bedroom. That would free up a wall in the living space to use in a different way – perhaps a drawing table if you’re an artist or a writing desk if you want to try your hand at writing in retirement. Are you a quilter? Who’s to say the second bedroom needs to have a guest bed? Set it up as your quilting studio!
Determine your must haves in your new space. What are the things that you could not imagine leaving behind? Fit those into your new floor plan first and build around them. Then, once you know what is absolutely, positively going with you, start dispersing what’s not. Rather than buying brand new gifts for friends and family for birthdays and holidays, consider giving them items of yours they’ve always loved. Not only will you pare down your belongings, but you know that they are going to people who will enjoy them.
After you’ve gifted treasured items and had family members and friends decide what they’d like to have (and don’t agree to store it for them – if they want it, they need to take it now!), it’s time to dispose of the rest. If recycling is important to you, go online to research whether particular items can be recycled or upcycled and who will take them. Donate gently used household items to a favorite local charity, and make sure to keep an itemized list of what you donated – it will come in handy during tax season. There will be things that will just need to head to the trash – if it’s broken or well-loved, it’s probably time to toss it.
Try to remember that less is more. After all, who wants to pay to move something only to decide that it doesn’t fit or you don’t want it anymore? Use this opportunity to be judicious and only move items you love and need. You’ll be glad you did as you sit back and enjoy your new home!