6 Downsizing Tips

Steve Carlton  |  March 11, 2016

Whether you're making the transition to a care home or you're moving in with a family member, you'll need to plan how you're going to downsize your home, especially if you've lived in the same house and have accumulated a lot of personal belongings over the years. As with any move, it can be a stressful time. But, these six handy tips could help you to reduce the stress and focus on enjoying a new chapter of your life.

1. Begin as soon as you can
Downsizing can be a lengthy process that requires a lot of time and a few extra hands, so it's best to start planning as far ahead of your moving date as possible. This is also important if there are personal items that you want to go through before you invite your loved ones over to help. Ensuring you have time to sort through special belongings at your own pace will make the task less overwhelming. After all, while moving to a new living space is often an exciting time that presents many new opportunities, the transition can be an emotional process, so make sure you have enough time to digest all of these changes. Consider starting several weeks before your move, tackling one cupboard or wardrobe every day. 

2. Make a list of items you want to give away
You may find that your wardrobe is full of old clothes that no longer fit you or that your kitchen cabinets contain nonperishable food items you know you're never going to eat. Instead of finding these at the last minute and throwing them away, donate them to charity so you know they're going to be used by someone who needs them. Think of any family heirlooms you may want to pass on to a younger family member - now is a good time to do so, as you should try to minimise the number of belongings you take to your future home.

3. Follow a system
Creating a mess as you pack up your belongings is going to make the process more overwhelming. As you begin sorting through your things, create a system that helps you stay organised. For example, label two boxes for each room, one for items you want to discard and another for those you want to keep. As you go through your wardrobes, cupboards and drawers, only place your items in one of these boxes to avoid cluttering the room with belongings. If you think that you might come across a few items that you're not sure about or that you want to give to someone, set up a third box where you can put them.

Use boxes to help you stay organised as you pack.Use labelled boxes to help you stay organised as you pack.

4. Be careful with sensitive data
You may find documents containing sensitive data, such as cheque books, insurance claims and old bank statements. Make sure that you aren't simply tossing these in the bin, as this can put you at risk of identity theft. Shred any documentation that has this type of personal information. 

5. Consider the size of your new living arrangement
Bear in mind the size of your future room and the storage space that you'll have. If you know that your living space will be on the smaller side, only take the belongings that are going to fit comfortably. If you're moving furniture, get exact measurements of your new floor plan so that you can work out which furniture to take and which to leave behind.

"Don't underestimate how much support you'll need."

6. Recruit support
Don't underestimate how many helpers you'll need to move all of your belongings to a new home. Asking one or two family members or friends to lend a hand may not be enough to ensure a smooth process. However, having too many people there can be chaotic. Invite a couple of people to help as you begin the downsizing process so you can gauge how many other helpers you'll need later.

At Sunrise Senior Living, we make the transition easy with friendly staff who are dedicated to helping you settle into your new home and to enjoy life to the full. To find a location near you, contact us today.