Tips to Guide Retirees Through the Downsizing Process
Downsizing is a choice that many seniors make upon retirement. For some, it’s because of the empty nest. For others, it’s because paying lower bills and doing less house and yard work sounds amazing. Whether it’s for one or all of these reasons, downsizing makes sense. Nonetheless, it’s a big step to take, and there’s a lot of work involved. This is why preparing and strategizing the whole process will help ease the transition. If you’re a retiree who is looking to downsize, here are some tips that will guide you along the way.
Downsizing Your Belongings
Generally speaking, the first stage of downsizing to a smaller home is downsizing your belongings. To begin, you’ll want to consider your new home. Will it be an apartment, house, or retirement community? Having this information will help you know how much stuff you can bring with you. For instance, if you are moving to an apartment or retirement home, you probably won’t need to bring along your garden tools, lawnmower, and elaborate outdoor seasonal decorations. Also, you may need to think about only bringing along one set of dishes, one small toolbox, one type of coat for each season, and so on.
Deciding on what to keep and what to sell, donate, or throw away is the hardest part of the downsizing process — especially when it comes to sentimental belongings. To make it easier, it can help to consider which items you can live without, which ones you can replace, and which ones you just have to keep. For family heirlooms or other items that carry the most sentimental value, consider giving them away to family as legacy gifts. If you have several boxes of photos, photo albums, and/or scrapbooks, consider digitizing the photos to save space.
Sometimes, there are items that will not fit into your new home but that you simply cannot let go of. This is when you should consider renting a self-storage unit. Look in your area for the storage companies that offer the best prices. For instance, CubeSmart Self Storage in Greenville is offering 15 percent off and the first month of storage for free.
Packing is one of the most important parts of moving. You want your items to be as safe as possible, and you don’t want to spend a year getting them from point A to point B. Be sure to pack all of your delicate belongings together and label them “Fragile”. This will remind you and/or the movers which items require extra care and where they go in the van/truck.
Also, you want to make sure you have plenty of moving boxes (Home Depot offers cardboard moving boxes for $1.68) and other necessary supplies before you start. That way, you can pack how you need to without having to make runs to the store. Categorize the items by room and function, and label each box; this will make both packing and unpacking easier and faster.
The Moving Process
If you’re planning on enlisting friends and family to help you move, it’s best to arrange it a couple months in advance. However, while this can be the cheapest option, hiring professional movers could prove to be a worthwhile investment. Not only will this relieve you of doing any heavy lifting, but it will also likely make the entire experience less stressful because you will only need to worry about scheduling the movers. That leaves you more time to focus on preparing other aspects of your move, such as making travel arrangements, finding new doctors, contacting your health insurance provider, changing your address, and so on. Keep in mind that professional movers could run you between $90 and $120 per hour.
If you want to downsize, preparing and strategizing can keep it from becoming overwhelming. Remember to follow the tips above as you downsize your belongings, pack, and plan the move. Whatever your reason for downsizing, it is a great way to welcome in a new phase in your life.
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