Owning a home is one part of the American Dream that many people are fortunate enough to enjoy. A house with a yard for your kids to play in is fun when you’re young, but as you get older (and the house ages as well) the maintenance and upkeep of the home itself, not to mention the lawn, can be tiresome and time consuming. Once the kids move out, and retirement creeps up, many people begin to think about downsizing.
Moving to a smaller place, whether it be a house, an apartment or a retirement community, can have a lot of benefits. Without all those troublesome chores you not only gain time for things you enjoy like traveling and spending time with grandchildren but you also save money with a smaller mortgage or less rent and lower utility costs.
If you or a loved one is thinking about downsizing, the initial steps of planning and de-cluttering can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
1. When planning where to move or what type of new space to move into, think about both your current and future needs. Consider things such as wheelchair accessibility and proximity to doctors and family.
2. Know your floor plan. Once you have decided on where to move, familiarize yourself with the floor plan so you know how much stuff you can take, from furniture to clothes and kitchen supplies.
3. Set aside plenty of time for de-cluttering. Whether you’re moving or planning to stay where you are, getting rid of clutter is helpful for making a safer environment that’s easier to maintain.
4. When working on de-cluttering make three piles — keep, toss and give away. No maybes! One rule of thumb is to get rid of any duplicates. For example, there’s no need to have three whisks. When it comes to clothes, you might need more than one of something, but definitely set a limit. For example, rather than having a drawer full of white t-shirts, just keep three.
5. Gift your stuff early. Why wait until after you’re gone to give your grandchildren the family Christmas china, or to give your niece your mother’s flower vases? Giving some things away now affords you the opportunity to see your loved ones enjoying your things with love and gratitude.
6. Take your time. If you’ve planned ahead, it allows plenty of time to enjoy reveling in the memories as you go through your things. Remembering those people who gave you special heirlooms or sharing fun stories over old books, toys and photos can be a fun way to pass the time, especially if you’re bringing in family members to help.
7. Focus on what you’re gaining, not what you’re losing. De-cluttering and downsizing can be a stressful time. To keep you motivated it’s important to stay focused on the good aspects of the move, whether it be saving money so you have more to do fun activities like a cruise or just having more time to play with your grandchildren.
As hard as it can be to make the decision to move from a home you’ve lived in for years, one of the most important take-aways from many senior living experts is not to put off the move until it’s too late. Making the decision to downsize is just the first step. You then have to look for a place, pack and go through with the actual move. All of that can take a toll physically.
Our staff at Piedmont Home Care are knowledgeable in all sorts of assistance, and can help with some aspects of downsizing. If you or a loved one is in the process of thinking about these issues, you can reach out to us for advice and assistance. Give us a call at (336) 724-1197 with any questions.