Many seniors choose to downsize their homes during their retirement years. Downsizing might mean moving into an independent senior living community in Michigan or relocating from a larger house to a smaller one. Either way, downsizing one’s home and belongings can be a challenging process.
Here are some tips that can help your senior loved one as they downsize and prepare for a move.
10 Tips to Help a Michigan Senior Downsize
1. Get rid of clutter
World-renowned organization expert and author Marie Kondo says if your belongings don’t “spark joy,” then it’s time to say goodbye to them. Encourage your loved one to start making lists of what belongings they will keep and what will need to find a new home.
2. Sell or donate unwanted items
It’s tempting to throw away things that your loved one no longer wants or needs, but there’s probably someone else who can use them. The Internet makes it easy to sell things online, and anything that doesn’t sell can likely be donated. Many charities will even arrange to pick up the unwanted items, making the process of downsizing a bit easier.
3. Start packing sooner rather than later
Unfortunately, houses can’t pack up themselves. Unless the move is being completed in the midst of an emergency, try to take time to carefully go through belongings. This will help you decide what goes and what stays—without breaking or misplacing anything of importance to your senior loved one.
4. Secure prized possessions
There are certain things your family member won’t be willing to give up, whether because of sentimental reasons or monetary value. Consider moving anything that fits either of those categories to a secure location so that it is not lost or accidentally discarded during the move.
5. Think about life in the new place
Remember, when downsizing from a house to a condo or apartment, certain chores like shoveling snow in the winter and yard work in the spring will be eliminated. Encourage your loved one to have a yard sale to clear out that garage or storage shed. Then watch how quickly someone will snap up an unwanted lawn mower or snow blower at a good price!
6. Stay organized
Downsizing and preparing for a move can be a long process. Your loved one might have to put some items in storage for a while. Be sure to label boxes clearly and create a master list of what is in each box. When moving day comes, it will make it much easier to find everything.
7. Consider the layout of the new home
As your loved one downsizes his or her belongings, remind them to keep the new home’s layout in mind. Will it hold all of his or her current furniture? What is the storage space like? Creating a floor plan of the new home will help in deciding which things will fit and which ones won’t.
8. Try not to buy anything new – for now
This, of course, doesn’t apply to food and basic living necessities, but it does refer to things like furniture, appliances, and home décor. Encourage your loved one to save any shopping sprees until he or she is settled into the new place so as not to add to the packing duties.
9. Take a trip down memory lane
Packing for a move often means going through old photos and belongings that may evoke powerful memories. Allow your loved one some time to reflect on the past, particularly if the memories are happy ones.
10. Focus on what matters most
As a retiree, your loved one now has more time to focus on hobbies and other interests. Keep this in mind as you help them downsize. What might seem like a box of dusty old books to you may be a source of great joy to your loved one. Remember to keep their interests in mind—not yours—when packing for the big move.
Your senior loved one might be leaving behind some wonderful memories in their old home. It may be necessary to remind your family member that new adventures await them!
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