To Purge or not to Purge: Downsizing Advice for Seniors

Whether moving in with family, transitioning to a senior living facility or moving to a smaller, more manageable home, downsizing is an inevitability for most seniors. Downsizing is the process of decluttering and purging belongings you no longer need. It makes it easier to manage your day-to-day affairs and keep things clean, which makes for a more orderly and environmentally friendly living space.

With fewer physical encumbrances, you’re free to pursue more of the things you love and want to do and spend time with people who mean the most to you. But it’s not an easy thing to do. It means parting with objects that may have been with you for a lifetime, many of which may have special meaning. Here are a few tips aimed at making downsizing a bit easier for you.

Downsize to scale
Bear in mind the size of the space you’re moving to. If you only have two bedrooms, there’s no need to haul along four sets of bed clothing or seven pillows and pillowcases. Another good way to gauge how much downsizing you’ll need to do is to measure the rooms and wall lengths in your new home. That way you’ll know what furniture will fit and what won’t. It’s amazing how much space you can free up and how much cleaning time you can save yourself by getting rid of as much big stuff (couches, coffee tables, etc.).
It might have been awhile since you have looked for a new home. You will need to find the best mortgage that will fit your budget. Borrowers will need to check their credit history, down payment and income to qualify for a low interest rate. If needed, you should consult a financial planner or mortgage lender to examine current interest rates, monthly mortgage payments and other financial obligations.

Get a jump on it
If you’re working on a timetable, the last thing you want to do is wait to the last minute to get started. Downsizing should be a deliberate undertaking, and it’s worth taking your time to do it right. Think in terms of weeks, rather than days or hours. Go room by room, handling each item and make a few dollars out of it all. One good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used within the past year.

Ease into it
There’s no need to jump right into your most treasured possessions right away. Save the stuff that’s going to be the toughest to go through for later, if not last. Ease into it by starting with the small stuff including your laundry room or linen closet, which aren’t likely to generate such strong emotions. It’ll be easier to get rid of stuff you can really do without and give you a pleasant feeling of accomplishment, which will help motivate you to keep going.

If you’ve ever wondered why you have two waffle irons, three lettuce strainers and eight potholders, now’s your time to do something about all that stuff you’ve gotten for Christmas and birthdays over the years. Downsize all your duplicate belongings and donate them to charity or consider selling them on eBay. There’s no sense dragging along things you’ve known for years you need to get rid of. Think of it as making room for fun new things that will add to your
quality of life.

Embrace your feelings
Be prepared to experience a range of emotions as you declutter and purge. You may come across belongings you’ve forgotten about, things that stir up powerful memories. It’s OK to cry, it’s okay to hug, and it’s perfectly fine to stop and take a break while you collect your thoughts and
make difficult decisions.

Moving means you’re starting a whole new chapter in your life. Decluttering and downsizing will make it much easier to start fresh and see things from a new perspective, which is important if you’re moving to new and unfamiliar surroundings.
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Article Submitted (2019) By:

Janet Campbell

Janet Campbell is the writer of this article and creator of ElderSpark. Her mission is to encourage people of all ages to live their healthiest and happiest lives ever. She strives to provide information on senior wellness and safety as well as ideas for how to make the most of this beautiful chapter of our lives.

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