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Downsizing 101 - Tips to Make the Transition Easier

Transitioning into a smaller space, particularly an independent living facility, can be an emotionally draining task. You may need to go through boxes you’ve been avoiding for years, donate or sell furniture, and leave the home you and your spouse raised your children in. Our goal is to help make the transition to our independent living facility a little bit easier. Keep your communication open, take your downsizing one step at a time, and go at your own pace.

Take Pictures

Downsizing is a difficult transition, and you’re going to want photos of the home you raised your kids in. Not only for yourself, but for the generations to come to know the place their elders spent their time. Before moving or tossing anything, take a few pictures of your home the way it is. Maybe it’s a rocking chair that you’ve used since you bought the house, or the guest bedroom that so many family members have stayed in. Regardless, having the memories in photos can help your goodbye seem a little less final.

Figure Out the Size of Your New Space

Instead of thinking about the idea of downsizing and leaving your home, think of this transition as a new adventure and chance to decorate a new space. Determine the area of your new space at the independent living facility in order to figure out just how much you have to purge. If your space is furnished, you’ll be able to get rid of all of your furniture. Determine how much cabinet space you have and which kitchen utensils you absolutely need to take. Your 16 piece pot set may have been useful in your home kitchen, but you may only need a few in your new space. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t feel obligated to get rid of something that holds sentimental value, even if it may not fit in your new space. Instead, think about passing the items on to your children or grandchildren so that it stays within your family.

Sort and Organize Your Items

Start sorting your items into three categories:

  • I Need It
  • I Could Probably Use It
  • I Forgot I Had It

By using this sorting method you can begin to eliminate your items slowly.

I Need It

Items in this category are stuff you use every day, such as your clothes, bathroom items, and typical kitchen dishes and utensils. Anything you use daily, weekly, or monthly should probably be in this category, as well as any heirlooms, albums, and photographs that are sentimental to you.

I Could Probably Use It

These are things that you don’t use all the time but are helpful when you need them. While you may not need three different winter coats, having three different kinds could be beneficial in certain situations. Other items in the category can include specialty kitchen items, like pasty brushes or cookie cutters, holiday decorations, and your set of guest bathroom towels.

I Forgot I Had It

There are surely items in your home that you never use, and possibly even some you forgot you had. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in a year, it’s not necessary to have it in your home.

Sell, Donate, or Gift

Once you’ve decided what items you can part with, it’s time to determine what you are going to do with them. Will you donate or throw them away, will you sell them at a yard sale or online, or will you give them to family and friends? Anything old, heavily used, or broken can be tossed, and items you don’t think anyone you know would want can be donated. Items in good working or new condition can be sold, either by having a yard sale or listing them online. If you have family heirlooms or sentimental items, you may want to give them to family members or friends instead.

Preparing For Your Move

The process of downsizing and decluttering is just the beginning of moving to an independent living facility. Once you know what you’re taking, you have to figure out how you’re actually going to get it all there. Are you and your family members going to slowly move your possessions over to the facility, or will you hire movers to handle it for you. Some prefer to move their own stuff so that it never leaves their possession. Some of our residents prefer that a moving company takes care of the packing and unloading so it’s one less thing they have to worry about in the transition process.

The Village of Germantown Can Help Support You

Our team at The Village at Germantown loves welcoming our residents to their new home. We have both apartments and villa-style homes, making it easy for you to choose the floor plan that best suits your life and your belongings. Reach out to us to schedule a tour today!

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