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Downsizing Tips for Seniors

By Justin Havre

Downsizing is one of the most difficult tasks for seniors moving into a smaller home. Letting go of old possessions, deciding how much to get rid of, and finding places to send all of your old things can be time consuming. Having a plan in advance and sticking to a schedule can help.

Start Early

Seniors who start downsizing before they ever begin looking for a new home often find the task to be less overwhelming. Doing this makes it possible to spread out the chore over many months and take time to do it right. Some tips include:

  • Downsize through the seasons. For example, purging your home of excess holiday decorations is best done at the holidays, when the boxes are already out.

  • Set aside time each day for the task.

  • Go room by room to remove clutter and get the house organized.

  • Keep track of the places that have already been sorted to avoid wasted time.

Make A Plan

Once an offer has been made on a home and a close date has been projected, then it becomes easy to make a goal and establish a plan for finishing the downsizing task.

Start by measuring the new home, including storage space. This will help you decide how much needs to be given away before the move date occurs. Once you know how much space the new house has compared to the old house, then a schedule for purging each room can be made. It's important to be finished with the purge process well before it's time to move, so that there is enough time to pack. When writing a plan for downsizing, keep in mind that there are many different ways to get rid of old things, such as:

  • Garage sale

  • Sell items online

  • Recycle

  • Give away items to friends and neighbors

  • Give away items to consignment shops

  • Donate to charities

Get Help From Friends

Moving boxes can be physically taxing, and an injury could put you behind schedule at a crucial moment. To avoid problems, get help from friends, neighbors or moving professionals. Spreading the work around can help you stay fresh and productive up through the move and beyond. Whether it's for picking up furniture or giving the home a new coat of paint to impress buyers, working with others can make everything go by quickly and safely.

Do The Most Complex Tasks First

Throwing things away is easy enough, but selling things and finding charities to take donations can take time and coordination. Putting the hard tasks before the easy tasks will help ensure that there is enough time to sufficiently downsize before the move.

Know What Can and Can't Be Thrown Away

Not everything should be thrown in the trash. Household cleaning products, cans of paint, tires and batteries are all examples of things that should not be thrown in the trash during a purge. To find out how to dispose of items that are hazardous, toxic or simply not acceptable for your local landfill, contact your sanitation department.

Homeowners who plan to rent a dumpster should also keep in mind that there are many things that dumpster companies will not accept. In addition to the items mentioned above, many dumpster companies will not accept appliances, bricks, electronics, concrete and rocks. Knowing these things in advance can help you plan and find alternative places where these items can be thrown away.

Put Things In Storage

Sometimes fully downsizing isn't realistic. Putting items into storage can make it possible to live comfortably in a new, smaller home while also keeping some of your old things.

If you plan to get a storage unit, don't look for one until you've found a new home. This way you can be sure to pick a storage facility in the area around your new home.

Work With Your Real Estate Professional

Your real estate professional can help you with the move and negotiations to ensure that you have enough time to down size. To get started with your upcoming home purchase, contact your real estate professional today.

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Tags: Senior Living

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