Downsizing is often part of the transition to independent or assisted living. At Fieldstone Communities, we understand that this can be an overwhelming process; sorting through a life’s worth of belongings and memories can be a challenging experience for some.
However, there are many upsides to downsizing, including the opportunity to simplify your life by removing items that you no longer use or need, as well as to donate household items or clothing to those less fortunate or to pass down sentimental items to children, grandchildren or other family members. The goal is to retain those items that are the most important to you; items that bring you joy and comfort and that hold precious memories.
Here are some tips to assist in the downsizing process:
- Start Early, Start Small
Downsizing can be a sizeable task. By starting far in advance of your moving date, you are allowing yourself to take your time, or take breaks as needed, and go through items one by one. When you don’t feel rushed or “against the clock,” downsizing is much less stressful.
Besides starting early, you want to make sure you are starting small. Beginning with a linen closet or small space, like a bathroom, will help get you into the grove before tackling bigger spaces like attics, basements, and garages. These tend to be the hardest areas to tackle since they accumulate boxes and storage of holiday decorations, old belongings, etc. Save these larger spaces for days where you feel energetic and up to the challenge, or perhaps when you have friends or family available to give you a hand.
- Use Your New Home as a Guide
It helps the downsizing process when you know exactly how much space you’re going to have in your new home. Measuring your new apartment space can help you start to sort through which items can stay and which things can go – especially in regard to furniture.
If you have limited cabinet space, it makes it easier to downsize your kitchen items and remove or donate any duplicate items like frying pans or coffee makers.
- Only Handle It Once
Many experts call it the OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once. If you become indecisive about an item, you become more attached to it. When evaluating an article, ask yourself questions like:
- When was the last time I used/wore this item?
- Have I used/worn this item within the previous 6 months?
- Is it broken, worn, stained, etc.?
If you cannot remember the last time you used an item, or if you didn’t remember you owned a particular item, it’s time to let it go. Remember, downsizing is about making room for only those items that hold emotional value or some importance in your life. Or, in some cases, making room for new things.
- Allow Time to Reminisce
While you are sorting through items and cleaning your home, it’s okay to take a minute and reminisce. Old photos, children’s belongings or toys – these items hold significant memories and, even if you aren’t keeping these items, it’s important to reflect on those memories. Sometimes it works well to place these personal items in a box and then come back to them later in the day to spend time sorting and reminiscing. This way you stay on track with your organizing while still giving yourself time to reflect.
- Ask for Help
Sometimes it’s really helpful to have a third party perspective when sorting through your things. This could be friend, a family member or even a professional organizer. Select someone whose opinion you trust and who you believe will provide you with the feedback you need while helping you stay on task. Having someone else involved can also make the entire process more fun.
If you would like to learn more about Fieldstone Senior Living Communities, visit our website today!