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From the Neighborhood Press

Spring Cleaning: downsizing

On a beautiful spring day, Trudy stood in the middle of her house and surveyed all her belongings. She was just now entering her retirement years and just couldn’t maintain such a big house anymore. She and the kids had the big discussion at Christmas time about what she should do. Since then, she had talked with realtors, toured properties from Rio Rancho to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and imagined her new life in a smaller place. Then one of her friends at church told her about an exciting opportunity to live in a Life Plan community designed especially for seniors.

While 55 plus communities are quite common, many seniors like Trudy love the aspect of a retirement community that has all levels of care available to them should they require services such as assisted living or memory care in later years. And though Trudy did have children who could care for her if need be, it seemed dignified to have professional caregivers who could assist her as needed. And she would still live near her children. They could always come over and visit often. For now, Trudy wasn’t in need of a nursing home. She was still active and independent and enjoying life. The Life Plan community she had chosen had so many activities and social opportunities for seniors just like her that she was looking forward to. And the home she found inside the community was cozy and the perfect size for her to manage. But now the question. What to do with such a big household to downsize?

Seniors often have acquired quite a few belongings over the years. If you are looking to move into a smaller home or if you just need to do a little spring cleaning this year to declutter your home, you may find that it is easier than you thought. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Determine Your Goals

Determine your goals. If you are moving into a new home, find out square footage and plan one room at a time. Some senior communities have planning tools to help you figure out how your furniture might fit into each area. If you are already living in your dream home, consider what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you’d like a more airy feel to each room or to finally sort through some boxes you have stashed away.

Have an organized plan. It’s impossible to tackle everything at once. So, start with one area or room at a time and work your way through before moving on to the next area. Tag items you want to sell or give away as well as ones you definitely want to keep.

Get help. You don’t need to feel overwhelmed. If you have family or friends in the area, plan a Saturday afternoon to get together. They can help you pack up items, lift boxes and get things organized. If you need a second opinion on whether or not to keep an item, a good friend can give you advice. Plus a get together can be fun. Order in lunch and serve some cold drinks!

Know your options. It can be difficult to decide which items to part with at the moment. And maybe you won’t even have to. You have options. You may opt for a temporary storage unit to store some of your belongings until you decide which ones you’ll be able to part with and which ones will fit into your new home. Some storage units in New Mexico even can be temperature controlled so you won’t have to worry about damage to your belongings. You might also consider giving away sentimental items to family members or close friends. This way you’ll be able to enjoy them for many more years when you visit.

Downsizing can be very rewarding for seniors. You’ve set goals for your retirement years. Downsizing might be one of the steps you need to take to reach those goals. Involving family and friends in the process is a great way to connect and make the process much easier. Retirement as you want it is very attainable. With just a little effort and planning you can get it done! Happy spring cleaning!

4 responses to “Spring Cleaning: downsizing

  1. Good article! Should help people start visualizing the best way to downsize. It feels good to get rid of some things and others, that mean the world to you, can shine.

    1. Thank you so much for the inspirational comment, Linda! Great insight. We are so happy you enjoyed our article!

  2. Determining your goals is such an amazing tip! It’s hard to go through stuff just to go through it and become overwhelming for anyone. Especially for a senior getting ready to move to a different place and have such a huge change in their lives. Thank you for the amazing tip!

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