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Senior Life

The Upside of Downsizing

Editorial content provided by our friends at arange.

You’ve been in your home 20, 30, even 50 years and the time is approaching to take the next step … it’s time to downsize. You’re not alone, AARP states that over 8,000 baby boomers will turn 65 everyday for the next 15 years. Moving can be one of the most challenging events in our lives and adding downsizing to the mix complicates it that much more. The potential emotion and effort intimidate many people contemplating the process.

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There is light at the end of the tunnel! Approached the right way, with a well thought out plan and the right amount of assistance, downsizing can be a wonderful journey.

The Joy of the Journey 

When you survey your home remember that you are only seeing about 20% of what you actually own and use. The other 80% is in drawers, behind doors, in closets, basements, and attics. That means this is could take a while. Depending on the size of your home, you can expect to spend 2-5 months on the downsizing process if you go it alone. Experts recommend using a calendar to help plan your strategy. Once you have it mapped out (don’t forget to plan for outside events like trips), share your plan with your family and invite them to join you. Perhaps they can incorporate a family vacation or “staycation” to assist with certain areas, especially if you are still housing some of their belongings. Perusing through old photos and childhood mementos to- gether can trigger meaningful conversations and even make new memories. What a joy, to spend time with family and relive some of those wonderful moments.

The Joy of Giving

Passing on family heirlooms and cherished possessions is a long time tradition. But why wait? Watching family en- joy and appreciate loved items is a gift to be enjoyed now. Once you have identified what you will be taking to your new home, talk to your family. You may be surprised to find out that know one really wants the 1920’s Victrola but that “ugly” Christmas cookie jar is more cherished than you could have ever imagined. This is also a good time to de- termine what to do with the things you no longer need or want. Estate sales, auctions and consignments are good tools for pricey items but donating is a great option for the rest. Think about causes that are important to you to help you decide which charities to consider. Websites like greatnonprofits.org provide information about charities by city and issues so you can find one that’s right for you. Knowing that you are contributing to a worthy cause you believe in can bring a bigger sense of purpose to your downsizing. For tax benefits, try visiting charitynavigator.org for helpful tax tips concerning donations.

The Joy of Having Less

Half the fun of doing anything is looking forward to it! It’s important to stay focused on all the positives that will come with downsizing; less housework, little to no home maintenance and yard work, easier to get around, fewer bills to pay, and easier socialization. Going on a trip or weekend away becomes so much easier and fun when you don’t have to worry about all the things around the house you should be doing. This is a win-win endeavor and you can’t wait for this new chapter to begin!

Making the decision to downsize can be a rewarding experience if it’s well planned and given sufficient time. If you need help getting started, ask friends and family who have already downsized what worked for them. Organizations such as NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers, nassm.org) and NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers, napo.net) also offer helpful information as well as listings of local businesses that specialize in downsizing. So go ahead and get started on this exciting next step…you’re ready!

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  • About Jason Potts:

    Hey, everybody! My name is Jason, and I contribute to this great blog, but when I'm not posting for ForRent.com, I like to play music with friends, cook, and travel as much as possible.