If your older parents are moving from the family home to an easier-to-maintain apartment or smaller home in a retirement community, you may be tasked with helping them downsize and declutter. Downsizing is often a complicated and emotional process, especially for those who have lived in their home for many years. Fortunately, there are simple ways to make the downsizing experience more manageable for parents and their adult children.
Downsize in stages
Moving from a larger home to a smaller space is a process that can take weeks or even months to accomplish. Try breaking the downsizing process into stages by focusing on one room at a time. Start by tackling smaller areas, like drawers or closets. Remember, organizing and decluttering can be tiring, especially for your parents, so be sure to limit your sessions to just a few hours at a time.
Divide items into categories
Downsizing a 40 to 50-year-old household is no small task, and deciding which items to keep or let go can be emotionally draining. As you sort through your parents’ belongings, separate items into three categories: keep, donate, or sell. Start by making a list of “must-have” items, including family heirlooms, jewelry, or photo albums. Then, use the measurements of your parents’ new apartment or home to determine how their current furniture and décor will fit into a smaller space. From there, you can start sorting through items like clothing or books and decide what to keep, donate, or sell.
Preserve special belongings
It’s natural for older adults to feel sentimental throughout the downsizing process, especially as they sort through belongings that hold special memories. One creative way to preserve photographs, letters, and other small mementos is by making a scrapbook that can be displayed in your parents’ new home. This way, their belongings will be kept safe and free from damage without taking up too much space.
Bring in the pros
The downsizing process can be time-consuming. If you don’t have enough family members or friends available to help, consider hiring a professional moving company that specializes in senior moving. Calling in the experts can help you downsize with less stress, especially if you’re pressed for time.
Consider downsizing a fresh start
Downsizing to a retirement community can make life much simpler for older adults. Parting with possessions is often a liberating feeling, and many seniors find that relocating to a smaller home offers a fresh start for their retirement years. Without the hassle of managing a larger home, older adults in retirement communities have more freedom to make friends, travel, and explore new hobbies or interests. While downsizing isn’t easy, encourage your parents to embrace the change and consider moving as a wonderful beginning to the next chapter of their lives.