There will come a day when seniors will be faced with the decision of whether or not to downsize their living space in order to accommodate a new lifestyle.
The desire to downsize can be a result of several factors:
- Children have moved out of the home, leaving behind empty bedrooms and bathrooms to maintain.
- There is a lot of equity tied up in the home that can be liquidated to enhance quality of life.
- Indoor and outdoor maintenance has become too time consuming or physically challenging.
- Seniors desire a different home layout. For example, moving to a one-story ranch from a multi-level home can help with mobility issues by eliminating stairs.
A growing number of seniors are also choosing to remodel their home and age in place instead of downsizing.
Consulting with a Michigan Seniors Real Estate Agent can help you determine whether downsizing or aging in place is the best option for your unique situation.
If you do decide to move into a smaller home, here are some tips for decluttering and packing your belongings that will make the transition run as smooth as possible.
Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Declutter
A larger home with a lot of storage likely means you have accumulated several things over the years, so before you start packing boxes, you will need to begin decluttering.
Realize that this task cannot be completed in a weekend or even one week. Allowing yourself at least two to four weeks will give you enough time to determine which items you will be keeping or omitting without feeling rushed.
Also, remember this can be an emotional experience as you may be emptying out children’s rooms and sorting through old memories. Allow yourself extra time to reminisce and go through old family photos and keepsakes during the decluttering process.
Determine Which Items to Keep
When decluttering and organizing your belongings, consider rooms in your current home that will no longer be in your new home. For example, if you are moving into a condo, there may not be a sunroom or a home office. Envision your new home’s decor and layout. Will it have a suitable place to store those items?
Do you have a lot of duplicate items that can be eliminated? This might be true if you have a kitchen on the main level and another in a finished basement. From a practical and utilitarian standpoint, it may not make sense to hold on to these items.
Take a hard look at every item you sort through. If you use it regularly, keep it. But if you find items that you haven’t used in over a year, or clothes with the tags still on that you keep meaning to wear someday, it might be time to give these things away to family or donate to the nearest Good Will or Salvation Army.
Also, consider the sentimental value of your belongings. Do you prefer to hold onto these items or pass them down to family members? For example, you may not have the space for heirloom furniture but your grandchildren have room. Keep in mind that vintage furniture can be restored and upcycled to match other family member’s decor. Upcycling will keep things like furniture in the family and out of a landfill.
Consider Hiring a Professional Moving Company
Moving is never an easy task at any age, and will be even more physically challenging for seniors. For this reason, consider hiring a professional moving company or at a minimum, ask for help from friends and family.
A professional moving company is familiar with safe moving practices, experienced in protecting larger items from damage and will make the overall moving process run more efficiently.
If you do hire a moving company to pack your items, request that they do not pack any boxes too heavy and to keep them under 50 pounds. Keep in mind that after the moving company has transported the boxes to your new home, you still may be lifting them to organize and move items to different areas throughout the home.
Consult with a Michigan Seniors Real Estate Agent
Tracy Wick is a Michigan Seniors Real Estate Specialist with over 25 years of experience as a real estate consultant and client advocate.
Whether you plan on staying in your family home, or preparing it for the market, Tracy can help guide you through your staying in place plan, home renovations or new home search ensuring that your most important transition is the right one for you.