Moving is hard for anyone. Downsizing during one’s golden years, however, can be the most difficult move of all. We grow to love our homes. They make us feel safe, comforted, and loved. However, as we age, it can become too difficult or too expensive to stay in the same place we’ve called home for the past several years.
If you’re reading this article, chances are that you or someone you love is considering a downsize. Downsizing can be a daunting process, especially for seniors who have decades of nostalgic memories tied to their current homes and belongings. Luckily, with some careful planning, you can successfully downsize and reclaim the best years of your life.
Here are some tips on ensuring a smooth process.
Do Your Homework
Before touring any homes, research local properties online. Search homes by price in your area to get a feel for which home sizes, prices, and locations work best for your senior loved one.
As you search for the ideal property, take note of the average cost of homes for sale in your desired location. For instance, Redfin reports that the average sale price of a home in St. Charles this past month was $232,000. Knowing these numbers helps you not only budget for your new home, but also estimate how much you can expect to get for your current home.
Deciding where to move and what to keep or discard can bring up many emotions. Many people even experience grief when it’s time to say goodbye to their beloved home. By showing your loved one some empathy and compassion, you can help them cope with this difficult process.
Start by capturing plenty of photos of each room and making a photo book, which your loved one can reflect on at their new home. Tell them to take time saying goodbye and allow them to express their feelings.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the best way to cope with the emotions of downsizing is to have social support. Make it a family affair, and invite others to help sort and pack belongings. When settling into a new home, it’s important to also plug into the neighborhood. By engaging with local resources and making new friends as quickly as possible, your loved one can transition into a new chapter of life and avoid feeling estranged in the new community.
What should you do with the items you can’t take with you? You might consider selling those belongings rather than tossing them in the trash. Or you could donate items to a local humane society, Salvation Army, or sell them to a vintage store. As a fringe benefit, for the items you donate it’s possible to receive a tax deduction.
Plan the Move
When it comes to planning a smooth move, start by creating a moving budget. Your budget should include tasks like transportation of all belongings to your new home, the cost of hiring movers, and potential costs to repair anything unexpectedly damaged during the move. Although it cost a little extra to hire professional movers, you might find that it’s worth it in the long run.
By leaving your moving day to the professionals, you’ll reduce your stress level, as well as your risks of injury or damaged items. Before hiring a moving crew, search for reputable local movers who have excellent customer reviews and fit your budget.
There’s a lot of thought that goes into downsizing and moving, especially as we age. Before relocating, seniors must consider where to move, what to keep or get rid of, and how to plan a smooth move. It’s no small feat, but with the right planning, you can ensure a successful downsize. With a smaller, lower-maintenance space, you’ll be happy you settled into a new home where you can make lasting memories for years to come.