Nurses making the bed and comforting a resident

Downsizing Can Be Liberating.

Does the word “downsizing” make you feel overwhelmed? Some people may think downsizing means throwing away your prized possessions. That doesn’t have to be the case. It’s simply trimming down the items you’ll no longer need. Beginning the process as soon as you seriously start to consider a move into senior living will make the project easier. You might want to talk to your family members and friends to see if they have interest or need for something you have. You may be surprised how much they welcome your gesture.

If you’ve made the decision which senior living community you’ll be moving to, and if you’ve picked out your floor plan and square footage, you can make decisions about what furniture to take. Will you want to keep your car? That depends if your new community has convenient transportation, like Mission Chateau. One area you can really purge is your garage. Mission Chateau is maintenance-free both indoors and out, so you may be able to eliminate or give away many items in your garage or workshop.

In addition, with Mission Chateau’s restaurant-style meals and menu choices, you won’t need many of your household kitchen items.

Keep, Toss, Donate, Gift.

Downsizing can be streamlined with a little planning. Make a chart with a room-by-room inventory. Create columns labeled: Keep It, Toss It, Donate It, Gift It. You might want to get stickers and color-code each item. You may have heard the saying, “If you haven’t used it or looked at it for a year, you probably don’t need it.”


Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Do you absolutely want to keep it?
  • Would a family member or friend appreciate it?
  • Is it a duplicate? Do you really need two sets of soup pots or six sets of sheets?
  • Is the item in good enough shape to donate to charity? List out those items along with the condition and keep the list for your tax records.

If you decide to give away something that was meaningful to you, take a photo and frame it. It will keep the memory close.

women smiling and embracing each other

One Room at a Time

The day you decide to start picking and packing up items to sell, pass on to family members or donate may be filled with emotion. Plan on it taking longer than a day.

Start on one room at a time. But don’t start with the biggest rooms. Start with the garage, workshop and basement or storage areas. You may have very little emotional attachment to the items in these areas, so it should move more smoothly. If you have second thoughts about giving away certain items, that’s to be expected. It’s okay to change your mind, but consider why this item was put on the list in the first place.

It should be easier to downsize the rooms that won’t be available in your new residence. If you’re moving to an apartment, you may not have an office space, second bedroom or shed. If that’s the case, you can donate or give away nearly everything in those areas.


Share Memories

Invite a friend or family member to stay with you during the downsizing process for moral support and for advice. Use the sorting time to share memories with your children and grandchildren. Ask them to help you. When you come across those sports trophies or cherished stuffed animals, relate how important that item was to the family member and use the time to bond. It’s a great time to share family stories and information about your family’s heirlooms. Keep in mind, it’s your family that is most treasured, not the stuff surrounding you.

The more time you have to downsize, the less exhausting the process is and the better you’ll get at making decisions. Once it’s done, sit back and relax. You may feel a whole new sense of freedom.