Successful Downsizing: Four Key Tips for Retirement

Ask the Experts

Even if you know you’re five years out from a move, it’s never too soon to start decluttering.

Consider hiring a professional senior relocation specialist early in the process to help you sort and create a plan. Paying for services will help you stay focused, and it is amazing what a professional can accomplish in a 4-hour session. The advice is to sort into four categories: bring, donate, trash, family.

Downsizers also provide invaluable expertise in the best ways to sell and the market value of belongings, which is often far less than people expect. This can be a big help when it comes to parting with items.

Stay True to a Deadline

Most senior living communities require you to move within 60 days of a signed contract. But whether it’s 60 days, six months, or longer, once you’ve scheduled that move date officially or in your mind, you’ll be more focused on doing what needs to be done.

Once you’re ready, start with smaller spaces like bathrooms and laundry rooms where you have less emotional attachment to items. If possible, invite the kids and grandkids to help. This can become a family bonding event as you share stories about certain mementos and belongings.

Hold onto Memories, Clear Away Clutter

Move the things that are most familiar to you: a favorite chair, your comfortable couch, a desk where you write letters to loved ones. Instead of moving your grandmother’s entire collection of dolls or china, pick a few items and take photos of the rest. Have them made into a photo book, so you can enjoy them without the clutter.

Concentrate on the Benefits You’re Gaining

This is an exciting new chapter in your life. You’ll have fewer surfaces to dust, rooms to vacuum or towels to wash. No more mowing the lawn or shoveling snow or cleaning gutters. And those beloved items that you donated or passed on to friends and family are now bringing joy to someone else.

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