5 Downsizing Tips for Active Adult Retirement Living
Preparing to move to an active adult retirement living community may seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to downsizing. Sorting through decades of stored possessions and deciding what to keep, what will fit and how to get it all done in time can feel overwhelming and stressful. Before those feelings slow you down, follow these expert tips for downsizing to active adult retirement living.
Downsizing Tips for Active Adult Retirement Living
Downsizing experts agree that starting the process sooner rather than later for a move to an active adult retirement living community helps reduce stress. When you give yourself enough time to downsize, without the move date looming over you, you can take your time and make sound decisions that you won’t regret after moving. Allowing plenty of time also makes it easier for your family and friends to help, have kids pick up their long-forgotten possessions, have donations picked up or dropped off without pressure and hold a garage sale if desired. Find out what else experts have to say in Parade’s #1 Piece of Advice When Downsizing a Home, According to Experts—Plus, One Thing You *Shouldn’t* Do.
Make a plan
Like any big project, advanced planning can go a long way towards successful downsizing. Downsizing is just one part of moving to an active adult retirement living community. An overall plan should include a detailed timeline with weekly goals, a schedule of appointments (e.g. home repair/improvement professionals), listing and sale of the home (e.g. open houses, closing date) and move date. A complete plan with a detailed timeline helps you stay on track, so you’re ready for moving day. For a complete downsizing checklist, download AARPs Downsizing the Family Home Workbook.
Prearrange your furniture
It’s likely you won’t be taking all your furniture with you to the active adult retirement community. If you’re not sure which furniture should come with you, try one of the many floor plan programs that let you pre-arrange furniture in your new active adult retirement living home or apartment. Trying out recliners, sectional couches, tables and other furniture in different configurations and rooms make it easier for you to decide. Not only will this help cut moving costs, but it will make moving day much easier and less physically demanding because your movers can arrange the furniture for you according to your plan.
Proceed one room at a time
Another piece of expert advice for downsizing to move to active adult retirement living is to proceed one room at a time. Each will present its challenges but being methodical will minimize stress and have you feeling like you are getting the job done as you begin to check off one room after another. With each new room, designate an area for items you will be keeping and another for items you will be gifting, selling or donating and tag them appropriately – our blog post, Downsizing Tips That Aren’t Overwhelming, provides information on how to sort and what to do with unwanted items. You may also find This Old House’s Downsizing Before a Move: A Room-by-Room Guide helpful too.
Expect emotional moments
One aspect of downsizing for an active adult retirement living community you may not anticipate is the emotional rollercoaster it can trigger. Emotions may arise from digging into old memories in boxes of baby clothes and other keepsakes as well as realizing the nest is empty and retirement is life’s final chapter.
According to AARP’s, How to Cope With Downsizing Your Home, being prepared for and acknowledging these emotions can make the rollercoaster less difficult. For example, when you know you have sentimental items to sort through, ask a trusted friend or family member to be there to assist and help you maintain objectivity. Recognizing that your new life in an active adult retirement living community holds so much promise will also help you look forward rather than back.
Downsizing for a move to an active adult retirement living community takes effort. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly stressful. Starting sooner rather than later, developing and sticking to a plan, tackling one room at a time while deciding which items will be coming with you – including furniture – and following tips to prevent being consumed by emotions will help reduce the stress and help you stay on track. Enjoying the freedom that comes from downsizing as well as all the amenities of an active adult retirement living community will quickly make it all worthwhile.