Whether it is an older adult moving into an assisted living facility or just empty nesters moving to a smaller home at some point we all have to downsize. Even though a 30 minute TV show can wrap it up including commercial breaks the reality is much tougher in person. Here are some tips:
- Start Early – that is where most of us make our mistakes. If you know you are going to be moving to a smaller space start thinking through and evaluate what you are planning to take and what you are planning to sell, donate or trash. If you have children who have moved out you can see if some pieces that you have determined you don’t need would be desirable or work for them. Be prepared that others may not want or need offered possessions. Millennials have a much different perspective and taste of what or need from your offered possessions. Many times collections that you have valued or spent a lifetime collecting do not have the same appeal for others. Keeping this perspective will help from getting feelings hurt on both sides and burdening others with items they really don’t want or need.
- Plan Out New Space – Determine if your furniture items will work in your new space. Does it fit the style and lifestyle of your new home or are you keeping furniture and items out of habit or because you paid a lot of money for it originally. I recently had a friend downsize from a large home they built about 15 years ago to a new home on a lake. The new home is on a lakefront and has a much more casual feel rather than the older home that was much more formal in design. She evaluated many of her current furniture and accessories to see what worked in the new space.
- Make sure everything has a purpose – the new smaller space may have to double for multiple needs. In our new home my filing cabinet got tucked into a corner of the master bedroom rather than a dedicated study or home office. Working from home I have to be creative of where I can physically work – when the weather is nice I work outside on the deck and patio area or if not able I work in the quieter area of a separate den away from the family.
- Keep clutter to a minimum – really be extremely harsh in determining what “sit arounds” you will take and imagine where they will go in the new home. Often we keep items out of habit but not that we particularly like or enjoy. If you have a difficult time letting things go consider working with one of our stagers to get a second opinion of someone. It is great to get an opinion from someone who is not emotionally attached to the items.