Downsizing Tips For Seniors

June 8, 2020

Guest Author: Sue Vipond

As our world is beginning to open up and you are thinking about your relocation plans, you may often wonder what you can do to get ready to move and how to start the process. The following are some helpful tips from TLC Relocation Services (specializing in seniors) on how to Downsize and “De-stress”!

When Do I Start?
Start early!  It’s never too early to begin the downsizing process.  You don’t have to wait for a crisis… give yourself 6 months or longer as you have lots to do. You are in the perfect situation because you have the time to get a jumpstart.

Where Do I Start?
Begin by concentrating on typical problem areas, such as the garage, closets, and file cabinets.  “Once begun, half done” you will feel like you have accomplished something, then choose and focus on one room at a time.

How Do I Prepare to Sort and Declutter?
Collect an assortment of boxes in different sizes and separate and label them by category. Designate different areas of the room you are sorting and divide the boxes according to the items that you are keeping, passing on, donating, selling, throwing away and recycling. This alleviates confusion as to what your plans are for each piece, and speeds up the process as you can identify what goes where and put it in the appropriate container.

How Do I Determine What to Keep or Get Rid Of?
Ask yourself “What do I need if I am downsizing? Will I be entertaining? Do I have enough space for my books, personal collections, and photo albums? Do I have room to bring my linens, towels, winter items? If I can’t decide now, will it be costly to move it and get rid of it on the other side?  Have I worn or used this in the last couple of years?”…if the answer is “No” then you probably don’t need it.

Ask yourself “Why am I keeping this? Do I love it or is it just a fond reminder of someone or something?”  Consider hiring a personal historian to write the story behind your treasures and bind them in a book so that you can relive the memories without the actual keepsake.

Consider family members, friends, neighbors, favorite organizations, affiliations and then do an inventory of what you want to give to each of them.  Put the names of who is getting what on the appropriate boxes.  Remember that your kids probably don’t want much but your grandchildren might!

What Do I do with My Valuables?
There are various ways that you can monetize your move by selling or consigning your collections, but don’t expect to get what you paid for them.  Times have changed and the next generation doesn’t seem interested in china, silver, flatware, crystal or linens.

Promotion via estate sales (check to see if allowed in your community) and auction houses (typically for specific high-end items) have become increasingly popular.  Used furniture sales and buy-out companies will give you pennies on the dollar and will arrange to pick things up.  And if you go the consignment shop route, make sure that you do it in season when there are more buyers in town.

What else will I need?
Lots of boxes, in all sizes, (don’t use liquor store boxes), packing paper (no newspaper), bubble wrap for fragile pieces.  Mark shipping labels (use a Sharpie) with room contents and indicate “top load” or “fragile” as necessary.

Ask yourself if this is a job that you can do yourself?  Are there family members or friends that you can engage in the process? Moving is not easy, is physically taxing and time consuming.  You don’t need to do it alone.

Consider hiring a move expert or relocation specialist like TLC Senior Move Experts to facilitate with all the pieces involved in orchestrating your move. They can help you with developing an overall move plan; sorting and downsizing; packing, unpacking, and setting up your new home; interviewing, scheduling and overseeing both local and long-distance moves; arranging for shipments and storage; coordinating with estate sale, consignment, auction, buy out, donation and final clean-out sources. They can also supply all  the necessary packing materials so that you do not have to purchase your own.

Allow for 3-6 months from start to finish and don’t get overwhelmed.  This can be an exciting adventure if you take it in pieces and know where to begin.

About the Author: Sue Vipond of TLC Senior Move Experts helps clients from start-to-finish through the downsizing and moving process. TLC specializes in helping Seniors through the transition to their new home or apartment. For more info, reach out directly: ; (941)554-4746

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