By: Michael Longsdon

How Seniors Can Make the Most of a Downsizing Move

Tags: Seniors

If you’ve been thinking of scaling back during your retirement, you are not alone. Downsizingcan give you a fresh start and is a financially savvy move. Of course, a proper downsizing process can take some time, planning, and effort. Finding a new home, decluttering your life and adjusting after a move can be intense. Luckily, there are many ways to make the entire process easier on yourself, especially during retirement. If you are planning to downsize your current home, here are some tips for taking the stress out your move. 
 
Sorting Through Your Things 

As you might expect, the first step of downsizing involves assessing your current belongings. You should think about what you currently use, what you don’t use, and what you’re less likely to use in a smaller home. That will help you decide which items to keep, donate, or throw away. As you go through your belongings, be sure to consider your furniture, too. Do you have any items that are old, like a worn-out couch or an aging mattress? If so, it might be time to toss them. Experts recommend replacing old mattresses every seven to 10 years. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to read some online reviews and invest in a new mattress for your new home?
 
When downsizing, consider the size of your new home and really take stock of how your current belongings will fit into your new life. Modern technology can also make downsizing much easier. For example, you can use albums to organize important photos and paper memories, and then scan the rest into digital storage. 
 
As you decide what to keep or get rid of, be patient with yourself. Going through a lifetime of memories and possessions can take some time, so it’s best to get started as soon as you can. Try to stay objective when deciding what to keep and what to discard. 


If after going through your things, you still have stuff you don’t want to get rid of, consider renting a storage unit. It can be a perfect way for retirees to store seasonal decor, vacation gear, and extra items, too. The average costof renting a 10x20 storage unit is $100. 


Looking for Your New Home 
 
Downsizing your belongings is one step of the process. The other step is downsizing your home itself. If you’ve been craving a smaller home, now’s the perfect time to start your search. Finding a new home is easier if you start by hiringan experienced local realtor to ensure the process goes smoothly. 
 
Sit down with your agent at the start of your search process to discuss what kind of home and neighborhood you’d prefer. Discuss any features you want or need in your new home, such as accessibility optionsfor aging in place. You should also ask your agent about recent comparable sales when determining a sales price for your home. To get an idea of what your current home might be worth, discuss what features your home has or doesn’t have that might affect the price. That will help reduce any surprises during the sales process.
 
Packing Everything Securely 
 
Once you’ve downsized your belongings and found the perfect new home, you’re ready to start packing up your old home. To make packing easier, be sure to snag plenty of moving boxes and stock up on medium- and smaller-sized boxes. Packing items into smaller boxes can make lifting and moving them around the home much safer for people of all ages, especially seniors. As with any move, you should also take care to wrap fragile items securely and label each box according to room and contents. 

If that level of effort seems too stressful, you might also consider hiring movers to do the packing and moving for you. These days, the national cost to hire movers ranges from $508 to $1,411. When hiring movers, it’s best to get local recommendations from your realtor or friends. Be sure to shop around to find the best price on quality movers that will safely get you into your new home. 


Making Your Move Stress-Free for Everyone

There’s more to moving than packing and relocating all of your belongings. It’s also a good ideato use a moving checklist to help plan everything. The checklist provides a visual reminder of everything you’ll need to get done prior to moving day. By taking care of these things in advance, you’ll find it much easier to get settled into your new home. 
 
If you are one of the many seniors who have pets, keep them in mind during this process, too. Moving can be rough on pets, so the AARP recommends taking some proactive steps to make moving day stress-free. To help pets settleinto their new home, bring their old toys, treats, and bedding along with you. Those small touches can help your new place feel more familiar to your pet. On moving day, you may also want to arrange for pet care. This eliminates the chance of your pet getting lost or injured, running away, or becoming frightened by all the hustle and bustle going on inside your home. 


Moving to a smaller home can be a smart move for seniors. Downsizing provides a fresh change of scenery and a financial boost that can help provide you with a new lease on life. With the right planning, the right realtor and a little help, you can successfully downsize into the retirement home of your dreams. Your stress-free move will put you on track to making your golden years the best years of your life.