How To Decide What To Keep When You Downsize Your Home

Apr 16, 2024

Guide To Downsizing for a Move to a Senior Living Community

While spacious senior living exists, often when you move to a Life Plan Community, you have to downsize your home. This is almost always a welcome change for older adults fatigued by the burdens of homeownership. Nevertheless, the process of decluttering and paring down can seem daunting until you have a smart plan.

“Thinking about the conveniences, community and care offered at The Admiral at the Lake provides our future residents with peace of mind during this transition. When you can stay focused on the goal and lifestyle that awaits you on the other side, the task feels more manageable,” says Director of Sales & Marketing Katie O’Brien. 

Still, you likely need some guidance as you pare down. Continue reading for three steps that can guide you through the process.

How To Decide What To Keep When You Downsize Your Home [Three Downsizing Tips]

  1. Break Down the Process into Smaller Steps. 
    Seniors often feel most overwhelmed about the paring-down process when they think about the entire job in front of them. It’s much easier to make decisions about what to keep in the next phase of your life if you approach it step by step. 
    Start in a rarely used nook or storage room. It should be easier to eliminate things in these spaces because they aren’t often items with daily, practical use. You may, however, have sentimental items stored away in these spaces. These are by far the most challenging items to part with. But there are a number of ways to handle sentimental items that can help you in your downsizing tasks without losing the memories. You might consider giving these cherished possessions to loved ones or finding a way to incorporate them into your decor at your new senior living residence.  
    Take one room at a time, and don’t start another room until you finish the one you’re working on. Allow yourself to really consider what to keep and where they’ll fit in the floor plan you’ve chosen.
  2. Consider Your Lifestyle Needs.
    Moving to a smaller space may feel a bit different than what you’re used to, but it isn’t likely to require much sacrifice. When you choose a Continuing Care Retirement Community, you may find that the trade-offs in residential space are made up for in an enhanced living experience. 
    “Residences at The Admiral at The Lake feature a balcony with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the city and lake. Along with your beautiful home, you have the great privilege of taking part in everything the community has to offer: wellness opportunities, lifelong learning, and creative pursuits supported by our diverse amenities,” O’Brien says.
    At most retirement communities, you’ll have access to amenities like a fitness center, library and lounge. This means you won’t need to keep your old treadmill, you can pare down your book collection, and you likely won’t need as much furniture to fill your new residence.
  3. Take Some Downsizing Tips from the Experts. 
    While the KonMari Method™ of decluttering has taken off in popularity, there are other strategies to achieving a liberating, rightsized life. 
    Here are some recommended methods you might find helpful:

    Set Ground Rules: You are most familiar with your priorities and your tendencies, so these rules are best set by you. Perhaps you decide that it’s important not to have a “maybe” pile as you sort through items, or you might want to make sure that storage items have to fit in a certain number of containers. Regardless of what the rules are, they’ll help you to stay focused throughout the process. 

    Four-Box Method: In each room you pare down, you will have four boxes labeled: Keep, Throw Away, Donate, and Give Away. As you sort through your rooms, there will be items that clearly belong in one spot or another. For other items, you might decide that you need an objective opinion to help you make a final decision.

    12-12-12 Challenge: This method is similar to the four-box method because you’re thinking in terms of categories to place items –Throw Away, Donate, and Keep. This time, though, you are charged with finding 12 items in the specific room you are working in to put in each spot. The number is arbitrary. You can challenge yourself with whatever number you’re comfortable with during the time allotted to the task. The unique part of this strategy is that it can be a quick challenge to add to the overall effort. 

As you complete the process of downsizing your home, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Invite family and friends into the process. Allow time to reminisce, and think creatively about ways you can incorporate sentimental items into your new home.   

If you are feeling overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, consider hiring a professional move manager. Their expertise and insight can help make the process go smoothly, alleviate a lot of stress and work, and help make your move seamless. A professional helping hand can make a tremendous difference.

Discover What City Life at the Lake Can Be for You

The Admiral at the Lake offers comfortable and elevated senior living on Chicago’s lakefront. Our Life Plan Community offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. Come visit us on the lakefront and see what our community offers or request a brochure.