Moving is stressful to begin with – and it can be even more nerve-wracking if you’re moving into a smaller space. You have to go through your items and decide what you’re willing to keep, sell or donate. If you’re older, then you’ve probably accumulated a lot over the years. If you’ve decided to move into a senior living community, then you need to take inventory and figure out what you can’t live without.
Where to Start
Before beginning to go through all your stuff, get the measurements of your new senior living apartment, and mentally start to lay out your space. Start with the larger items and determine if they’ll fit in your apartment. It’s much easier to eliminate bigger furniture first if you know that they’ll no longer fit your needs.
No matter where you’re moving to, you should have a comprehensive list of everything that you own. As you start this list, you’ll notice that a lot of items haven’t been used in a long time. For example, if you have a lot of kitchen tools that you haven’t even pulled out in the last year – or perhaps, never used – these are easy to eliminate.
As you’re going through your belongings, separate items that you can’t live without from the ones that you like, but might be able to do without. You really only want to take what you need – as well as items that you truly love.
Start Separating Items
Create a system for going through items. You can either segment areas of a room or create boxes with labels like “keep”, “donate”, “give away”, and “trash”. It’s easier to start with a single room than try to tackle your entire house, which could make the separation process easier. You can single out a section of each room for your boxes or groups of items.
When going through your stuff, look for duplicates. Many of us will forget that we own something and buy another one. Donating the extras is an easy way to downsize a lot of things. Again, the kitchen area is notorious for duplicates. Keep your favorites, and ditch the rest.
You should go through your entire house before actually getting rid of anything. You might discover that you want or need a certain item that you had put into your donation box.
Visit Your New Space – Again – And Again
Even if your exact apartment isn’t ready yet, it’s worth visiting one of the empty models so you can really start determining what can go where. This will help you visualize where items can be put and determine what should be kept and what you don’t need anymore.
Take measurements. You don’t want to keep that massive bed if it’s not going to fit into your new bedroom. Figure that out before the movers bring it all the way to the new place.
Keep a Virtual Copy
Many of us have hundreds of documents lying around our property. Many of us have stored these for a variety of reasons. For the most part, however, you don’t need a physical copy of these items. You can scan them and save a digital copy instead. This will help you quickly get rid of any unwanted paper.
While we might love our old photographs, there’s no reason to keep the actual physical photo. Instead, these also can be converted into an online version that can be stored – without ever worrying about losing the original.
If you’re unsure how to do this, enlist the assistance of your kids or grandkids. And have fun. Take it as an opportunity to laugh about favorite memories or even start an online scrapbook.
Don’t Buy Anything New – Yet
We all want our new space to be fresh and attractive. Many of us might be tempted to start buying new pieces for our new senior living apartment. But you might discover that your current items will work just as well as newer ones. Plus, you don’t want to be buying anything during the process of decluttering. Get a feel for the space, and then consider what you’re missing.
Take Your Time
Moving is hard. No one is denying that. And getting rid of belongings that you’ve had for years that might have sentimental meaning is hard. If you find that you can’t let go of something right now that doesn’t fit in your space, then don’t. You can always get a storage unit for a while and keep items that you’re still on the fence about, especially if you’ve already sold your current home.
Your children, extended family, and friends might also be willing to hold onto items until you’re ready. Plus, if you’re having a hard time going through things, then enlisting the assistance of these people should be a priority anyway. The more help that you receive, the easier the entire process will be.
Learn More About The Mansions
The Mansions is the premier senior living community in Oklahoma and the Atlanta area. Schedule a free tour or download our brochure to learn more about our properties.