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“What Now”: Downsizing Tips for Seniors

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You’ve decided to sell the house. It’s just too big and the extra space is hard to maintain. You and your “California King Bed” are moving into a smaller home. It’s time to downsize your belongings to fit your new home.

You’ve moved a couple of times before, but never with a house so full of memories to be sorted through. Items with sentimental value, like your children’s favorite toys, are still here. You need to sift through them before you move. Daunting as it may seem, with an organized plan, packing doesn’t have to be “Complicated”.

Alert1 is here to support you every step of the way. That’s why we made a list of the best tips to help your downsizing, with a little help from mover and shaker Rihanna. See if you can spot all the song titles! 

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

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  • Create a step-by-step list. Make all the “Work” easier. Write down everything that needs sorting through. Group items by category, so it’s easier to pack. Leave the list on your refrigerator or bulletin board for easy access.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Start sorting and packing a couple of months before the move. Use your calendar to plan the days and times of packing. Pack the items you use on a daily basis last so that you won’t be caught without your “Umbrella”.
  • Organize packing. Keep packing from feeling “Never Ending” and focus on one room at a time. Label boxes with both what’s inside and what room they go in. This will expedite unpacking in your new home.
  • Don’t skimp on paper. Have plenty of packing materials handy. Keep newspapers and old bedsheets to wrap breakables in, so you can move into your new home without “Breakin’ Dishes”.
  • Think critically. Never used your juicer? Pass it on to a smoothie drinking neighbor. Too many tools? Create a starter toolbox for the young family across the street. Give the steel mixing bowls to your friend taking “Birthday Cake” decorating classes.

Before you throw anything out, give family members time to claim things that they may want. They’ll thank you for your “Consideration” and will help you clean stuff out in the process.

Learn, Learn, Learn, Learn, Learn

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  • Become a layout queen. Do you know the floorplan of your future new home? Make an outline of your new space and decide where to have furniture before you get there. You’ll be able to see exactly how much room you’ll have to arrange your furniture however you please. Remember to save room for lamps - “All of the Light” will help keep you from tripping in the darkness.
  • Make room for hobbies. Acknowledge that downsizing may mean no longer having a separate room for hobbies. Use the floorplan to map out how much room you have. Decide if your hobbies are getting their own space in the new house or if you can dedicate wall space or a corner to them. 
  • Invest in storage containers and organizers. Once you’re settled into your new place, keep everything in organizers and containers for more space. Clear stacking organizers let you see the contents inside and save space. Label the front of boxes and drawers with the contents inside. You’ll never say “Can’t Remember to Forget You” to your scissors again.  
  • Try the KonMari method. Founded by Maria Kondo in Tokyo, Japan, the KonMari method has helped thousands of people downsize and organize their life. Based on a simple principal, the KonMari method has you ask yourself if an item sparks joy in your life. If the answer is no, KonMari suggests that it’s time to let that item go.

Have an outline of your new home before you start unpacking. It will save you from saying “SOS” and prevent the need to downsize further once you move in.

Done, Done, Done, Done, Done

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Even if it seems like you’re moving “A Million Miles Away” you can still keep your loved ones “Close to You”. Create picture albums to move pictures out of space-taking frames and into organized books. Schedule weekly Skype or FaceTime calls with your friends and family to keep in touch.

Moving closer to your loved ones? Let them know you’re here to “Stay”. Include them in the unpacking process and let them help you settle into your new home. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to say “Te Amo” in person rather than over the phone.

When the moving day comes, you may be saying “Farewell” to your old home, but don’t give a “Final Goodbye” to your friends. With social media, you can stay in touch with them and hear all the news in their life.  

Once you’re in your new home, “Take a Bow”. The hard work is over! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the years ahead.