You know the process of rightsizing — or downsizing — your home will be challenging, but maybe you’re the kind of person who’d rather power through the difficulties so you can quickly arrive at the sweet rewards of a maintenance-free, amenity-rich lifestyle in a retirement community. If so, our 4-week boot camp can provide the blueprint you need to downsize efficiently. Here’s the plan:
Week 1: Set Your Schedule and Start Sorting
Having a clearly defined action plan will help you stay focused and move efficiently from one task to the next as you’re downsizing your home. Take the first several days of Week 1 to create your boot camp strategy:
Make lists. Lists keep us organized and on task, so make a list of each room in the house that needs to be packed up. Also make a list of the chores you need to accomplish (such as alerting the post office of your change of address, and buying boxes and packing tape).
Create a calendar. Whether you use a wall calendar, a day planner or a digital system, schedule tasks on specific days. That way, you’ll wake up each morning knowing exactly what you need to tackle and can get to work without delay.
Enlist help. To accomplish this task in 4 weeks, you’ll likely need a team to help you out. Call on family and friends, then assign them specific days and tasks so there’s no confusion about who’s doing what. Include these details on your calendar.
Hire pros. A professional move manager has the expertise and network of resources that can help streamline this process. You can hire a move manager to take care of every facet of the project, or just the tough parts, such as finding a new home for the belongings you aren’t bringing with you. If you don’t have a move manager, you’ll need to schedule the moving company, hire a real estate agent, and an estate sale company.
Once you have the plan and the people in place, you’re ready to start decluttering.
Weeks 1 and 2: Sorting and Decluttering
This step will take the rest of Week 1 and all of Week 2. It’s typically the most emotional part of the whole process, since going through the years — or even decades — of belongings can spark both laughter and tears. Fortunately, having a limited time frame can help you avoid getting stuck. To sort effectively:
Divide and conquer. Take one room at a time, starting with the rooms you’ll have in your new residence — such as the master bedroom and bathroom — where you know you’re likely to need at least some of the furnishings.
Sort into piles. Most experts advise sorting into four piles: Keep, Trash, Give Away, Sell. Resist the temptation to make a Maybe pile, which only delays necessary decisions.
Ask questions. When you’re struggling to decide what to do with an item, ask:
- Do I use this item regularly?
- Does it improve my daily life?
- Will it suit my new retirement lifestyle?
- Does it have a significant dollar value?
- Is there a friend or family member who would cherish it?
Go digital. Since you won’t have room for everything, creating a digital copy — either by scanning images or taking photographs — allows you to save space and still bring cherished mementos with you. Once you’re settled in your new space, creating a scrapbook or album of these images can be a meaningful way to process some of the emotions that naturally arise during a big transition.
Week 3: Plan Your New Home and Discard What Won’t Fit
As you downsize, you’re preparing for a new home, but also a new lifestyle. Get a copy of the floor plan for your new residence and let yourself dream about how you want your new residence — and life — to look. Interior design software and apps can make it simple to play around with different layouts and help you decide which of your current furnishings will suit your new lifestyle.
Keep in mind the amenities your new community has. You may use your treadmill every morning, but with the fitness center in your retirement community, you won’t need to take up space in your home with personal equipment.
As you explore the possibilities, you can also begin the work of finding new homes for the items you don’t want. Host a pizza party and let family members choose the belongings they’d like to keep. If you’re having a garage sale or estate sale, this is the week to prepare. And start listing items on sites like Craigslist or eBay.
Week 4: Get Packing
If you haven’t hired professional movers to pack for you, it’s time to start boxing up the belongings you’re bringing with you. Make sure to label your boxes by room to simplify the process of unpacking. And pack a bag with the essentials you’ll need right away — things like pajamas, toiletries, medications, snacks.
This is also the week to drop off donations, host an estate sale, and move things to storage, if necessary.
Downsize to a Bigger Life at Trillium Woods
After an intense 4 weeks of downsizing, you’re ready to enjoy the expansive possibilities in your new home. With our upcoming expansion, Trillium Woods will have 52 beautiful new one- and two-bedroom homes where you can enjoy all the pleasures of a rightsized life in a vibrant, active retirement community. Contact us to learn more about our Independent Living floor plans, or to schedule a visit.