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Stress-Free Guide to Downsizing

Downsizing does not have to be stressful, regardless of whether you are relocating to a smaller home, moving in with family, or choosing senior assisted living. By setting goals and boundaries and giving yourself the time and space to adjust, downsizing can be your chance to declutter your home and start a new chapter of your life with the items that are most important to you.

When welcoming new residents to Willow River, here are our tips to make downsizing as stress-free as possible:

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Getting started is the hardest part of weeding your belongings, especially if you have been living in the same place for a while. Each day, take note of one small unnecessary or duplicate item and put it in a box for donation or straight into the trash. Adding this simple step to your daily routine can help you significantly cut down on clutter over time. When deciding what’s most important to keep, give yourself boundaries for Yes and No piles. Eliminating the Maybe pile will help you make more decisive decisions and speed up the process. 

If you are helping a loved one with cognitive impairment downsize, give them simple tasks, keep your expectations low, and know that you’re going to have to do a lot of it on your own. It’s important to let them feel involved, it’s important to recognize if they’re getting overwhelmed, and it’s better for everyone to keep stress and frustrations low.

Get a Head Start

Starting early is key when you’ve got a big move on the horizon. Commit to packing up one room at a time, and tackle the tasks in stages: what’s going in the trash, what’s being donated, and what’s moving with you. Downsizing typically involves reducing the number of rooms you’ve previously occupied, so focus on boxing up the items that will be organized by room in your new home. 

Sifting through your belongings can be a trip down memory lane. Allow yourself the time to reminisce and share your memories with family or friends who are helping you pack.

Clean As You Go

Packing up your home can feel visually overwhelming. Make an effort to clean your surroundings at the end of each packing session to keep your current home clear. Clean your belongings as you box them up to make sure items are ready for use when you unpack in your new space. Cleaning can be a great task for family members who are collaborating on the process.

Get The Family Involved

As you take note of family heirlooms, important furniture, or lifetime collections, think about setting them aside as legacy gifts to family members. After choosing your favorite pieces, ask a tech-savvy family member to help you sell the items online or explore consignment shops to find other collectors who will cherish them as you did.

When it’s finally time to dig in and pack everything up, ask your loved ones to help and/or hire professionals for the heavy lifting. With extra hands for bubble wrapping delicate items, loading the vehicle with boxes, or delivering gently-used belongings to donation centers, packing will be over before you know it. Communicate if there are certain items that you want to tackle on your own, or direct them to a specific room with boxes that are too heavy for you.

Downsizing is mentally and physically draining, but with the help of family and friends, you can settle confidently into your new home stress-free.

Willow River is Here to Help

At Willow River, our residents find that their apartments provide just the right amount of space to enjoy their privacy while also experiencing the exceptional quality of life that our community offers.

We understand the challenges that Alzheimer’s and dementia can bring when relocating. If you have questions or need help, Willow River has the answers and resources you need. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.