Imagine searching for something in your home and having the confidence that you can actually find it without rummaging through closets and looking under furniture. That’s the beauty of downsizing and organizing. It’s a great comfort knowing where things are and not having to launch a top-to-bottom search for some old medical bill that might be past due or the renewal notice for the car registration.
For an older adult, downsizing and organizing mean having less stress and anxiety, as well as a sense of control over your life. If you’ve decided to move to a smaller house, decluttering will simplify your life and help you get off to a good start in your new home. However, be aware that you could undo your efforts by failing to organize the possessions you’re keeping—in other words, don’t create more clutter.
Downsizing can be an emotional roller coaster ride for a senior. After all, it means getting rid of belongings that are very familiar, even comforting. But you can’t take them all if you’re moving to a smaller space, so stay resolute in your quest to declutter. Start with what you know can go, like two of your three lemon zesters and other duplicate items.
One of the most important steps in getting organized is to stay organized as you declutter. Make separate piles (or use boxes) for dividing everything that goes in the moving van: Decide what gets donated and what will be tossed in the trash or recycled. Do this in each room and you’ll be rewarded with a streamlined household that’s a lot easier to manage.
One place you’ll want to focus on during the decluttering process is your bedroom, which should always be a place for rest and relaxation. According to HomeAdvisor, “Your bedroom should be a clean, clutter-free, serene space where you can relax. Too often, it’s a catch-all for clothes that don’t fit in the closet, laundry that needs to be done, and stored items that somehow seem to keep creeping out from under the bed where you thought they were out of sight, out of mind.” So, make sure you focus a lot of your energy on this area of your home.
Pack and label boxes
Start boxing up the stuff you won’t need again before moving day—there’s no point in putting it back in closets once you’ve decluttered. Get plenty of sealable moving boxes with built-in handles on each side, and start loading them up. Use foam rubber or packing paper to keep anything that could be damaged from flopping around, and apply plenty of packing tape to keep your stuff safe and secure.
Here’s the part some people skip or forget: Identify what’s in each box with adhesive labels and magic markers, so that they’re easy to read. If you know which room it’s meant for in the new place, be sure to include that as well, so that you don’t waste valuable unpacking time by relocating boxes that got dumped in the wrong rooms.
Know your new space
One of the smartest things you can do when organizing a downsize is to get the measurements of each room in your new home and know how much storage space it has. If you’re unable to measure the square footage, take pictures, so that you can assess what will fit where (especially large furniture) and what will need to be stored.
Find your movers
Spend some time researching moving companies in the area before deciding on one. Beware of companies that ask for a hefty down payment up front, and make sure they’re fully insured and have a good reputation in the local business community. Take advantage of as many services as you can. Let them do the packing as well as the lifting, loading, and unloading. It will remove a lot of the stress from what will be an anxious experience.
Remember, when it comes to moving, timing matters. Scheduling a move in June, July, or August will put you in competition with other customers, because summer is the busiest time of the year for movers.
Don’t rush your downsize, but don’t put it off either. Once you’ve begun, see it through to the end, going room by room. Remember, it’s as much emotional as it is logistical, so don’t make it easy to lose your motivation and end up with a disorganized mess come moving day.
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