The Greater Birmingham & Huntsville moving pros on how to help seniors downsize
Moving out of a home where you’ve made so many memories with your family can be hard and when you have years of belongings to process through in order to move to a smaller home, apartment, or retirement community, it can be emotionally taxing and overwhelming. If you have a loved one on the verge of making this monumental transition but aren’t quite sure how to help them pare down their belongings or how best to support them through this process, our experienced moving company has some advice to share.
5 tips to help a senior downsize before a move
- Start sorting belongings several months in advance
When it comes to sorting through belongings to determine what goes and what doesn’t, the early you start this task the better. This give your senior the chance to really evaluate their belongings and decide with rushing what items are important, what can pass on to other family members, what can be sold or donated, and what should be thrown away.
- Create a floor plan of the new space
If your loved one is going from a three-bedroom home to a much small apartment, it might be helpful to create a floor plan. Try arranging furniture cut-outs in the space to see what will fit. Of course, your senior might think all of it will fit but safety and the ability to move through rooms must be considered.
- Focus on one room at a time
The most effective way to process through belongings is to tackle one room at a time. Start with a room where your loved one will have an easier time letting items go and end with rooms that might produce stronger emotions and where decisions will be harder to make.
- Keep only vital documents and digitize what you can
Rather than move a file cabinet overflowing with old bank statements, real estate documents, tax returns from every decade, etc., keep only the documents that are important now, including social security cards and birth certificates. Consider making digital copies of items that your senior isn’t ready to part with. Make sure you have a shredder on hand to properly dispose of all the papers containing sensitive information.
- Encourage your senior to choose clothing and belongings that reflect their current life situation
Clothing that are too big or too small, old work clothes and dress shoes, outdated dresses or gowns, and other clothing, purses, and belongings that will take up room in dressers, closets, and other storage areas should not move to the new space. Instead help your senior sort through and select items that they will wear and use now and dispose of the rest either through donations to local organizations or gifting to family or friends. Of course, items that are torn, damaged, or not working properly should be tossed.
In closing, remember this is not an easy process for your senior(s). Be patient and give them plenty of time to say goodbye to their possessions and their home. Be compassionate and let them grieve and work through all the feelings that they’re feeling. Be encouraging and positive about this new season in their life.
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