Spring Cleaning: The Right Way to Downsize

As all of our children move out of the house and we rapidly approach retirement, many of us seniors ultimately sell the family home and move to an apartment for ease of living, convenience, and safety. Tackling the downsizing process all at once can seem daunting – how can you pack a lifetime of belongings and keepsakes into one apartment?

As the weather finally warms up and we turn off the heater for several months, the energy and vigor that comes with spring provides the perfect motivation to jumpstart the downsizing process. Spring cleaning is a ritual many of us undertake each year just to clear out the clutter. If you start using your spring cleaning ritual as a yearly reason to downsize and take stock of what you own, moving to an apartment in a few years is much less of a challenge.

First, set manageable goals each day. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once or you’ll get overwhelmed. Remember that we call it spring cleaning because it may take all spring! Write down a goal for each day to stay motivated. Maybe today you’ll go through all of your books and decide which ones would receive more use at a local library. Or perhaps today is the day to sort through your shoes, hats, and purses to determine which ones you really use.

If you’re not sure where to begin, target areas that have less sentimental value. Going through your linens and towels will be a quick process, providing an avenue of entry for you that won’t involve sorting through lots of memories. Leave things like scrapbooks, clothes, and keepsakes for last.

Also, consider where you’ll ultimately be living. If you’re moving in about a year into a senior living facility and will have your meals provided, now is a great time to start clearing out the excess pots, pans, Tupperware, and dishes you rarely use. Think to yourself: what items will I still need when my situation changes? You’ll definitely need clothes, books, blankets, and personal items. But many tools and items in the kitchen or garage can likely be given to charity or to family.

If you’re like us, you probably still have tax documents from 10 years ago. When you’re clearing out old documents be sure to shred anything with your personal information included. Documents like your bank statements, lease agreements, and contracts might include sensitive account information or your social security number. Invest in a small paper shredder for spring cleaning so you can safely dispose of these old documents.

Depending on where you’re moving there are creative methods you can employ to save space. Ask one of your children or someone who is tech-savvy to digitize your collection of photos. This way your entire family can access your precious memories, and you won’t feel pressure to bring every photo to display on the wall of your new residence whenever you eventually move.

When you do eventually transition into a new space it’s natural to feel a lot of fear and anxiety. Downsizing and getting rid of old possessions represents change, which can induce stress. If you relocate to a senior living home make the transition easier with a GrandPad.

When you own a GrandPad your entire family is accessible in just the touch of a screen. You can send voice emails or directly video call family members and friends to catch up, ask questions, and remind them about that box of memorabilia they still need to pick up. Start early and the downsizing process will just seem like another part of spring cleaning.