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Checklist for Downsizing and Moving into Independent Living

seniors packing up boxes to move into independent living

Moving from your family home to a senior living community is the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in your life. But leaving the place you’ve called home for so long can be a deeply emotional experience. On top of that, the thought of the work involved in organizing and downsizing might seem overwhelming. But if you tackle the project a little at a time, stay organized, and focus on the good times to come, you can begin to feel really positive about it.

The best way to do this is with an independent living checklist.

The Advantages of Downsizing into Senior Living

First of all, by downsizing, you’ll be decluttering your life, ridding yourself of so many unneeded items you’ve collected over the years. It’ll be freeing to let go of all those belongings you don’t need, and probably some things you’ve even forgotten about, tucked away in the corners of your house.

You’ll also be freeing yourself from the stress of home maintenance chores and unexpected repair bills. Moving to a retirement community means you’ll start living a maintenance-free lifestyle, and have more predictable monthly costs, which is a real stress reliever. And a stress-free life is one of the great rewards of retirement.

As obvious as it may be that downsizing to a senior living community is a great step forward, the task itself can be daunting. Here are 5 helpful tips to follow as you make your independent living checklist.

5 Downsizing Tips

1. Give yourself plenty of time. 

To keep from exhausting yourself, rushing, or becoming overwhelmed with the project, map out a schedule on a calendar that allows you to work at a reasonable pace and gives you ample time to rest physically and emotionally. Also, you can make it easier for loved ones to help you by giving them enough notice to work their assistance into their schedules.

2. Make a list of individual tasks.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be because you’re considering the job in its entirety. When you give yourself enough time to move at a manageable pace, you can break up your project into individual tasks that are reasonable to consider. Don’t expect yourself to sort every box in the basement in just a few hours. Think about how many boxes you can sort in one sitting, and deal only with those. This is an important part of your overall independent living checklist that will help you stay on schedule. 

3. Enlist help.

If you involve your loved ones in the process, it can be a happy experience of sharing memories as you sort items and photos. It’s a great opportunity to pass on stories, and make sure that possessions that are sentimentally valuable to you are treated with care. You’ll probably also want to consider hiring professional movers for the later stages of your project. Large items such as furniture and heavy boxes might be dangerous for you or a loved one to try to move without help. Some moving companies offer senior discounts, and some senior living communities offer moving services, or may partner with a company that does.

4. Create a System.

As you sort your belongings a little at a time, it’ll be easier to stay organized, and to not get bogged down by complicating your decision-making process. You can have four simple categories of items:

  • Keep
  • Donate
  • Pass Along
  • Discard 

It really is best to stick to a simple system like this. And you can move more quickly if you keep these questions in mind as you consider each item:

  • Do I use this item regularly?
  • Have I used it within the  past year?
  • Does this item truly make my life better?
  • Will this item fit in my new residence?
  • Is this item valuable to sell?
  • Would this item be meaningful to a loved one?

As you sort your belongings little by little, you can take your next steps in the same way. You’ll be giving away or throwing away items as you go, and making more and more room to work. And you’ll see the progress you’re making as items disappear. You may want to make an inventory list, or take photos of items or rooms to keep track and stay organized.

5. Keep your new space in mind.

This is another reason why an independent living checklist is important. When you’re considering whether or not to keep a specific item, try to picture exactly where it could go in your new senior apartment. Even though you’ll likely be downsizing to a smaller space, you still want that space to be open, relaxing and uncluttered. You’ll need and want some large items – perhaps a sofa or bedroom set – but remember that space will probably be at a premium. Only keep items that are both valuable to you and necessary. You can earn some money by selling an expensive item you no longer need, or you can feel happy knowing a meaningful item is being enjoyed by a loved one.

Independent Living at Galleria Woods

When you’re ready for independent living, we have so many great apartment and Garden Home floor plans to choose from that you’re sure to find the perfect fit for you. Contact us to schedule a tour, and you’ll be able to imagine yourself living a carefree life in your new home. Your residence will be filled with the furniture and belongings that mean the most to you, and your life will be filled with fun, friends, and as many wonderful activities as you choose to enjoy.