It’s the final segment of the Decluttering to Downsize Series! If you are thinking about downsizing your home, or you know a loved one who is considering it, then this blog series is for you.
As a reminder, last week we talked about the third, and most emotionally challenging step in the downsizing process — dealing with memorabilia.
Downsizing your home is a MAJOR life change that’s both extremely emotional and physically demanding. That’s why I’ve addressed this as a series, to give you a deeper dive into each step in order to help remove some of the overwhelm surrounding downsizing. Having a plan in place, along with the right support will help you move forward in this process as smoothly as possible.
There are six steps for successful downsizing:
Plan for this move.
Address your memorabilia.
Create supportive spaces in your new home.
Today we’re closing out the series and diving deeper into the last step: creating supportive spaces in your new home.
Please note — I didn’t forget about steps four and five, pack and move! I don’t typically spend a lot of time on these areas because there are plenty of resources available, especially for seniors, to help with moving. I recommend researching the options available in your area to help with this.
Here are my top four tips for creating safe and supportive spaces in your new home:
Know what familiar, safe, and supportive means for you.
When you’re preparing to downsize, it’s important that the space you’re moving into feels familiar, safe, and supportive. Keeping this in mind as you declutter to downsize will help make the transition smoother. This could look like putting familiar photos up on the walls, or making sure your favorite blanket is out and ready to use immediately.
Optimize storage for safety and simplicity.
When you move into your new home, it’s important to optimize your storage for safety and simplicity. Make it easy for yourself to find things, and make it safe for you to access what you need. Knowing your physical limitations can help you determine the best places for storage. For example, you might want to avoid storing things up high that would require a ladder to access. Or, avoid storing things deep in a cabinet. Know your physical limitations, anticipate any future physical limitations, and set yourself up for success in your new home by making sure everything is simple and safe.
Keep important medical papers highly visible.
Keep important medical papers right next to the phone. If you have to make an emergency phone call or if someone else has to do it for you, then any relevant medical history will be right there when you need it. If you don’t have a landline and are only using your cell phone, then put that medical information on your refrigerator. This information should be easy to access so that anyone who may be helping you can easily find it.
Have a realistic plan for routine household maintenance.
Creating supportive spaces also means that you have a realistic plan for routine household maintenance. This may be a good conversation to have with your family to get a better understanding of who can help with maintenance, or if it should be outsourced, moving forward.
As I’ve said many times throughout this series, downsizing is a major life change that affects you and your loved ones. It is an extremely emotional and physically laborious process. And so, I leave you with these thoughts.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
This is one of the most relevant quotes I’ve ever heard when it comes to decluttering and organizing. If you’re hanging on to something because it was an expensive purchase, I want you to consider the cost of that item in terms of your time. How much time are you devoting to thinking about, maintaining, moving, and storing this item? The cost of anything in our life is our time. Time is the most precious non-renewable resource. We can never get time back.
“You are the temporary custodian of everything in your life.” ~ Karen Kingston
You came into the world with nothing. You leave the world with nothing. Everything you own right now, you own for a temporary amount of time. Some things you may own for decades, some things you may own for just a short period of time. But the truth is, everything you own is temporary.
Finally, this is a comic I share at the end of every presentation I give to a live audience. It’s the most relevant to life today:
A grown son and his elderly father are standing in front of a storage unit, CRAMMED full of stuff. The father says to his son, “One day Son all this will be yours.”
We live in a world that is so full of stuff. We have never, ever, had so much stuff in our homes and in our lives in the entire history of humankind. The more stuff that we own, the less value that each individual item has. We are passing along generations worth of stuff to future generations who are already accumulating tremendous amounts.
If you take anything away from this series, I implore you to be realistic about how much stuff one household can hold, or one person can deal with.
Remember, let go with love and gratitude. I wish you so much success on this journey.
If you’re looking for decluttering support to help you (or a loved one) with downsizing your home, please join Clutter Bootcamp. There is a whole community in the Prioritize Your Sanity group who are going through downsizing, and they’re ready to support you!
Subscribe to my YouTube channel for my weekly podcast, “It’s All Clutter,” to follow more tips in my Downsizing series!