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Moving is rarely a stress-free process. That's especially true for seniors who are downsizing, and who are faced not only with the prospect of relocating, but also paring down their belongings to fit into their new space. Whatever their reasons for downsizing, many older adults understandably find downsizing to be emotional and overwhelming. For that reason, it's important to be prepared and approach the downsizing process strategically.

How To Downsize Your Home

Here, we've prepared some downsizing tips to make the move less stressful (if not enjoyable!):

  • Start Early. Not giving yourself enough time to downsize and declutter is the surest way to make an already-difficult process even more arduous. Make sure to budget plenty of time for sorting, packing, and moving. If you can, it may be wise to add an extra week or two to account for unexpected hiccups or obstacles.
  • Be Systematic. Treat downsizing like you would any other major project or undertaking, and make a plan before getting started. Break the downsizing process down into smaller, more manageable tasks—for example, working through one room at a time and setting time-bound goals for yourself.
  • Stay Organized. Minimize the mess and chaos by devising a system for sorting your belongings and sticking with it. For instance, you might keep separate piles of items that you intend to keep, sell, donate, or otherwise.
  • Involve Family. Downsizing doesn't have to mean saying goodbye to your possessions forever. Consider inviting family members over to take things you no longer have space for, or pass along heirlooms or sentimental items. In addition to furthering your downsizing efforts, ensuring that special items stay with loved ones may help assuage any sadness you're feeling.
  • Focus on the Positive. It's normal to feel a sense of loss when getting rid of your possessions or leaving your home. While it's important to honor these emotions, it's also important to remember what you're gaining: such as a new, cleaner space or more time to focus on the things that are important.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Contact us to learn more about our services, or consider making a donation to support our work. We can't wait to work with you!