Downsizing when moving to a senior living community can feel like an emotional task. You may feel overwhelmed at the idea of sifting through years of memories, or you may be wondering what you will need in your new apartment. At Era Living, we have welcomed hundreds of new residents into our extended family and have a few tips that will make the packing process feel less overwhelming or worrisome.
Enlist Help for Downsizing
You don’t have to downsize and pack all on your own. Instead, lighten the load by enlisting the help of a few family members or trusted friends. Together, you can make the process move more quickly and having your favorite people by your side can make the task even more fun. Begin by scheduling a few weekends on your calendar to do the bulk of the sorting and sifting. Invite family and trusted friends to join you, keeping the number of helpers under five. Too many hands and opinions can make the task too cumbersome.
If you don’t have family and friends nearby, you can still find professional help. Seniors have found professional organizers and movers that specialize in senior relocation to be especially helpful.
Get the Dimensions of Your New Senior Living Home
Before you begin to decide which furniture pieces or other large items to bring with you to your new apartment, get the floor plan and dimensions of your future home. A quick call to your new senior living community can result in the floor plan and dimensions, which will help you decide if your couch is too large for your new living room or if you can finally upgrade to that King sized bed in your new bedroom.
Each floor plan at our Era Living communities is available for you to download, which can be especially convenient during your move planning. Your family members can also download the floor plans, which can allow your long-distance daughter to still take on an active role during your decision-making process.
Don’t Forget to Donate
Your new Era Living home, is spacious and lovely, but you won’t need to (or want to) bring every piece of furniture or possession. Moving is the ideal time to downsize, and you can choose to only bring your very favorite and necessary items. However, you don’t have to throw away items you aren’t bringing to your new home.
Before you begin to downsize, find local organizations that will accept donations and use items you will not bring with you to your Era Living community. Furniture pieces can go to a local resale shop that benefits a charity while your clothing items could be useful at a woman’s shelter or organization that outfits people for their professional job interviews. If you aren’t sure where to begin looking for potential donation spots, ask one of your friends to do the legwork for you.
Take, Give, Donate, Recycle, or Trash
When you are ready to begin sorting your items, try to separate each item into one of four purposes: items to take with you to your new home, items to give to your loved ones, items to donate, items to recycle, and items to throw away. Having these four purposes outlined will assist you and your helpers when going through each item in your current home. Remember, donate and recycle when possible; computers, other electronics, and even old eyeglasses can be recycled somewhere in your community.
Take Time to Reminisce
While you are eager to move into your new Era Living community, you don’t have to rush your downsizing process. Take your time as you reminisce about the vacation where you purchased that piece of art or about your dad as you carefully pack his Medal of Honor. Taking time to acknowledge special items and memories will make you feel like you are honoring this milestone appropriately.
Move Slowly But Surely
While it is important to reminisce about items you are packing or saying goodbye to, resist the temptation to extend the process too long. Instead of making for a long goodbye that can feel too emotional and exhausting, honor the item or memory, thank it, and move on. If you find you are struggling to discard certain items, it is okay! Try to put that item in a special place and come back to it in a few hours or in a few days. If you still cannot picture parting with it, bring it along!
Find Out What You Don’t Need
At Era Living communities, we offer exceptional retirement living in the Seattle area, along with amenities that could make your packing decisions a bit easier. For example, you won’t need landscaping items like your lawnmower or snowblower. You may want to bring along a favorite bird feeder and planter for your balcony instead. Our staff will happily take care of weekly cleaning of your apartment, but you can still bring your favorite laundry detergent. You can donate your large collection of books and take advantage of our local library access, but you can still bring a few favorites that you love to re-read.
If you aren’t sure about the amenities offered at your new Era Living community, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will love to tell you about activities, dining, and housekeeping opportunities that you will enjoy in your new home.
Look Forward to a New Beginning
With all your looking back and reminiscing during your move, don’t forget to look forward to your new home! Consider scheduling a lunch at your Era Living home to meet a few new friends or join in a planned activity before your official move-in date. Your new community is full of new neighbors and experiences who will make your senior years better than you could have imagined.
We can’t wait to see you soon!