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Downsizing for Retirement: 5 Key Things to Know

If you or a loved one are preparing to move to a luxury Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) like Ventana, downsizing for retirement has probably crossed your mind a few times. Although downsizing may not be the easiest process, it doesn’t have to be the most difficult one, either. If you understand how to downsize and plan ahead, the downsizing process can become manageable, stress-free, and efficient. Here are some tips from the Ventana staff on how to downsize for retirement effectively.

#1: Get Familiar With Your New Space

As you transition to retirement living, you’ll most likely be downsizing in terms of the amount of space to which you’re accustomed. In order to understand how many of your things you can bring to your new home — and which things need to go — it’s a great idea to explore your new living space in detail; that way, you will be able to envision how your home will look once you move everything into it, and you’ll be able to make more informed decisions as you move through the downsizing process. So, how do you learn more about your new space? For starters, be sure to take advantage of access to the CCRC and tour your new home. Spend some time walking around, imagining where things will go, and identifying the storage capacities of the home. Take photos and notes, so you can quickly reference the home’s layout, dimensions, and features once you begin sorting through your belongings. And of course, if you have specific questions, reach out to the CCRC’s staff, who are more than happy to help you through the process. At Ventana, the staff are experts who are extremely familiar with downsizing challenges because they’ve already helped many Members move into Ventana’s luxury apartments.

#2: Get a Head Start

When it comes to downsizing, the earlier you start getting things ready and putting your strategies into place, the easier the process will be in the long run. Ideally, you should get started as soon as you begin planning your move or feel like a move to a CCRC might be in your future. Try to avoid waiting until the last minute to start sorting your belongings, because that will likely be overwhelming and frustrating, and you will be forced to make rushed decisions that you might regret later. You also never know when your timelines might change, so starting as soon as possible puts you in the best position to be ready when it is time to make the move.

#3: Start Small

Another key strategy for success is starting small and making steady, consistent, incremental progress as you begin your downsizing efforts. There are several ways to do this effectively — such as spacing out the amount of work you need to do by designating specific rooms or areas that you’ll tackle every few days, or each week. Starting small and dividing the downsizing process into component tasks works because it takes something that can seem like an overwhelming project and breaks it down into manageable objectives you can address one step at a time. Don’t think to yourself, “What am I going to do about all this?” Instead, ask yourself, “Which things in this room can I not live without?” Also, don’t try to go through your whole house in one weekend. Instead, set aside a couple days for the garage, a couple days for the kitchen, a couple days for the office — and spread those days out as appropriate, so you can fit everything into your usual schedule at a manageable pace. [dsgsc]

#4: Pass Down Your Valuables

Certain items have special meaning to you and your family, and it’s important to make sure that those receive the care and attention they deserve. To continue family legacies and make gifts extra meaningful, start gathering these items, make a list of all the things that fall into this category, and think about who in your family you want to give them to (and how and when you plan to give the gifts). Taking this step before you move into your CCRC home is a good idea because it reduces the amount of important items you need to take with you, while still giving you the reassurance that family heirlooms will be honored and passed down.

#5: Donate, Sell, or Throw Out Unnecessary Items

This is one of the hardest parts for many people, but also one of the most important steps to take as you downsize. It’s easy to want to keep everything, but the simple truth is that many of your belongings probably don’t get used anymore, and aren’t needed in your new home. The good news is many of these items can be used by other people, which is why donating or selling them is a great idea. You can donate by reaching out to a donation center, which will take all kinds of useful items. (Car donation is a good one to think about, if you won’t be driving as much or will only need one vehicle when you move to the CCRC.) You can sell items at flea markets, garage sales, or online via platforms such as Craigslist and eBay. (Ask a family member or friend if you are unsure of how to list and sell items online.) Now, some items won’t be in the condition necessary to donate or sell. These items should be thrown out or recycled because the only thing they will do at your new home is occupy valuable space.

Making the move to Ventana

If you’re ready to move to a CCRC like Ventana, following these tips will help your downsizing process be as easy and stress-free as possible, and it will help you better organize your belongings as you transition to your new luxury home. Are you or a loved one considering different options for retirement, including senior living communities? If so, you might be familiar with the terms “aging in place” and “Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)”—but you might be unsure which option is the right fit for you or your family. To learn more, read our post on aging in place vs. living in a CCRC.  Or, if you have any questions, please contact us today at 214-234-1035.