You’ve Decided to Downsize – Now What?

With the end of the year comes some time to reflect on the past and think about the year ahead. For many people considering a change in residence, the holidays are a great time to discuss your wants and needs with your loved ones and to start planning for your next step.

No matter where you choose to live in retirement, it’s common for that choice to include some degree of downsizing. Though it may look different for everyone, downsizing is a way to simplify your life so that you can focus on what is important in the coming years—health, financial freedom, and spending time with loved ones. Downsizing and planning for the future is also a great gift to those who will settle your estate in the future.

And if a move is part of the plan, it’s never too soon to start downsizing your belongings so that the move is streamlined and easy for everyone involved. No matter when you begin, you will always wish you had more time—so why not get a head start?

We’ve compiled some of the top tips for decluttering before a move – whether that is next year or a few years down the road. Here are some ways you can get started:

1: First thing’s first – you will want a team. Family and friends are a great help. It makes a difference to have people who know you well to be a support system. There are also organizations that you can hire to help. Ventana offers Members a complimentary service, Moving Made Easy®, to assist in the process. The program pairs you with a dedicated Relocation Counselor to guide you in the process so you can focus on what matters.

2: Read up and prepare yourself. It can be an emotionally draining experience to sort through your past. Use resources that are available to you to help get into the best mindset, and approach it confidently so that you feel calm, collected, and open-minded. You’ve kept these items for various reasons, and some will have more sentimental value to you than others.

3: Set a schedule and deadlines. It’s always a good idea to start small – try beginning with one closet and go from there. Whatever you choose, give yourself a timeline so you don’t spend too much time harping over the same thoughts. However, don’t be afraid to share the stories behind your relics with some loved ones, as reliving these memories is a healthy part of the downsizing process.

4: Figure out your methodologies. There are several tried and true strategies to simplify the process of deciding what to keep.

  • Joy Test: As you are sorting through belongings, ask yourself if each item brings you joy. You may not “need” it but if it brings you joy, there’s no reason to part with it if you don’t have to.
  • Hanger Test: A simple moving technique that helps downsizers figure out which clothes they still wear. Face all your hangers in the opposite direction that they would lie regularly. Then, after a few months, toss, donate or get rid of any of the clothing that has not been turned around to the “normal” direction of your hangers.
  • Scan and Shred: Scan your paperwork and shred the hard copies. Digitizing documents is an easy way to hold on to important items without taking up a lot of space. There are organizations that specialize in this service in most metropolitan areas if you prefer to hire someone to digitize your files or your photos.

Downsizing your belongings is only one part of the overall downsizing process, and you don’t have to know where and when you are moving to get started. Many people try to sell their home first and then they feel rushed when it’s time to organize their belongings. For this reason, it’s beneficial to get started before you have a fully formed plan.

You can then take the time to make the other important decisions regarding selling your home, choosing a new home, and navigating the actual move. One of the unique aspects of choosing to live at Ventana is the access to the best vendors available to assist with the downsizing and moving process, like Moving Station. Their Moving Made Easy® program mentioned above will help you with everything from preparing to sell your house to navigating the selling process, as well as organizing a smooth moving day. For more information on the services offered by Ventana, call 214-234-1035 to speak with a sales counselor.