Senior Downsizing is no easy task. They often face not only moving into a smaller place, perhaps with less autonomy, but they have to go through belongings they have built up for years. Trying to orchestrate the move alone can be daunting, so it is often helpful to start the process early, solicit professional help, and get creative in handling the downsizing process.
Break down decluttering into manageable steps
BuzzFeed suggests getting rid of at least five items every time an area of the house is cleaned, and this approach can have a significant impact over the course of a few months. You may simply throw out an old magazine or broken item here and there, but this strategy will leave much less to deal with when moving day draws near.
Becoming Minimalist adds additional suggestions for ways to pare down belongings. Create a list of spots that need decluttering and start with the easiest task. The key here is to stop after each task, even if it was a quick one. Doing only one simple area at a time means that sessions are short and manageable, but substantial progress is made over time.
Other ways to sort through things a bit at a time include filling just one trash bag with things to toss in one decluttering session, prompting yourself to work for just five minutes at a time, or limiting the clothes in your closet to use just 40 hangers. This will help you to prioritize the items you really use, clearing out what never gets used.
Shift your thinking regarding paperwork
Paperwork is a project of its own, as it is difficult to know what to keep. Create three piles as you sort: originals to keep, papers to shred, and documents to store electronically. Keep originals of car titles, vital certificates like birth, death, and marriage, social security cards, estate paperwork, and property titles and deeds. Scanning these as a backup is helpful, but keep the actual documents.
Scan and keep electronic copies of tax returns, investment statements, pension documentation, and social security paperwork. Bank statements, paystubs, receipts, contracts, and repair records can be kept for a while, but shred these when they are no longer needed. Pare down as much as possible before moving, but keep documents that could be difficult to obtain again or that would be needed to manage your estate.
Simplify the process by hiring movers
Using professional help can alleviate a lot of stress. Movers can tackle all of the physical work, helping you get settled into your new home quickly. Ask detailed questions of any moving company you are considering. Ask about the charges, including whether a quote is binding and whether there could be extra charges for stairs, fuel, heavy items, or storage.
Be clear on what forms of payment are accepted and when fees are due. Angie’s List cautions against paying for a move upfront, and commit to only modest deposits. Be wary of cash-only movers, and ask if deposits are refundable. Inquire about insurance coverage, what happens if items are broken or go missing, and any restricted items.
Efficiency is vital for reducing stress during a senior move. Start paring things down as early as possible and sort through paperwork to see what can be shredded or kept electronically. Hire movers to get the heavy lifting done, but be thorough in your research to find a good fit. Moving as a senior can be traumatic if done haphazardly, but some simple strategies can help keep things manageable.
[Image via Pixabay]