How do you feel about downsizing? What emotions does it bring to mind for you or for your loved ones? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, or even scared, trust me — you’re not alone. Downsizing, especially for a transition to senior living community, is an emotional change for nearly everyone. You are human, my friend, and that’s okay.  Though this transition can be emotional, I have personally seen time and time again how a fresh start can breathe new spirit and confidence into people’s lives… and I know it can for you, too. 

Here’s how to get started…

1. Consider the phases you’ll need

Before we dive in, it’s important to consider everything we hope to accomplish. Rest assured that we don’t have to accomplish all these things at once. Looking at the big picture will simply enable us to create the “phases” that will lead us to success.

For example, how long will you be in your home during the transition? Are you hoping to have an estate sale to bring in some extra cash? Do you need to sell your home? Would you like to stage it for your most profitable sale? 

Your answers will help me create the most peaceful and efficient plan for you.

How to plan your move to senior living community jenny abrams home solutions northwest chicago

2. Space planning is key

Space planning is the key to downsizing appropriately for your new home, which is why I always request a floor plan from the community you are moving to. Together, we’ll talk about what can logistically and safely fit into the space, usually items to fill 1-2 bedrooms, a living space, and a kitchen. 

Whatever the floor plan of your new home, we’ll create a layout that has you excited for your lifestyle.

3. Get down to the basics

Once we make sure all your basic furniture pieces are in place, we can then layer in the decor, accessories, etc. Remember, the goal of downsizing is to surround yourself with what you truly need and love — what makes you feel like you’re “home” and comfortable, but without excess. 

I’ll also help you reduce the amount of paper to a few banker boxes, holiday decor (this one is always tough), books, dishes, artwork/pictures, and even clothing. I recommend taking pictures of some items that you aren’t keeping, but want to preserve the memory. Though it may be difficult to part with some items, your fresh start is sure to come with a feeling of lightness and freedom.

How to downsize for your move to senior living community jenny abrams home solutions northwest chicago barrington

4. Share the stories behind the items

When it comes to downsizing, I believe it’s important to honor and respect the way items (and the people you associate with them) have touched your life. That’s why I encourage you to share the stories behind them. 

Share aloud the stories and memories you have for your items, so you can acknowledge their purpose in your life. Once you decide to let them go, you can feel closure knowing that it’s okay to move these items forward in a new way. Which brings me to my next tip…

5. Surround yourself with your “best friends”

Sentimental value is more important than financial value. Though we may get items appraised from time to time, for the most part, it’s more important that the items you keep have deep, positive meaning for you. 

Think of it as picking your “best friends” from each category of items — the ones that are the most loved, hold the dearest memories, and can’t be replaced with time, money or energy. Highlighting these items in your next home will make them all the more special and loved.

Retired couple walking outdoors senior living community jenny abrams home solutions inverness chicago

6. Spread your legacy through repurposing

Although “letting go” isn’t easy, you can also find meaning and joy in repurposing the items you love. Give your possessions a second life by donating them to deserving families eager who will make their own special memories. Or, share your beloved items with friends and family (along with your stories!) to keep those items close and build your legacy. 

7. Start early and go at your own pace

Time is important when downsizing. Once we have a plan in place, I encourage you to start early on all of the above steps (with my help or without) to keep your experience stress-free and moving at a pace that is nice and comfortable for you. 

I also encourage you to work at your best time of day and in small increments. Approaching your home in tiny bites (versus the whole enchilada) will make the process more manageable and enjoyable. 

retired couple with grandkids downsize to senior living community abrams home solutions arlington heights

8. Focus on what you’re keeping

If you can, remember to focus on what you’re keeping during this process. Instead of seeing the items you’re parting with, focus on the true wealth of memories, love, and joy held in every inch of the items you keep. Keeping just a few items, versus a whole collection, always shines a spotlight on them!

If you’re eager for someone who understands what you’re going through and can help make this process as easy and enjoyable as possible, I would be honored to help. The emotion and vulnerability behind this move is truly what drives me to help support individuals in this time. I treat my clients like family, and that includes YOU. Together, we can turn your transition into a fresh start, one that brings you all the freedom and joy you deserve.  Contact me here and let’s get started.

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