Making the decision to downsize from your home and begin a new chapter in a retirement village is a significant lifestyle change, but one that brings countless benefits and new opportunities. If you’ve lived in the same house for many years, you’ve likely accumulated a huge assortment of belongings, so the task of downsizing can seem impossible and out of reach. While it might seem overwhelming when you first initiate the process, by implementing these tips and tricks you’ll quickly realise it’s not as bad as it seems, and it’s actually a time to be excited about!
HERE ARE 8 TIPS TO HELP YOU ON YOUR DOWNSIZING JOURNEY TO A RETIREMENT VILLAGE.
To avoid becoming completely overwhelmed when you decide the time has come to downsize, begin chipping away at it when you first have the thought. Go room by room, starting with your bedroom – begin by cleaning out your closet one day, then your shoes the next, and your toiletries and accessories after that. Small wins will ensure you stay motivated to keep going, and you’ll quickly realise the task of downsizing isn’t as overwhelming as it first seems.
LET GO OF DUPLICATES.
You’ll probably find you’ve collected duplicates of items over the years, so getting rid of these is a great place to start. Keep your favourite, and pass the rest on to family, friends, or Vinnies. A great rule to go by is if you haven’t used it in a year, you’re probably not going to need it. Getting rid of duplicates is the perfect way to begin decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary items.
CONSIDER YOUR NEW LIFESTYLE.
Downsizing to a retirement village means you’re beginning a new chapter of life, so it’s important to revaluate all your belongings with that in mind. Determine which items will be most useful in your new home, and which will no longer serve a purpose.
Maybe you’ve got a treadmill and other gym equipment taking up a lot of space, but if you’re about to move into a village with a gym you can let go of all of that! If you’ve lived in a large home for quite some time, you’ve probably got a lawn mower, leaf blower, rake, and an array of other gardening tools which you’ll no longer need if you’re moving to a retirement village where all maintenance is taken care of for you.
SEEK HELP FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
Very often our residents find that their loved ones are more than happy to take some of the items they will no longer have room for. From photo albums and sentimental items to kitchen appliances and artworks, you’re likely going to have someone in your life who will be interested in rehoming what you no longer need.
With the current cost of living, you probably have grandchildren who are on a tight budget and would be more than happy to take a few things off your hands – perhaps they’re about to purchase their first home or are moving out for the first time.
It’s a great idea to plan a day dedicated solely to sorting through all the belongings you’re looking to rehome with all your loved ones present so everyone can take what they need. At the end of the day, you’ll feel so much lighter and less overwhelmed with the task.
It’s also great to have family and friends around to help with the physical side of downsizing – packing and lifting boxes and doing runs to Vinnies or the dump for you. Sorting through your belongings can also be emotional, so it’s nice going through the process with the support of your loved ones.
Digitising is a great way to optimise space and ensure your documents and memories are safe and can’t be damaged in incidents like fires, floods, or robberies. Digitising also means that instead of having a single copy, you have an unlimited amount to give to family, friends, or anyone that wants it. Aside from photographs, it’s a smart idea to digitise important documents to save space and ensure they stay secure and easily accessible.
SHIFT YOUR MINDSET.
You’re going to be moving into a new home and starting a new chapter of life, so think of this as a positive, and an opportunity for a fresh start. Many of our residents who have lived in their family home for years decide to purchase all new furniture when they make the move and start completely over.
Although the process of downsizing can be daunting, retirement is an exciting part of your life! It’s the time where you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy your hard-earned freedom and newfound time, doing what you love, with who you love. Moving to a retirement village helps to facilitate this by taking all the tasks that come with owning a family home like mowing the lawn and gardening, off your hands so you can focus on living life to the fullest!
CREATE A VISION BOARD FOR YOUR NEW SPACE.
Vision boards are not only fun to make, but they’ll get you excited about moving to a new space and help you assess exactly what you need for your new home.
An easy way to create a vision board is on Pinterest, but you could always do a physical one on a pinboard if you’d prefer to. Here you can include photos of the furniture you’re wanting for your new home, whether that be existing or new items you’d like to purchase, as well as décor inspiration and other elements like bedding, lighting, and plants.
Vision boards are entertaining and fun to make and can shift your mindset to be more positive about downsizing if you’re feeling apprehensive about the process and leaving behind your old home.
RECRUIT AN EXPERT.
If you don’t have any family or friends nearby to help you, or if the entire process of downsizing just seems impossible and you don’t know where to start, there’s the option to recruit an expert to assist you. These experts help you declutter, and coach you through going from a large multiple bedroom family home to a much smaller villa or apartment. They’ll typically help you sort through all your items, coordinate donating and getting rid of them, and organise removalists to take everything to your new home. Some experts even offer an unpacking service, as dressing a new, smaller space is unfamiliar territory for many people. Most people’s situations are different, so downsizing experts are normally flexible and can work around your specific needs.
Some common pieces of advice from downsizing experts include:
- Never guess, always measure everything before deciding which items to keep
- Recruit an outside person with an unbiased opinion to assist you
- Try Marie Kondo’s method of holding an item and seeing if it sparks joy in you – if it doesn’t, ditch it!
- Go easy on yourself – sometimes the process of downsizing and coming across old items can bring up unresolved issues or feelings
- When you’re trying to decide whether to keep an item, try closing your eyes and seeing if you can visualise it in your new space
- Prepare as far in advance as you can to ensure you have time to spend on the process and don’t have to make rushed decisions
Downsizing to a retirement village is an exciting time in your life, because it means you’re about to enter into a new chapter with less to worry about, and more time to spend doing things that make you feel happy and fulfilled. The most common things we hear our residents say is that they wish they’d made the move sooner so they could have even more time to enjoy the carefree lifestyle that comes with living in a retirement village. While the process may seem daunting at first, all our residents can attest to the fact that it is so worth it. We hope the tips and tricks outlined in this article assist you with the downsizing process, and help you to look at it as a positive and exciting step in your retirement journey!