No matter how old or how young you are, some things are universal. Like the fact that no one enjoys the hassle of moving. Sure, we enjoy having moved but the actual process of going through everything: packing, coordinating all the details and finally unpacking – can be quite exhausting. This is especially true when you’ve decided to sell a large family home and move to an Independent Living community.
“Rightsizing your life and moving to an Independent Living community can be an exciting time in your life, but it also can be stressful and daunting,” says Heather Battey, Executive Director at amavida, a retirement community in Fort Myers, Florida. “This is a multi-step process for most people, since seniors generally have to list and sell their current home, get rid of furniture and items they don’t want or need and figure out what their new space will look like.”
The best thing, she says, is to take a deep breath, create your plan and move forward at a steady pace. “At amavida, we help seniors, just like yourselves, rightsize their lives with tips and tricks from our experienced moving specialists.” Here are five of their top tips for making the move to independent living as smooth and stress-free as possible.
1. Make a plan early.
The biggest way to cut down on stress is by making plans well in advance of your move. This could be anywhere from a few months to a few years before you actually move into a senior living community. Sit down and map out the steps you’ll need to take: selling and donating furniture, packing up your belongings, getting the house ready for sale and so on. The best part about planning in advance means that you don’t have to do it all in one fell swoop, which can take a lot of worry off your plate.
2. Design your new space.
Moving to an Independent Living community provides you with a variety of options. Is your place pre-furnished or will you need to provide everything? Will your favorite coffee table fit through the door? Get a floor plan of your new apartment or townhouse and use the measurements to figure out how your personal items will fit (or not).
3. Downsize and declutter.
Here’s a pro tip: the best time to downsize and get rid of items you don’t need is before you start packing everything up. Do yourself a favor and dedicate a good chunk of time to going through your home room by room and taking inventory of everything you own. Again, don’t do this all at once – it’s really easy to become overwhelmed at this phase of the process because you’ll discover just how much stuff you actually own. (Believe us, it’s always more than you think.) You’ll want to mark every item (and we mean every item) as either a Keep, Donate or Trash. Be sure to really think about what your future needs will be and what will be available at your new community. For example, if your Independent Living community has a fitness center, you probably won’t need to take your treadmill or elliptical when you move.
4. Distribute your items.
Once you’ve listed every item you own, you’ll need to figure out how to get rid of the things you don’t want or need anymore. Consider giving your adult children first dibs on anything you’re saying goodbye to. This is also an excellent opportunity to pass along family heirlooms or gifts that are important to you, but you won’t have room to store once you move to Independent Living. Not only do you get it out of your house, but you’ll also be able to see your family members enjoying them.
For the rest, you can sell or donate your items. There are positives and negatives to both options. If you’re going to sell, you can end up with a nice chunk of change to help you furnish your new space or pay for moving expenses. However, unless you have a large collection of antiques or other valuable items, it may be more effort than it’s worth to hold a garage sale. Once option is to contract an estate sale service that can go through your items and hold the sale for you (usually they take a commission from the total profits). Or you can always call your favorite charity and donate your goods to them.
5. Figure out in-home storage.
No matter how much you downsize your belongings, you will still require some storage space in your new house or apartment. Fortunately, there are many options out there for furniture that doubles as storage or items that can help you maximize your small space. If your new place doesn’t have a linen closet, you can purchase a bedframe with built-in storage drawers to store blankets and extra sheets. Ottomans that can serve both as storage and an impromptu coffee table can help a living room transition from movie night to cocktails with friends. With a little creativity, you’ll be surprised at how neatly and easily everything will fall into place.
For more tips about rightsizing your life by moving to Independent Living or to learn more about our vibrant retirement community, contact us today at 877.969.0712.