Downsizing for Senior Living

Downsizing for Senior Living

As we enter our senior years, it’s very common to consider downsizing your home. Many of us are now empty nesters, and we don’t need larger homes once our children are grown and out of the house. If you’ve lived in the same home for years and years, the prospect of downsizing and moving to a senior community can seem intimidating because you’ve likely accumulated a lot of belongings over the years. So, how do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of when you downsize?

Does it bring you joy?

If you’ve ever gone through old boxes piled up in your garage, or sorted through storage bins shoved into the back of a closet, you’ve probably discovered items you completely forgot about. One important question to ask yourself when sorting through your possessions is: does this bring me joy? If you’re hanging onto items about which you don’t have any strong feelings, or for “just in case” scenarios, chances are you won’t miss them when they’re gone. 

As we age, it’s good to try and live intentionally, and that means only keeping important belongings that bring us joy. You don’t want to drag boxes full of things that don’t make you happy to your next home – you want a fresh start with joyful memories. 

Does it hold memories?

Certain belongings, like photo albums and souvenirs from special events, will always have strong sentimental value. But many of us hold onto items that don’t hold any significant memories for us, like outdated clothes, shoes, or handbags. These things don’t have any meaningful place in our memories, so there’s no reason to keep them when all they do is take up space. 

As you sort through your belongings in preparation for downsizing, ask yourself if the items in question hold any positive or special memories for you. If the answer is yes, consider keeping the item if you have space. If the answer is no, it should be easy to donate or give it away. 

Are you keeping this for your “future” self?

Many of us purchase things we plan to use in the future. For example, we’ll buy expensive baking dishes and tell ourselves that we’ll get into baking, or we spend money on sports equipment like golf bags and say that we’ll get into golfing in the future. But as time passes, we often find that we haven’t used the things we bought for our future self. These things are simply sitting around, unused, and taking up valuable space. 

We recommend donating any items you’re holding onto for your future self and sticking to what you need to be happy and fulfilled in the present. Keeping items for your future self can actually cause you anxiety because you feel pressured to begin these new hobbies, then disappointed when you don’t follow through.

Would a family member have better use for it?

You don’t have to go through the downsizing process alone. Invite your family over and go through your belongings together. We’re certain you’ll find things you don’t want anymore that a family member could use. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, sports equipment, cooking utensils, furniture, or something else, donating your things to your family is a great, sustainable way to repurpose them. Plus, giving your belonging to someone you love could be more comforting. 

For more information about downsizing for senior living, or if you’re interested in taking a tour of our senior living communities, please contact our team at UMC today by visiting our website:

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    205 Jumping Brook Road
    Neptune, NJ 07753
    Phone: 732-922-9800