January 7, 2020 // 12:19 PM

Tips to Downsizing

Written by Juanita Fox

One of the difficulties you're bound to encounter as you make the transition to an active retirement lifestyle is whether or not you should downsize beforehand. That's why, at Garden Spot Village, we actively strive to help future residents with tips and tricks on downsizing, including offering seminars on this subject

Should I Downsize Before Retirement?

Larry Hess, owner of A Life Transition Service, says, “When you have lived in the same home for 30, 40, or even 50 years, it can be very overwhelming and stressful for you and your family. At Life Transition Service, our job is to help you determine what to keep, what has value, how to sell it and what items are best donated or recycled.”

Larry and his co-owners, Dennis Martin and Kevin Weachter, work with families and individuals to downsize, organize and move to a new residence. When people take the leap and give this process a chance, most find huge benefits of downsizing in retirement. 

Larry, Dennis and Kevin help retirees streamline their downsizing efforts, providing in-home visits to address your specific needs. All three are realtors and can help with the sale of your home and personal belongings. Another team member, John Stauffer, is a licensed auctioneer. The company’s downsize and move manager can help you sort through what you want to move or sell and help facilitate the logistics of your move.

For people considering a move, Larry offers the following tips for downsizing possessions and making a successful transition into retirement.

Start Downsizing Your Home for Retirement Early

People often will say, “Why did I wait so long to do this? I should have moved sooner. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.” In fact, most find that downsizing in retirement comes with added benefits:

Helps you get organized

Makes it easier to relocate

Eliminates the stress of having a lot of stuff

Less cleaning means more time for yourself

Begin to Assess What You Can and Can't Live Without

It’s natural to want to keep belongings, but we commonly hear, “Why did I bring so much stuff? I really don’t need this.” As you go through your possessions, divide everything you own into five main downsizing categories:

Keep

Sell

Donate

Trash 

Give away to family or friends

Plan, Plan, Plan

Having a clear plan of action greatly reduces the overall stress of the process. A downsizing home checklist can serve as an invaluable tool to help you keep track of what you're keeping and what's heading out the door. 

Be Proactive 

It will be much more difficult to have control and be involved in your downsizing process if you wait until a health issue arrives. So, take initiative, and proactively prepare for downsizing to a smaller, more manageable abode. 

Embrace Change

You may be set on staying in your home, but it’s important to remember the burden that will be placed on your family if something happens to you before you are ready to move. So, don't be afraid to embrace change with open arms, knowing you're doing your loved ones a huge favor in the long run. 

Stay Positive

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about change. Begin to focus on the positive outcomes from the transition. Remember the freedom you will experience by not worrying about maintaining your home and all your excess belongings.

Be Realistic

Before starting to downsize, consider how much time and help you have to work at the process. Don't feel like you have to tackle your downsizing endeavors in one weekend. Instead, spread it over several weeks or longer if need be.

Research 

Of the main downsizing categories—keep, sell, donate, trash and give to family/friends—you will need to start making some calls to find out how to disperse your possessions. If you plan to sell items, begin to research Auctions, Consignment, eBay, Craigslist, etc., and find out the costs and time associated. If you decide to donate items, find out what Goodwill, Re-Uzit and similar organizations will and will not take and locations to deliver.

When you are ready to make a transition, Larry says, “Please give us a call. We are always happy to schedule a free in-home visit to address specific needs. We can help as much or as little as you need.”

To learn more about A Life Transition Service, contact Larry at 717.875.0598, [email protected] or visit A Life Transition Service website at altslanco.com.

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