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Managing the Emotions That Come with Downsizing

Senior woman moving boxes while downsizing

Most older adults recognize that, at some point, the time will come to downsize. It’s a rite of passage that some people dread and that others view as an opportunity to embark on a new phase of life. No matter how you look at it, downsizing can be an emotional transition. To help you navigate the process without being overwhelmed, here are some tips for dealing with the emotions of downsizing:

Acknowledge How You Feel

You may be tempted to ignore your feelings as you sort, organize and pack up your belongings. But if you don’t take time to recognize the emotional toll the downsizing process can take, the project can feel even more daunting and arduous. Notice when emotions are bubbling up and give yourself the time to reminisce as you go through your household possessions. Sharing your memories with friends and family can help you process your emotions as they arise.

Remember the Positives

After moving to a senior living community, most people experience a newfound sense of freedom. No longer burdened by the responsibilities of homeownership, residents have time to do the things they most enjoy. And with a community full of new friends and a calendar filled with recreational and social events, most seniors find that downsizing has opened the door to new adventures.

Create a Project Plan

You’ll feel better — and more in control — if you have a plan of action. Work out a schedule that leaves you plenty of time to get the job done without exhausting yourself. Note important deadlines on your calendar and make a list of goals to help you stay on track. Be sure to let family and friends know the plan so they’ll be available to help when you need them.

Take it Slowly

It can help to break big projects down into small — almost bite-sized — tasks. Start with an easy job, like packing up the laundry room or linen closet,  to help you build confidence and momentum.  When the time comes to work on bigger rooms, or rooms that hold many memories or keepsakes, divide the project into even smaller tasks, doing one drawer, one shelf, or one cupboard at a time and taking breaks in between.

Give Yourself Time for the Paring Down Process

Part of dealing with the emotions of downsizing is navigating the sorting process. Which items will you take with you to your new home and which will you need to dispose of. It can be wrenching to part with long-cherished belongings. The following questions can help you decide if an item should have a place in your new home:

  • Is it necessary?
  • Does it make me happy?
  • Would a family member or friend appreciate or use it?
  • Would having a photo of this item make it easier to part with?
  • Would it be of benefit to a local museum?

Get Expert Help

If you find the downsizing process is too overwhelming or time-consuming, or if you simply prefer to have professional help, look into hiring a senior move manager. They can bring their expertise to every stage of the process or you can hire them for specific phases of the project. 

Step into Your Rightsized Life at Signature Pointe

Although dealing with the emotions of downsizing isn’t easy, the process of downsizing your home can rightsize your life. A senior living community like Signature Pointe can offer a lifestyle that suits your needs and aligns with your wants. With an inviting community, comfortable apartments and a full calendar of activities awaiting you here at Signature Pointe, downsizing will look a lot less daunting. To find out more about our community and the full continuum of care we offer, contact us or schedule a visit.