When you’ve made the decision to transition to a senior living community, it may feel like you’re downsizing your life. At American Senior Communities, we feel that our residents aren’t giving up anything when they move into one of our communities; rather, we prefer to say they’re “rightsizing” their lives. While moving into a senior living community is definitely going to involve some difficult decisions about what to do with all your possessions, it can also be a positive experience and a chance to streamline your life. If you’re interested in rightsizing your life, here are a few places you can start.
Have a Yard Sale
If your goal is to get rid of some clutter, you might as well make some money while you do it! Having a yard sale is a great place to start when you’re rightsizing, so talk to your neighbors and find out if they’d be interested in organizing a neighborhood event. By working together, you can advertise your sale, giving you a better chance of selling more items.
Files and Other Paperwork
You’ve probably got filing cabinets, boxes and drawers full of old paperwork, bills, mail and other paper clutter. While some of these documents may be important, you could likely do without most of them. Talk to an accountant (and perhaps a lawyer as well) to find out which ones you’ll need to keep, and how long you’ll need to keep them. The rest can go to the recycling center!
Your garage, basement or attic may be home to paint, cleaning chemicals, motor oil and other hazardous materials. You won’t need these in your new home, so now is a good time to dispose of them properly. Contact waste disposal facilities in your area; many will dispose of paint and other chemicals free of charge, and in an environmentally sound manner.
Clothing and Shoes
Take a look in your closets; are they full of things you don’t wear anymore? Whether it’s clothing that no longer fits or that simply isn’t practical for you to wear, cleaning out your closets can lift an enormous weight off your shoulders. Instead of throwing out your old clothing items, find a local thrift store or charity and make a donation.
Memorabilia and Decorative Items
Over the years, you may have dedicated quite a bit of real estate to photographs, wall art, knick-knacks and other decorative items. When you’re rightsizing, find the ones that mean the most to you and save them. If you have multiple items dedicated to one particular memory, you might consider keeping only one of them. Hanging photos and art can often be taken out of frames and consolidated to take up less space. This is probably one of the most difficult steps to take, so put some thought into it and find the items you truly can’t bear to part with. As for the rest, those experiences will live on in your memory and the interactions you have with the people involved.
Rightsizing your life isn’t something you can get done in a day. As we mentioned, this process can be difficult, so don’t rush it. You may want to enlist the help of friends, family or even professionals (there are a number of them that offer these types of services), so don’t feel like you have to go through it alone. And most importantly, don’t feel like you’re giving something up when you rightsize; try to see this transition as an opportunity to meet new people and have new experiences that will enrich your golden years.
American Senior Communities offers a variety of lifestyle and care options. To find an assisted living community nearest to you, visit ASCCare.com/al. To find an independent living community near you, visit ASCCare.com/il.