A move is a perfect time to sort through your belongings and let go of what you no longer need, use or love. In essence, its the right time to rightsize. If youre like many seniors who are choosing to simplify your life and move to a smaller space, you may be needing to let go of half or more of your things. That can sound a bit overwhelming, but with the right guidance, you can keep your favorite half and surround yourself with the things that truly bring you joy.To get you off to a good start, we turned to subject matter expert Jeannine Bryant. Shes the owner of Changing Spaces SRS and the author of Ready to Rightsize? A Step-by-step Guide to Your Rightsizing Journey: For Older Adults and Their Loved Ones. She literally wrote the book on the topic, and along with her team of certified senior move managers, Jeannine has helped hundreds of seniors and their families through the downsizing and moving process including some of our residents at Resort Lifestyle Communities. We had the privilege of connecting with Jeannine personally, and she shared some of her best advice on rightsizing. Q: Whats the difference between downsizing and rightsizing?A: Rightsizing is about more than just downsizing. Its finding that perfect place between too much and too little. Its striking a balance and having the right amount of house, and stuff, for your needs and your lifestyle.Q: How should someone begin the process of decluttering? A: Start small! This process will take time. If youre planning a move, we always recommend starting with a floorplan of your new space and measuring your current furniture to help you determine what will fit and what will not. Once you have decided on furniture, you can start sorting out the little stuff.Begin with clothing and kitchen items. Remember to respect the limits of your new space. Bring only the amount of kitchen items that will fit in your new kitchen, and only as many clothes as will fit in your new closet. This is where the power of counting can come in handy. Counting the number of coffee cups, sweaters, and pairs of shoes that you plan to keep can help you keep a healthy perspective. Rather than despairing about the number of items you need to let go of, you focus on how many items you have room to keep. Q: What tends to be the most difficult item to let go of, and whats your best advice? A: Sentimental items can be some of the most difficult to let go of. Glassware and china thats passed down from a parent or grandparent can be a challenge. Oftentimes its not being used, so keeping it is not always practical. If younger family members dont want the items (which is often the case), its okay to release them. You can either sell or donate the items. The best advice when tackling sentimental items is to reframe the way you look at them. Remember that memories and love and stuff are not the same things. Simply letting go of an item that belonged to a loved one will not erase memories of them. Your love for family members cannot be contained in a mere crystal bowl or china teacup. Q: Whats your favorite tip for someone moving into a retirement community like RLC? A: Respect the limits of your space. When downsizing, it can be easy to bemoan the lack of storage space (as it compares to your current living situation), but a much more effective tactic is to reframe the transition. This is an opportunity to let go of anything and everything you dont truly need or use or love. How freeing! And, when you release those items (either by selling or donating), you are blessing others in your community who can utilize those things that were sitting unused in your former home. Its a win-win!Q: How do you know if youve truly rightsized before a move? A: Youll know youve rightsized when youve released the items that you no longer use and no longer love. When you can look around and realize you have everything you need, plus a few things you truly love and want to display, that is what a rightsized life looks like! ***Special thanks to Jeannine for sharing her professional advice. If youre interested in her book, Ready to Rightsize? A Step-by-step Guide to Your Rightsizing Journey: For Older Adults and Their Loved Ones, you can order it here. Were also offering a free download of her Power of Counting worksheet below. This simple tool can be extremely eye-opening as you discover just how much stuff you really have.If youd like to see what a rightsized, resort-style life looks like, let us give you a personal tour of an RLC community near you.
For more than two decades, Resort Lifestyle Communities has helped hundreds of residents transition into our beautiful retirement communities. Even with a destination as relaxed and worry-free as RLC, being prepared is the best way to enjoy the process. Take deep breaths, look ahead, and focus on your new home while moving, so you are less likely to feel overwhelmed. And, if you do, its ok; it can happen to anyone, no matter what season of life youre in. One of the things weve learned over the years is that planning ahead can greatly enhance your moving experience. Thats why weve outlined five of our best tips to help your transition go as smooth as possible. If youre moving to a retirement community soon, theres no time like the present to get started. 1. Get A Binder. Your first move is to create a moving binder to hold all of your notes, receipts, and any paperwork you collect through the process. On the first page, start jotting down details, such as: > Whats my moving budget? > Whos helping me move? > How big are each of my new rooms? > Will I need to rent storage? > Whats my timeline? > Who will watch my pet on moving day?Knowing these answers and researching your options will help you get off to a great start. PS. Feel free to name your binder, because it may become your new best friend. We like Chuck!2. Find Your Movers. As soon as you know your timeline, line up people to help you move. Whether thats securing a moving company or letting family know when you need them, its smart to book everyone early.Not sure if you need to hire a mover? Even if youre just moving across town, there are several benefits to consider. For one, movers can help you safely and efficiently pack your things. On moving day, they know how to properly carry heavy items. Theyre also equipped to wrap furniture to reduce damage. And, it will certainly be less stressful. Its at least worth getting an estimate or two. Need a referral? We have plenty of mover contacts to share with you. Feel free to call us for names in your area. 3. Plan Your Space. Get a copy of your new floor plan, including the square footage, and start assessing and measuring your belongings. If you are moving into one of the RLC communities, the floor plans are on your communitys website. Allow yourself plenty of time for this step, and use a sorting system as you go through the house. Use colored stickers and label what youre going to keep, store, donate, and sell. If you find yourself feeling anxious, this article on "rightsizing" may be helpful.Use your trusted binder to keep track of notes. Write down the recipients of your donation items. Make a list of whats going into storage. If you have items to sell, jot them down and determine prices. By the time youre finished, youll know exactly which treasured items youre moving, and it will be much easier when it comes time to pack.4. Pack Your Things. Our biggest tip for packing is to focus on one area of the house at a time to keep from feeling overwhelmed or getting too tired. When packing fragile items, its always better to have extra padding than not enough. Also, keep in mind the weight of items as you pack each box. Mix heavier items with lighter ones to keep the overall weight more reasonable for lifting.This is a great time to ask for help. Host a packing party or hire a professional packing crew, just know you dont have to do this alone.Regardless of who helps, its important to stay organized. Clearly label each box with the room name and list of contents. That way you know exactly whats inside when its time to unpack. This will also help you prioritize which boxes to open first. We have printable labels for you below.5. Move Ahead. For moving day, pack a suitcase as if youre going on a trip. Include clothes for a few days and any personal items you will need right away, such as your toothbrush and medications.Also, pack an essentials box. This should include your bedding, a set of towels, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, dish soap, paper and pen, scissors, and toolbox. If youre a coffee lover, include your coffee pot and favorite mug. If you have a pet, be sure to pack his or her food. This will be the first box you unpack.Bonus tip: Be patient and kind to yourself. Set aside time to reward yourself at different stages of the process. Once youve created your binder, enjoy an indulgent meal. After youve sorted through your things, schedule a relaxing massage or round of golf. Give yourself things to look forward to as you go along. You deserve it. Speaking of treats, weve created a free Moving Packet to help you stay organized. It includes a series of printables, such as a moving checklist and suggested timeline for each step of the process. It also includes inventory lists, so you can record whats packed in each box. Finally, there are moving labels you can tape to your boxes, or print on Avery label stickers, to help identify your precious cargo. All you have to do is download the packet, print, and use.Good luck with your move! If youre still deciding on a new home, wed be honored to have you live in one of our all-inclusive, resort-style communities. Explore a location near you, and call us to schedule a personal tour. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FREE PRINTABLES
10 Organizing Steps for the Years AheadBy Jill B. YeskoWhen cleaning, decluttering, and organizing for the years ahead, first think about who you are and how you live now. My suggestions come as a certified professional organizer who has helped more than 4,000 families organize their homes, downsize, move, or transition. One of the most important goals for organizing and decluttering is to make space for the life you live and your plans for the future. Who are you now? What do you want to be doing in five years? Does your home reflect that?Here are some steps for organizing your home for the years ahead: 1. Make space for your life and current hobbiesMany of us live among the archives of who we once were instead of living in a home for who we are today. Over the next decade or years ahead, your home should reflect your goals and plans intertwining into what you are enjoying right now.For example, if you like to hike, set up a space for easy access to hiking poles, boots, and rain gear. If you want to enjoy time with your grandchildren, set up a room with toys and puzzles.2. Clean out hobbies from the pastIf you are not skiing anymore, do you need to keep all your ski equipment? Thirty years ago, when my children were young, I thought I wanted to be a quilter. I bought fabric, patterns, cutting utensils. I never got around to starting my quilting life. When I downsized a couple of years ago, I got rid of bags of fabric. We dont need to keep storing items from hobbies that we thought wed try or represent our past good intentions.3. Plan for the futurePart of making plans for the future means making plans to get rid of the past. We tend to look backward, which can overwhelm what we are doing now and what we want to do next.4. Start small but startMany retirees put off trying something new in their lives like signing up for a new class or trip, until they have finished the task of clearing out the basement. Organizing doesnt have to be all or nothing. You CAN do the work AND have fun in the same week. You dont have to finish all your obligations first before making time for you. Start small and work often. First, decide which space you want to address. Dont start with the toughest room or the garage. And dont plan to finish a room in one day. I recommend setting a timer for yourself for the amount of time you want to spend. Break that up into 30-minute chunks. Decluttering with all of the decisions to be made can be exhausting.5. Make an appointment with yourselfYou can also ask a nonjudgmental friend or family member to help you. Its good to do little bits at a time because then you build a habit. For example, make an appointment with yourself every Tuesday morning to spend an hour sorting in the basement or the craft room. You could ask a friend over to help you keep your appointment. They can just be there reading a book while you sort in another room. Working with a professional organizer works so well because were an appointment that you do every week for 2 to 4 hours. When people have an appointment and spend money, they are more accountable. There are penalties for canceling. You can do it yourself if you act like the time set aside is an actual appointment.6. Follow the principles of organizing and declutteringFirst, gather your materials like plastic garbage bags, plastic bins for storage, cardboard boxes, a notebook, and markers. Next, work in that space left to right, top to bottom, so you dont lose your path (and you can see progress!). With each item, decide whether to keep, discard, recycle, donate or sell. For items that are broken, send those to the landfill. Check with your local charity to see what they accept for items clothes, books, dishes, furniture? Many charities do not accept electronics or books. Be sure only to donate clean, usable items so that your donation is a gift and not a burden.7. Choose happinessRemove the pain ghosts. When deciding whether to keep or get rid of an item, figure out how it makes you feel. Make sure your home doesnt have objects that elicit negativity and broken dreams. Your home should have things that will support you, not bring you down. If you have to keep painful items such as divorce papers, be sure to store them in a box in the back of the basement, not in the working files that you see every day. This does not mean getting rid of all photos or mementos of times past. I have my dogs tags in a little frame. Yes. I miss him. I have a picture of my father in my entryway. I grieve both of them. But I enjoy looking at my father and greeting him daily.8. Keep a notebook handyA notebook serves as a record of what to do with items. It also is a place to keep your stories. Make pages for KEEP, SELL, DONATE, and STORYTIME.Keep list: This will create a home inventory.Sell page: You can start researching what you want to sell it for or where to sell it, like an online auction site or an eBay consignment store.Donate page: Keep a record of what you donated. Even if you dont use it for tax purposes later, keeping a record will help you remember what you did with that item. Didnt I have a roasting pot? Whatever happened to that?Storytime page, or Favorite Things page: Sometimes, we hold onto things because they remind us of a happy time in our lives. When you are trying to release an item, write a quick story about why that item means so much to you. Perhaps you keep the Nancy Drew novels because you remember spending summer days at your grandmothers house when you were 12 and the afternoons reading on the sofa with a glass of iced tea next to you while your grandmother was in the kitchen. If you can share or record that memory, you can release the item.9. Make a short bookWrite a book about the things that mean so much to you and then release them. Photograph the memorabilia or furniture items. Upload to Shutterfly. Include your notes from your storytime page.10. Finish cooking that mealWhen you cook a meal, the meal is not done until all of the dishes are washed and put away. After each organizing time, put the donation items straight into the car. Dont just haul them to the garage to sit for a year. Take the discard items to the trash can outside. Same with recycling. When you work in little bits at a time, it makes clean up easier. The best way we can honor ourselves as we age is to align our homes with our current selves, no matter who that is. Does your home match you or match a different person who you were 20-30 years ago? Lets clear this space for you to live the life you want to live now and in the future.