For many seniors, downsizing can feel overwhelming. Whether you’ve decided to move to a senior living community or you’re downsizing in anticipation of a future move, you may feel a range of emotions.

Parting with items you’ve owned for decades may feel like giving up pieces of your life. But with some planning, you can downsize in a way that allows you to keep what’s most important. To help you downsize with minimal stress, we’ve put together this list of our favorite tips.

  1. Start as Early as Possible

Don’t wait to begin downsizing until you’re forced to move quickly because of a health problem, AARP advises. If you’re planning to sell your home, start paring down your belongings at least a month before your house goes on the market.

  1. Create a Downsizing Plan

Make a list of the order in which you’ll clear out rooms, and use your new residence as a sizing guide. So when you declutter the kitchen, block off space in your cabinets equivalent to your new cabinets, and keep only the items that fit.

  1. Know What to Discard

Some items aren’t worth keeping or donating. Old magazines, junk mail, toiletries that you’ll never use, cheap plastic food containers, and similar items are best recycled or tossed in the trash.

  1. Keep Only Items You Love and Use

Focus on the items you love — and actually use on a regular basis — and part ways with everything else. Bear in mind that newest isn’t always best. The items you keep should be things that bring you joy and utility.

  1. Pare Down Photos

Photographs can be some of the hardest items to let go because they represent memories. Choose your favorites to display on the walls of your new place, and consider having the rest digitized. Digital versions let you view your photos whenever you want, easily share with family and friends, and keep multiple backups.

  1. Donate What You Can

Knowing that a needy person is benefitting can help ease the pain of parting with your belongings. You can donate to a variety of organizations in your area, or check with your senior living community for options. Be sure to get a receipt so you can take the tax deduction.

  1. Consider Working With a Professional

If downsizing causes you too much stress or you feel that you need help, consider hiring a professional move manager. Many specialize in assisting seniors and can help you avoid some of the emotional roller coaster that comes with downsizing and moving.

Are you planning a move to a smaller place or to a senior living community in Williamsburg VA? By following these tips, you can make downsizing as painless as possible. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your active lifestyle in your sleek new space!

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