Senior Move Specialist Shares Four Secrets to Downsizing Success
Move-in Coordinator Jill Mannino has more than a decade of experience helping new residents move into Springhill Senior Living in Erie, Pa. That translates to assisting more than 500 seniors with downsizing and moving, including her father and her mother-in-law. She has experienced all sides of the process.
She’s also the first to admit that the task of downsizing decades worth of belongings is a daunting task. But at the end of the process, it will feel great to be in your new place surrounded by the items that are right for you at this time of your life.
“Once they move in, the transformation is mind-blowing,” says Jill. “Most residents blossom in their new environment and often tell me it’s the best decision they ever made.” Jill recently retired, but we wouldn’t let her go without leaving some of her expertise. Here are her four top tips:
Even if you know you’re five years out from a move, it’s never too soon to start de-cluttering. Jill recommends sorting belongings by four categories:
Ask your friends and family to help you with this process. Better yet, consider hiring a professional senior relocation specialist to help you work through the clutter. Paying for services – especially in the beginning – will help you stay focused, and it is amazing what can be accomplished in a 4-hour sorting session with a professional organizer.
Remember, it took a long time for you to fill your house, and it will take you some time to go through it and prepare for a move. But with a good plan and support, you can get started on the path to “rightsizing” your life.
Most senior living communities require you to move in within 60 days of a signed contract. But whether it’s 60 days, six months or longer, once you’ve scheduled that move date officially or in your mind, you’ll be more focused on doing what needs to be done. It’s much more stressful when the date is open-ended. All that said, this is a time-consuming process, so set realistic expectations of what can be reasonably accomplished in a certain amount of time.
Start with smaller spaces like bathrooms and laundry rooms or cabinets. You’ll have less emotional attachment to what’s there and will be able to part with these items easily. Basements and attics are the most difficult, so recruit friends and family or hire a professional to help.
Invite the kids and grandkids over to help. This can be a wonderful family bonding event. Share stories about where you bought some of your favorite trinkets and explain the significance of family heirlooms.
Move the things that are most familiar to you: a favorite chair, your comfortable couch, a desk where you write letters to loved ones. It’s amazing what happens when you put your favorite items into a new environment; they take on a whole new life. Be realistic about the value of belongings, both emotionally and financially.
Instead of moving your grandmother’s entire collection of dolls or fine china, pick a couple of items to bring with you and then take high-resolution photos of the rest. Have them made into a photo book, so you can enjoy them without the clutter. There are also websites and other technology tools that can help you digitize old boxes of photos and negatives.
This is an exciting new chapter in your life. You’ll have fewer surfaces to dust, rooms to vacuum or towels to wash. No more mowing the lawn or shoveling snow or cleaning gutters. And those beloved items that you donated or passed on to friends and family are now bringing joy to someone else.
Interested in learning more about becoming a resident at one of the Asbury Communities? Contact us today for more information about life at Springhill or any of our other senior living communities, or if you would like to take a tour.