If your parent or loved one is planning to transition to an assisted living community, you are probably already thinking about how to downsize your loved one’s belongings ahead of the move. Here are four essential downsizing tips to help you and your loved one right-size their possessions for the upcoming move to assisted living.
1. Create a Downsizing Timeline With Realistic Deadlines
When helping your loved one downsize, you need a plan in place with realistic deadlines. Set a specific date for when each room will be completed. Do your best to adhere to these dates, but keep in mind that rooms with sentimental items may take more time. There will be days, sometimes weeks, when you’ll need a mental break from deciding what to keep, sell, donate or give to friends and family. Be sure to add “rest days” to the timeline too.
Start with rarely accessed areas like the attic or garage, which may be easier to tackle (despite housing more “stuff”) because items stored in these places tend to be used less frequently.
As you work on finalizing the timeline, don’t forget to reach out to professional auction houses or estate sale services. Discuss with your loved one which items they would like to sell in this manner. Or, if there aren’t many large or high value items to sell, host a garage or estate sale.
2. Visit Your Love One’s New Apartment Before the Move
Before the move It’s important to spend time in your loved one’s new community and apartment for two reasons: First, it will make your loved one more comfortable with their new home. Second, it will help you (and them) get a realistic idea of which items from their previous home will fit in the new space.
Many senior living communities like Abbey Delray host frequent community events your loved one can attend to meet friendly residents and team members. The more time spent in the community before the move, the more at home your loved one will feel after moving in.
Another way to make a new home more inviting is to decorate it with favorite paintings and fixtures. Measure walls, doorways and hallways so you have a better understanding of how you can fit existing furniture and decorative pieces.
3. Decide What to Donate or Give to Family Members
Downsizing is the perfect time to decide which cherished heirlooms to hand down to family members. Make a list and set these items aside so they don’t add to the need-to-pack clutter. Schedule a specific time for family members to pick them up. Any items that your family members don’t want can be donated to a local charitable organization.
4. Get Paperwork in Order
Paperwork often gets forgotten in the downsizing and moving process. Create a filing system or vault where important paperwork can be stored. Take this opportunity to discard duplicate or unneeded paperwork, and digitize existing paperwork.
Remember to also update your loved one’s address on financial, retirement and legal accounts. If someone will be moving into your loved one’s existing home, provide them with a forwarding address so they know where to send new mail.
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