For many empty-nesters, the time comes when their home loses its magic. The spacious house that was the perfect size for kids and pets becomes too much work. Downsizing is a great solution!
But maybe reducing the amount of space you have to maintain isn’t the only goal. Some older adults prefer the convenience, amenities and social outlets of an independent living community. As exciting as those prospects are, the idea of squeezing a household of possessions into a smaller apartment is daunting. Before you start, check the resources in your new community. If you want to settle in Florida, you can look for Winter Garden apartments and find one that fits your preferences.
Home downsizing checklist
Even when you’re ready for a change, decluttering a lifetime of belongings can be bittersweet. If you’re heading for a much smaller place, part of the challenge is figuring out what to keep when downsizing while another concern is what to do with furniture. If you need to get rid of your old furniture, you can click here to find the best waste disposal near you. Here are a few tips to help streamline the downsizing process:
- Set time limits: Plan to spend no more than two or three hours a day sorting and packing and make sure you take frequent breaks.
- Sort your things: Divide your furniture, kitchenware and clothing into four categories – Keep, Sell, Donate or Toss. If you find yourself wanting to keep everything, remind yourself that the goal is to declutter your home to help it sell. You also need to eliminate things that will not fit in your new place.
Once you have sorted your belongings, the next step is planning the decor for your new home. With more limited space, it’s important to be strategic so your new home is comfortable, functional and not overcrowded. Here are some design tips to consider, courtesy of HGTV:
- Start with the floor plan: To make the most of your space, borrow a practice from interior designers. Get a floor plan for your apartment and figure out what size furniture will fit. A large couch that works well in a suburban family room will take up too much space in an apartment.
If there are furnished models in your new building, take photographs when you visit. These have likely been professionally designed. Note the furniture sizes and place your furniture in a similar layout.
- Buy functional furniture: To use your space efficiently, find furniture that serves more than one function. For example, choose a TV stand that has bookshelves below or an ottoman with storage.
- Prevent falls: Eliminate tripping hazards when decorating your new home. To help prevent falls, avoid using throw rugs and keep walkways clear of cords. In the bathroom, use bathmats with rubber grips.
- Select smart storage: Find ways to maximize your storage space. Install shoe organizers behind the closet door, place containers under the bed or in bathroom cabinets. Keep storage baskets where they can be reached without stopping or stretching overhead. Use clear containers for frequently used items, such as grooming supplies. These can also help a person with memory loss find what they need.
- Personalize the space: Bring in artwork and collectables to make the new space feel like home. Use your favorite quilt in the bedroom or make a wall of family photos.
- Keep it colourful: Even if you don’t paint your apartment, you can choose furniture and accessories to brighten the mood or calm it down. Warm, bright colors are stimulating while cold colors are calming. Bring in splashes of your favorite colors with pillows, vases and art to make your new place feel like home.
- Light the way: Good lighting makes a space seem larger. Keep your apartment bright by not covering the windows with dark curtains. Use lamps where needed, such as on nightstands, end tables and desks. Use a night light to guide late-night bathroom trips.
- Choose your chairs: Choose a taller chair with armrests if you’re buying seating, whether an armchair or a dining chair. These are easier to get in and out of and the armrests help you balance when standing.
Downsizing to a smaller home is a big task that can seem overwhelming. Before you start, check the resources in your new community. Some facilities will furnish the apartment for you. Even if you do it yourself, the steps outlined here make it manageable. Begin with a good plan to ensure a smooth move-in process and that your furniture will fit. Then enjoy your lovely new home, friends and activities.