L.W. Lynett, a 60s era IBM exec, once said, “The most effective way to cope with change is to help create it.” I’m a strong believer in this statement. None of us likes to have things done to us, and the best way to stay in the driver’s seat—influencing the speed and direction of change—is to take proactive steps ourselves. Downsizing can be that first step.
By planning ahead you get:
“Downsizing” can mean making decisions about your possessions—what to keep and what to sell, donate or give away—so your home is more manageable. I like to think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain. By downsizing your stuff, you upsize your life. By letting go of the old, you make room for the new, replacing things with experiences, activities and relationships.
There are so many advantages. If we want to stay in our own homes, it’s a lot easier to convince the kids we’re able to live independently if our homes are easy to manage, organized and safe. And if we eventually need to move to a smaller home or assisted living facility, we’ve done the heavy lifting already—literally.
Sorting through a lifetime of treasures to identify keepers and clutter can be challenging, but you don’t have to face it alone. An organizational professional, particularly one experienced in helping older adults, will offer insights, recommendations and that ever-valuable outsider perspective.
“Downsizing” can also mean moving to a smaller, less demanding living space. I like to call this “rightsizing”—finding the correct size of accommodation and the appropriate services for your stage of life and health. It only makes sense that as we get older we make more room in our lives to care for ourselves by limiting the amount we have to care for our homes.
Smaller spaces hold less stuff and are easier to manage, which increases the length of time you’ll be able to live independently and frees up time to do the things you love (traveling, socializing and hobbies) rather than spending precious time on chores like cleaning and maintaining a large home. If the housing has been purpose-built for older adults, it usually offers senior-friendly amenities and services on-site or close by, including recreation, shopping and health care.
Planning ahead also means peace of mind—by downsizing to a condo or moving into a retirement community now you’re moving by choice, with time to make informed decisions and enjoy the process, rather than by circumstance, when poor health or a fall mean you’re forced to move…fast.