Below, Seabury Resources for Aging welcomes guest blogger Janet Hulstrand as she shares her expertise on downsizing. This January and February, we are highlighting the ways in which Seabury Resources for Aging improves and increases awareness about housing options for older adults. To find out more about how Seabury can support you and your family in choosing the right housing option, visit our website SeaburyResources.org or call the Seabury InfoLine at 202.364.0020.
The New Year is a great time for starting new projects and new horizons. If you are thinking it’s time to at least consider moving into a smaller, more affordable home from the one you’re in now, this is a great time to do it.
And if the very thought of such a move fills you with dread, you’re not alone!
The good news is that given enough time and the right kind of preparation, the process doesn’t have to be so bad. Downsizing can provide you and your family with opportunities for sharing memories and safeguarding special family items or traditions, and even the chance to have some fun along the way. Most of all it can position you to explore your options and find a new home that is better suited your current interests and needs. Even if your plan is to stay in your home, and “age in place,” beginning the process of redistributing some of the things that have accumulated in the house over the years is a very good thing to do.
One of the things my coauthor and I learned in writing our book, Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home, is that although most people initially don’t really want to move from the homes in which they’ve lived many years of their lives, once they’ve done so, they feel good about it. In fact, none of the people we talked to in the process of writing our book regretted having made the move. Many of them expressed surprise at how little they missed their old homes and how happy they were in their new ones.
We did ask them specifically about any regrets they had about downsizing, and they were frank in sharing them. But the regrets they had were not about having moved. They were about some of the things that can go wrong when people try to make such a move in too short a time, and rush the process.
After all: if it took 50 years to fill a home with “all that stuff” you can hardly be expected to reverse the process and figure out what to do with it all in a few weeks—right?
That is why the time to start downsizing—for all of us, no matter how young or old we are—is now!
Starting now gives you the chance to make this experience a positive one, for you and for your family. It gives you the chance to find “good homes” for the things you no longer want to keep. It gives you the chance to start with the easy decisions and give yourself the time you need to think about the difficult ones. It gives you the chance to deal with the process in “layers”—with each layer moving you closer to your goal of a life less burdened with “too much stuff.”
And it gives you the chance to put into practice our mantra—“keep the memories, get rid of the stuff!”
Janet Hulstrand is coauthor, with Linda Hetzer, of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home, and of the blog Downsizing the Home: Lessons Learned.
From time-to-time we have guest bloggers post on our site. Although we welcome their thoughtful contributions, the views, opinions, and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Seabury Resources for Aging. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to errors, omissions, representations, or infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.