You did it: you’ve taken the giant step, and you’re going to move to an assisted living campus.
If you’re like most of us, you’ve accumulated stuff throughout the years. If you’re downsizing from a house to an assisted living apartment the task may seem gargantuan, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed without a battle plan. The solution? Make a plan, of course!
First of all, decide what you want to take when you move. Check out the actual measurements of your new apartment so you know what furniture will fit, and you’ll have a better idea of what you need to dispose of. If you have antiques or family heirlooms to plan to hand down to your children, why wait? Bestow them now, and you can still enjoy the objects when you visit your kids in their homes.
Set up a staging area in your garage or spare room, and start boxing up things you won’t be taking. Start selling or donating things, and if you have a hard time parting with stuff consider putting things in a storage unit while you decide. This will allow you to declutter your home and give you a clear perspective on what you want to keep; you can always keep the storage unit after you move to your assisted living campus. Hold a yard sale, or have an estate sale company do an appraisal of your belongings so you know the best way to dispose of them.
This is the perfect time to revamp your wardrobe, so spend some extra time as you clean out your closet. Try on those clothes you’ve been hanging on to, and if it doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn it in years, donate the item. The same goes in the kitchen: if you’re not going to use ten cookie sheets, don’t pack them! Remember, you’re going to have your meals provided in your new apartment, so cooking gadgets, pots, pans, and utensils can be pared to a minimum. No more slaving over a hot stove for hours at Thanksgiving!
Do a walk-through of your home and decide what needs to be done before you put it on the market. As you empty each room arrange to have it painted and any necessary repairs done. If your home needs exterior maintenance, contract to have it done so you have the best curb appeal possible when you’re ready to sell. Likewise for landscaping; make sure the simple things are done so your home looks well-kept and well loved.
Last of all, contact a Realtor and have them appraise your home. Ask them for tips on making a fast but fair sale, and follow their advice. They are the expert, and can tell you whether you will get a return on investment by installing new carpet and gutters or if you should just sell as-is.
Remember, it took decades to accumulate what you own, and it’s no simple chore to downsize. Take breaks, have fun, and don’t stress out over the job of moving. Ask for advice if you need it, and hire help if you get overwhelmed. Before you know it you’ll be in your new home, and it’ll all be worthwhile!