Downsizing to Move into Your Retirement Community
The idea of downsizing a house full of one’s possessions can be daunting. Many of our residents have been in their home for more than 40 years. Not only are there emotional attachments, but sometimes what someone ends up accumulating over the years adds up to much more than expected. Closets, basements, shelves, bathroom drawers—it can all feel a bit overwhelming. When planning your move to a retirement community, one of the most important things to do is to start downsizing early.
At Beacon Hill, we’re lucky to work with Pathways Movers to move in new residents. Jeanne Jones, Senior Move Manager from Pathways, emphasizes that it’s important to start downsizing before you’re in the process of selling your home to move to a retirement community. This will greatly reduce the stress of the entire process. You will have the time to enjoy going through and cleaning out any items you no longer need, instead of feeling stressed and out of time to make a decision.
Your transition to Beacon Hill can be an exciting one, and even freeing if you start downsizing early. Our own Ann Flynn talks about the benefits of doing this: “We can see the other side when you get past all the downsizing and moving, and it’s really amazing to see how people thrive when they don’t have the burden of all the outside pressures. They can focus on making all their days the best they can be.” Once you’re in your independent living apartment, we provide a storage space for our residents, so that you have room to store some of the things that you may not use on a regular basis (such as seasonal decorations).
Pathways will help you with the move process every step of the way. From the start, they will help you by creating an action plan, starting with preparing your home for sale. If you don’t need to sell your home, they will get you going right away with evaluating your items to determine the things you need.
The first part of our action plan is the tried-and-true organizational method called the Dot Matrix System. We supply you with colored stickers and ask you to categorize them: Green dots goes to new house. Blue dots mean the item goes to family. Yellow dots mean to donate. Red dots are items to sell. Orange dots are for offsite storage. We’ll help walk you through the best way to do this, either room by room, or color by color. Our staff will come pack and remove any items going to donation or storage, even before you move.
When you consider what you actually use in your home, your bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom are the most used rooms in the home. When Pathways does the initial evaluation, we’ll start first with the dormant rooms: unused bedrooms, attics, garages, basements. This way, our presence won’t affect your day to day, and it doesn’t turn your house upside down.
Pathways is capable of helping you eliminate some of the items you won’t need at Beacon Hill. Pathways understands what Beacon Hill provides for its residents! You certainly won’t need a leaf blower, lawn mower, or shovel. And Beacon Hill has hobby areas throughout the facility so that you can continue your favorite hobbies like crafting or woodworking right here on site, without having to bring everything with you.
Are you concerned that your favorite items won’t fit? Or, having a hard time visualizing what the new square footage actually looks like with your items in it? Not to worry, Pathways measures your furniture and configures it to your new floorplan to make sure all your favorite items come with you. If you love it, we will help you find a place for it.
Then the actual move is easy—just 2 days. On day 1, Pathways does all the packing, and the next morning, they move. What’s most important, is that Pathways gets all your items to your new home undamaged and set up exactly how you like it. The great thing is, whoever packs the kitchen unpacks the kitchen. Whoever packs the clothing, unpacks the clothing. This means that they’re familiar with the way you like things and the way you have it set up. We also take lots of pictures BEFORE we box anything up, to ensure we can unpack it and set it up exactly how you like it. It will make the transition to your new home as easy as possible.
By about 4pm the next day, you’ll be all set up in your new home. The bed is made, boxes are empty, toiletries are put away, kitchen is done, food is unpacked, TV and computer are set up. The bottom line is, there are no boxes left. You’ll be ready to start enjoying all that Beacon Hill has to offer. You just went through a massive effort to move, so now is your time to enjoy!
Pathways Movers “Getting Started” List:
- Start early! As mentioned earlier, this will help you thoughtfully go through your things and decide what you want to bring with you and what you want to let go.
- As you sort through, think about categories for your things—what are the necessities? What are things that spark happy memories? Bringing those items to your new home will help you feel “at home” right away.
- Start with one room at a time…and break up the process so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
- Ask family members if they would like to have any of the items you’re not bringing with you to your retirement community.
- Donate items or consider selling to a Consignment Store. If you’re from the area, Pathway Market on Fulton in Grand Rapids is exclusively for people interested in downsizing and moving into retirement. Here, you can sell your items and get the cost of your move or rent reduced based on what you sell.