(SD-SP) It is never easy to say goodbye to the house you made into a home. If those walls could talk. So many memories and happy times were created. But now, rooms that once had a purpose and were filled with life sit stagnant. The decision to downsize your home is a difficult one to make, but it is even harder to stay in a home that is not right for you at this stage of your life.

Here are four things to consider when thinking about downsizing.

There’s No Time Like the Present

Downsizing is no easy feat. It is not only mentally exhausting, but it can be taxing on the body to go through all your things, determine where they go (donate, trash, keep, give to family, etc.), and then pack up and deliver items to the designated places. It is best to start the process when you are not pressured to do it, rather than when you realize you aren’t physically able to do it and you must watch others go through your stuff hastily. Doing it now allows you to oversee and be actively involved in the project.

Handing Down Heirlooms

All the heirlooms and collectibles you have been holding onto for years, eager to pass on to your children and grandchildren, might not get the warm welcome you once envisioned. This is your warning to not be overly hurt by this as it is an issue many aging parents are dealing with. So much that The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “The Family Heirlooms That Our Children Don’t Want.” Put out a calling for your fine china, hard-bound Encyclopedia Britannica, crystal wine glasses, and family photos to your family but be prepared to let go of the items that go unwanted. But know you can hold onto the memories that they brought you forever.   

What Makes the Cut

While downsizing means having fewer possessions, it is very important to keep items that have sentimental value, so you can make your new space feel like home. Whether you are moving to a smaller house, an apartment, or a senior living community, you want to be able to feel comfortable and familiar with belongings that you love. At Brookdale Senior Living, residents are encouraged to personalize their space by designing a gallery wall with their own photographs, filling their windowsill with their favorite plants and decorations, and bringing their favorite reclining chair that has been a staple for a good afternoon nap for years! Find someone who can help you decide what items are worth keeping for your new space and who you will listen to when they recommend letting go of an item (or two!).

Less is More

When you can remove the unnecessary stuff in your life, you are left only with things you need and bring you happiness. It is very freeing to not constantly feel overwhelmed by your belongings and allows you to focus on the next stage of your life, one that is not tending to a home that no longer fits your lifestyle. Downsizing can mean less responsibilities leaving you with more time to focus on yourself. Be like Keith and do a puzzle. Or Tony who discovered his love for painting at 77 and opened his own art studio.

Downsizing will allow you to start thinking about the next chapter of your life where the focus is on YOU. It is time to get excited about the joys of simple living and retirement. With one look at what places like Brookdale Senior Living can offer, you may want to start the downsizing process today!