By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
In my career as an interior designer, I have helped clients upsize, right size, and downsize. Moving is a challenge no matter what your age or size of your home, but there is something different and very unique when you choose to downsize in your 60s and 70s.
For one thing, when you downsize in your 60s and 70s there are definitely benefits:
- You have the opportunity to let go of a lot of the stuff you’ve been accumulating for many years.
- You have the opportunity to live lighter, less encumbered, since you have more time money and freedom to enjoy your life.
There is definitely a life after downsizing… it’s just the process of getting there, the physical and emotional challenges that we have to first go through.
Like any other journey though, I can attest to the fact that it’s well worth the time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears.
The prospect of downsizing is at first is daunting and overwhelming.
- You look around your big house and all of the things you’ve amassed over many years.
- You have no idea where to start.
- You have so many decisions to make.
- What to take with you?
- What to let go of?
- What to do with all of the stuff you’re getting rid of?
- How can you possibly pack and move all of that stuff?
Having just moved again myself last week to a right size small home and historic New Castle Delaware, I was amazed at just how much stuff I still had even though I downsized by 95% just for years ago.
But even more amazing to me, was how emotionally and physically draining it was in spite of being very organized, decluttering first, having a plan and timeline, and trying to pace my move over an eight-week period.
I guess I thought it would be easier this time… but it wasn’t!
In order to help those of you who are downsizing, I created a few “hot off the press” tips on how to deal with the physical and emotional challenges that you will face when downsizing in your 60s and 70s.
Hot off the Press Tips on How to Deal with The Physical and Emotional Challenges When Downsizing in Your 60s and 70s
1. Acknowledge what you’re feeling
- Stress, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness, grief and etc.
Memories, both good and bad will be triggered when you let go of sentimental items like old letters, photos, and memorabilia.
When you acknowledge your feelings, you realize this is a transition, a time of change in your life, a big mile stone that you are passing through.
2. Focus on all that you are gaining rather than what you are letting go of
When you are choosing to downsize, to live a simpler life with less, have more time, energy, and freedom for things you really want, it’s only natural to think about the past… raising your kids in your family home, the parties, family events.
Instead, focus on the new memories that are yet to be made in your new home.
FREE Download: 5 Step Guide
Lose the Clutter, But Not the Memories
3. Decide to decide and stay positive
Yes, there are many decisions to be made during the messy process of downsizing, but if you want to move forward there’s no room for ambivalence or indecision.
Yes, there is a lot of packing and moving to do, it is easy to get stuck… especially in the messy middle, but don’t give up, stay positive, and consistently keep moving forward.
4. Get a team
At this stage of our lives, it’s almost insane to think we can still do all of that ourselves. Besides, having a team makes it much easier, more gets done in less time, and it’s much more fun
- I recommend a team who can help you sort, donate, dispose of items. You make decisions and they help you do the work.
- I also recommend a team to help you wrap, pack, unpack, and put away.
This was a gift I gave to myself this time. The only way that I was able to complete my move, unpack, and set up my new home in just three days was that I had a team who played their A game.
Learn more: The Extreme Decluttering Party
5. Take care of yourself during your downsizing journey
- Eat well and rest when you need to take breaks and naps if necessary.
- Keep mentally and physically strong so you can be on your A game throughout the process.
Most of all, just have fun! Enjoy the journey, make it an adventure because a whole new life awaits!
PS: Even though as “The Downsizing Designer” I write and speak on the topics of decluttering and downsizing I think it’s important to let you know that I, too, experienced the same feelings of overwhelm that you might be feeling on your own journey.
Wishing you well. Please let me know if I can assist you in anyway.
Reach out to me on my website.