A move is the perfect time to sort through your belongings and let go of what you no longer need, use or love. In essence, it’s the right time to “rightsize.” If you’re like many seniors who are choosing to simplify your life and move to a smaller space, you may be needing to let go of half or more of your things. That can sound a bit overwhelming, but with the right guidance, you can keep your favorite half and surround yourself with the things that truly bring you joy.To get you off to a good start, we turned to subject matter expert Jeannine Bryant. She’s the owner of Changing Spaces SRS and author of Ready to Rightsize? A Step-by-step Guide to Your Rightsizing Journey: For Older Adults and Their Loved Ones. She literally wrote the book on the topic, and along with her team of certified senior move managers, Jeannine has helped hundreds of seniors and their families through the downsizing and moving process – including some of our residents at Resort Lifestyle Communities.
We had the privilege of connecting with Jeannine personally, and she shared some of her best advice on rightsizing. Q: What’s the difference between “downsizing” and “rightsizing”?
A: Rightsizing is about more than just downsizing. It’s finding that perfect place between too much and too little. It’s striking a balance and having the “right” amount of house, and stuff, for your needs and your lifestyle.
Q: How should someone begin the process of decluttering?
A: Start small! This process will take time. If you’re planning a move, we always recommend starting with a floorplan of your new space and measuring your current furniture to help you determine what will fit and what will not. Once you have decided on furniture, you can start sorting out the “little stuff.”Begin with clothing and kitchen items. Remember to respect the limits of your new space. Bring only the amount of kitchen items that will fit in your new kitchen, and only as many clothes as will fit in your new closet. This is where the power of counting can come in handy. Counting the number of coffee cups, sweaters, and pairs of shoes that you plan to keep can help you keep a healthy perspective. Rather than despairing about the number of items you need to let go of, you focus on how many items you have room to keep. Q: What tends to be the most difficult item to let go of, and what’s your best advice?
A: Sentimental items can be some of the most difficult to let go of. Glassware and china that’s passed down from a parent or grandparent can be a challenge. Oftentimes it’s not being used, so keeping it is not always practical. If younger family members don’t want the items (which is often the case), it’s okay to release them. You can either sell or donate the items. The best advice when tackling sentimental items is to reframe the way you look at them. Remember that memories and love and stuff are not the same things. Simply letting go of an item that belonged to a loved one will not erase memories of them. Your love for family members cannot be contained in a mere crystal bowl or china teacup.
Q: What’s your favorite tip for someone moving into a retirement community like RLC?
A: Respect the limits of your space. When downsizing, it can be easy to bemoan the lack of storage space (as it compares to your current living situation), but a much more effective tactic is to reframe the transition. This is an opportunity to let go of anything and everything you don’t truly need or use or love. How freeing!
And, when you release those items (either by selling or donating), you are blessing others in your community who can utilize those things that were sitting unused in your former home. It’s a win-win!Q: How do you know if you’ve truly rightsized before a move?
A: You’ll know you’ve rightsized when you’ve released the items that you no longer use and no longer love. When you can look around and realize you have everything you need, plus a few things you truly love and want to display, that is what a rightsized-life looks like! ***
Special thanks to Jeannine for sharing her professional advice. If you’re interested in her book, Ready to Rightsize? A Step-by-step Guide to Your Rightsizing Journey: For Older Adults and Their Loved Ones
, you can order it here
We’re also offering a free download of her Power of Counting
worksheet below. This simple tool can be extremely eye-opening as you discover just how much stuff you really have.
If you’d like to see what a rightsized, resort-style life looks like, let us give you a personal tour
of an RLC community near you.