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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2015

Downsizing doesn’t have to be the worst part of retirement living

blog-downsizejpgYou’ve lived in your beloved home for 30 years. It’s filled with stuff that you’ve collected over time—the huge sofa, the dining room table with room enough for the whole family.

Now you’re thinking of moving into a two-bedroom apartment in a retirement community, and just the thought of what you’re going to do with all that stuff makes you nervous.

Let’s face it—downsizing can be exhausting.

“You have to make a decision in reverse about everything in your house,” says Joyce Nohowel, a partner at TAD Relocation. “That is thousands of decisions. It can wear you out.”

After helping hundreds of people pare down their belongings and move into retirement communities, though, Nohowel doesn’t even call it downsizing any more.

“We call it right-sizing,” she says.

Nohowel will share tips and tactics about “right-sizing” with you at a seminar scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at Westminster at Lake Ridge. TAD Relocation supervises more than 450 moves a year, from planning, coordination and space design to packing, moving and unpacking.

It’s never too soon to start planning your move, Nohowel says. Even if it’ll be a couple of years before you’re ready to go, you can start getting rid of clutter and trash.

“It’s the easiest thing to do first,” she says. “Go through your home and figure out what’s obvious trash—papers from 1955 that are still sitting on the dining room table, empty boxes, expired food in the pantry, the three Mr. Coffee machines in the basement, the old pasta machine that no one has used in years.” You can also get rid of torn clothing and items that don’t fit.

As you plan what you’re going to take with you to your new home, choose the things you want first before you let your kids get dibs on anything, Nohowel suggests.

“They might say they want the hutch, and you agree, but you could use it to put the TV on,” she says. “Your daughter can jolly well wait.”

Most of her clients don’t want to buy a whole bunch of new furniture, Nohowel says, and are able to furnish their new homes with what they already have. Doing a space plan helps you see what will fit in the new place and what won’t. You might have to donate the 100-inch-long sofa or buy a new, smaller dining table. Some pieces may get repurposed—like the hutch your daughter wants.

“Sometimes you have to make choices,” Nohowel says. “Are those record albums more important than something else? You may have to get rid of something else in order to take the records.”

Nohowel has found that the most difficult items for people to part with are the ones that carry an emotional attachment—like the toaster oven your son gave you for Christmas five years ago. But are you really going to need that toaster oven?

“It’s an evolution of thinking,” Nohowel says. Companies like TAD Relocation guide you through that evolution, so that preparing to move becomes less stressful. They start by helping you make a plan so that the move will be smooth and manage all aspects of paring down your possessions. They’ll help you pack and supervise the movers on moving day. Then they’ll unpack, arrange the furniture, put things away, hang pictures and get rid of trash.

“When you move in, it looks like you already live there,” Nohowel says.
Wouldn’t you like to move in and have a glass of wine or tea in your beautiful space, instead of having a home full of boxes you’ll have to unpack for the next three months?

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